For many years Otero Junior College has been offering Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training to area residents; however, when the program begins again on Jan. 12, there will be a lot of firsts for the program.

For many years Otero Junior College has been offering Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training to area residents; however, when the program begins again on Jan. 12, there will be a lot of firsts for the program.

The EMT (Basic) program is a 15-week course of study that provides students with the educational background to test for national certification. The program will be offered for the first time in a traditional classroom format as well as a hybrid format. The program has also found a permanent home in the recently completed addition of the Life Sciences building on the OJC campus. Along with the new location, new equipment and simulators have been added to enhance training, including a full-size ambulance simulation unit.

Larry Reeves, faculty member for the EMT program, said that the change in how the course will be offered will make an impact on accessibility to training, especially for those living outside of the La Junta area.

"The ability for students to choose between attending class two evenings a week on campus, or accessing the course materials online, will be a new venture for the program. We've worked hard to develop the hybrid format for this program and I believe that people who live a distance away from OJC can still have the full training experience," said Reeves.

Students who enroll in the traditional classroom program will meet on campus every Monday and Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Classes will include: EMS 121 EMT Fundamentals (11 class sessions); EMS 122 EMT Medical Emergencies (13 class sessions); EMS 123 EMT Trauma Emergencies (9 class sessions) and EMS 170 EMT Basic Clinical

Student who enroll in the hybrid program will enroll in the same classes but will work from home on the course of study, coming to the OJC campus every third Wednesday to work in the simulation laboratory with the full class.

When students work in the new EMT laboratory, they will be training on numerous pieces of state-of-the-art equipment, including a full-size ambulance simulation unit.

"The ambulance simulation unit will be a valuable addition to our laboratory," said Reeves. "Most students never have the opportunity to have the real-world experience of taking care of a patient in the cramped quarters of an ambulance until they are on their first call. Training in this environment will build their skills, efficiencies and confidence," he explained.

When students have completed EMT Fundamentals (EMS 121) their instructor will schedule individual clinical experience at a hospital Emergency Room.

Students who complete the required coursework and pass the exams will qualify to apply for EMT Basic Certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Students must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible for NREMT certification.

Students who have completed the National Registry for EMT Basic Certification or are a Certified Colorado EMT will have the opportunity during spring semester to begin the EMT Intermediate Certification program.

EMT Intermediate I (EMS 203), is a six-credit course that will be offered on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. EMT Intermediate I will only be offered as an on-campus course; hybrid offerings are being developed, but are not available for the course at this time.

For more information about the EMT program at OJC, contact Larry Reeves at 267-5230 or larry.reeves@ojc.edu.

Spring semester at OJC begins on Jan. 12, 2015. Registration for spring semester is now open. For more information about this program, or the many other opportunities at OJC, contact the OJC Student Services Office at 384-6831.