Paid EMT Trainings, Upcoming Job Openings in Austin Amid Medical Workforce Shortages
AUSTIN (KXAN) – In the middle of a national labor shortage emergency medical technicians and paramedics, a company is looking to expand certification training here in Austin — and pays participants and offers employment upon completion of the program.
Beginning January 10, Acadian Ambulance and the National EMS Academy will offer an accelerated EMT training course to help increase the number of EMT personnel in the greater Austin area. The program, which will run from Monday to Friday for seven to eight weeks, will train between 20 and 30 students wishing to join the field.
And demand for emergency service workers is growing in central Texas, said Rusty Wood, operations manager for Acadian Ambulance’s West Texas division. Particularly with the increased demand for hospital assistance, more paramedics are being removed from ambulances and into hospital settings, he said.
“The cry for help is coming in more and more every day, and every agency in Texas is all in the same situation,” he said. “There are only a limited number of certified people to share and shoot.”
Locally, this strain has also been felt by city and county-run operations, including Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services. The Austin-Travis County EMS Association is currently in the midst of contract negotiations with the City of Austin to raise starting salaries, as association president Selena Xie said 50 doctors left the department this year.
Acadian Ambulance operates in Austin, Pflugerville and Bastrop, having signed a contract with the city of Pflugerville in November. This contract, with Acadian Ambulance to serve as the city’s official EMS source, begins at midnight January 1.
“This year, as the clock strikes midnight, our dispatchers will dispatch a different ambulance when someone calls for service,” said Doug Weiss, acting mayor of Pflugerville City Council. “And I expect that to be fully transparent and transparent to our citizens.”
For those interested in Acadian’s EMT trainings, Wood said no basic medical knowledge is required to apply. The salary is “competitive” in the region, he said, with a average pay between $40,000 and $50,000.
The course includes 160 hours of classroom medical training, as well as 80 hours of professional training and time spent treating patients in ambulances. After passing the Acadian final exam and the National Registry exam, course participants will be able to obtain certification in Texas.
Specific skills covered include emergency vehicle operations, oxygen administration, bleeding control and patient assessment.
The central objective of paramedics assesses patients and assesses for life-threatening injuries or illnesses that may be present, according to the Center for Prehospital Care at the University of California, Los Angeles. They provide basic life-saving care, such as CPR, dressing wounds, or treating burns and broken bones.
During this time, paramedics require longer and more specialized training in anatomy, cardiology and related sciences. Their specialty is administering medication, training in advanced cardiac resuscitation, providing advanced care, and treating life-threatening medical or traumatic injuries.
And for those looking to progress in an EMS career path, Acadian offers paramedic training. Once EMT certified, participants can enroll in an 18-month program to climb the industry ladder.
“It just gives you a better opportunity to absorb all the knowledge,” Wood said. “Also, it’s so important to have that hands-on experience of patient care – holding hands with that loved one, talking to a family member, talking to patients. You can’t train that in the classroom. It just has to be based on experience.