Grad Degrees

FiremanMike

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I am using Colorado State University online. The brick and mortar program is pretty well known locally so that was a small appeal.

There are students from all over which is cool. In state tuition is 1500 bucks a class, not sure how that compares.
Fairly standard on tuition..
 

johnrsemt

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Some times I wish I had gotten a degree; I have no idea what I would have taken; and for the most part it doesn't seem to help other paramedics who have gotten one be a better medic. Sure doesn't help them write better run reports.
A couple of friends are going to nursing school, and other friends have gone and are working as nurses (and most of them hate working as nurses but still do).
Utah has started a program that if you are already a 1st responder they will pay your way to get a phycology degree, so that you can help other 1st responders. That would be nice, i think, but I only have 5 years to retirement, and I doubt I could get the degree that fast
 

NomadicMedic

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Some times I wish I had gotten a degree; I have no idea what I would have taken; and for the most part it doesn't seem to help other paramedics who have gotten one be a better medic. Sure doesn't help them write better run reports.
A couple of friends are going to nursing school, and other friends have gone and are working as nurses (and most of them hate working as nurses but still do).
Utah has started a program that if you are already a 1st responder they will pay your way to get a phycology degree, so that you can help other 1st responders. That would be nice, i think, but I only have 5 years to retirement, and I doubt I could get the degree that fast
You absolutely could get a degree within five years. And, while it may not improve your nuts and bolts patient care, obtaining a degree absolutely changes your critical, thinking, rationalizing, written communication… So much more. Learning to analyze research that I conducted was a big part of my degree process
 

VentMonkey

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I think this is a huge part of why we will “never get ahead”. If the current educational model was scrapped in favor of a degree requirement it would force many out of the industry, which is a big part of what many anti-degree requirement EMS folks cite.

Honestly, why is that a bad thing? We’re already plagued with national staffing shortages.

Clearly most current providers would be grandfathered in somehow, this just makes sense from a practical standpoint, but getting a degree promotes professionalism in a profession for the above mentioned reasons.

Because most—or at least too many paramedics can’t see this—leaves it up to the individual. It is no wonder why collectively we get nowhere. And why some (not all) end up in another field they don’t enjoy because they hit their ceiling on paramedic education with a license.

I don’t think most care about being better at verbal or written communication, rationalizing, or critical thinking. Nah, let’s just stick to old dogma, superstitions over who gets “good calls” and “all the tubes” because that’s what makes a good medic.

I’m pretty tired of these archetypes in EMS. Naively I thought this may be less of the case in the aeromedical industry and it’s just not. That said at least most of my peers are nurses who understand the value of higher education. Some of the paramedics as well, just not enough. Least it pushed me over the educational edge, so I am glad about that.
 
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DrParasite

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I don’t think most care about being better at verbal or written communication, rationalizing, or critical thinking. Nah, let’s just stick to old dogma, superstitions over who gets “good calls” and “all the tubes” because that’s what makes a good medic.
So what makes a good medic? Do you need, or should you have, a degree, to become a "good medic"? Does your degree need to be in paramedicine, or is my degree in underwater basket weaving with a paramedic cert the same thing? Does that piece of paper mean much? should a degreed paramedic be compensated more than a certificate only paramedic, despite them performing the same job?
I think this is a huge part of why we will “never get ahead”. If the current educational model was scrapped in favor of a degree requirement it would force many out of the industry, which is a big part of what many anti-degree requirement EMS folks cite.

Honestly, why is that a bad thing? We’re already plagued with national staffing shortages.

Clearly most current providers would be grandfathered in somehow, this just makes sense from a practical standpoint, but getting a degree promotes professionalism in a profession for the above mentioned reasons.
Do we really have a national staffing shortage? or a shortage of people willing to work for poor wages in crappy conditions?

Personally, I think you are asking to have it both ways: we need to mandate degrees for the next generation, but the current generation is grandfathered in. Does that mean the new generation will be better providers? Why shouldn't the existing providers be required to get their degree in 5 years (which is completely reasonable), or else their paramedic credential is suspended?

I'm a EBM guy... I've believed much of the dogma that was stressed over the last 25 years (backboards save lives, everyone needs a NRB @ 15lpm, and EMT's can't be trusted to take a BGL, because it's an invasive procedure... and EMTs can't be trusted to administer zofran IM, because of they might experience a prolonged QT that no paramedic has ever seen in the field), only to learn that much of it was actually based on little to no scientific evidence, and those dogmatic practices have been revised. Except for the Zofran thing... one day

So where is the evidence that degrees will make better paramedics? once we have that evidence, than I will support the claim that every paramedic should be required to have a degree, that we should paid degreed paramedics more, and that insurance reimbursements for degreed paramedics should be higher, since they have better clinical outcomes. And every paramedic should be required to get a degree in 5 years (because the evidence proves that it makes better paramedics), else their paramedic cert is suspended. If you care about this profession, you should want to become a better provider, and if you don't, then enjoy your retirement.
 

VentMonkey

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So what makes a good medic? Do you need, or should you have, a degree, to become a "good medic"? Does your degree need to be in paramedicine, or is my degree in underwater basket weaving with a paramedic cert the same thing? Does that piece of paper mean much? should a degreed paramedic be compensated more than a certificate only paramedic, despite them performing the same job?

Do we really have a national staffing shortage? or a shortage of people willing to work for poor wages in crappy conditions?

Personally, I think you are asking to have it both ways: we need to mandate degrees for the next generation, but the current generation is grandfathered in. Does that mean the new generation will be better providers? Why shouldn't the existing providers be required to get their degree in 5 years (which is completely reasonable), or else their paramedic credential is suspended?

I'm a EBM guy... I've believed much of the dogma that was stressed over the last 25 years (backboards save lives, everyone needs a NRB @ 15lpm, and EMT's can't be trusted to take a BGL, because it's an invasive procedure... and EMTs can't be trusted to administer zofran IM, because of they might experience a prolonged QT that no paramedic has ever seen in the field), only to learn that much of it was actually based on little to no scientific evidence, and those dogmatic practices have been revised. Except for the Zofran thing... one day

So where is the evidence that degrees will make better paramedics? once we have that evidence, than I will support the claim that every paramedic should be required to have a degree, that we should paid degreed paramedics more, and that insurance reimbursements for degreed paramedics should be higher, since they have better clinical outcomes. And every paramedic should be required to get a degree in 5 years (because the evidence proves that it makes better paramedics), else their paramedic cert is suspended. If you care about this profession, you should want to become a better provider, and if you don't, then enjoy your retirement.
I think as usual you missed the point entirely and want to argue just for arguments sake. I don’t think I once said anything about a degree making a paramedic a better paramedic. The benchmark to a profession everyone thinks they are entitled to now to include wages isn’t in a vocation. That is not a knock on vocational work, there’s meaning in it, but every other vocational job realizes this except EMS.

So which is it? A vocation or a profession?

People being tired of low wages for what they are “trained to do”, which is what? Save a life? Or hold nana’s hand more than not. Learn how to converse with people from all walks of life in their time of need, not ours?

Currently we do a fine job of selling this part of EMS/ prehospital in your view? Because these are not equally fundamentally important to “cool skills”? If we were better educated on why we should do things, chances are we would be better educated why we shouldn’t be, but nope keep tacking on more skills and procedures without EBM. No fundamental knowledge or education on the variety of non-EMS related “emergencies” that makes up 80% of EMS runs because we should keep focusing on those things and those treatment modalities? Why?

Why should EMT’s be allowed all of these tools without knowing how to speak to someone instead of feeling lied to by their EMS educators when they’re on their own dealing with largely non-acute calls? What good does having ETCO2 on a BLS rig or fire engine do when they can’t even remember how or why or when to track and trend numbers on patients? Do you see where this is going? It’s fruitless without a big part of the fundamental development of the current initial (and recurrent) EMS education. Most EMT’s and fire personnel want more things with the “short short” version of its inherent value. That’s a problem. That’s a big problem.

Gain an overall understanding of public health, sociology, psychology then maybe you can go poking people all you want and giving all the ODT Zofran you think will make a difference.
 

Carlos Danger

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So where is the evidence that degrees will make better paramedics? once we have that evidence, than I will support the claim that every paramedic should be required to have a degree, that we should paid degreed paramedics more, and that insurance reimbursements for degreed paramedics should be higher, since they have better clinical outcomes.
Using the best available evidence is important when developing protocols and procedures and system elements, but not everything of value can be objectively measured in a way that results in what we call "evidence".

We can't directly measure the impact of increasing professional skills such as communication, leadership, problem solving ability, teaching ability, and the ability to interpret and integrate research, at least not in the same way that we can measure the effectiveness of a clinical intervention, or the cost effectiveness of a given staffing model. But many of us would agree that those skills have value, not because they necessarily have any impact on a paramedic's ability to run a chest pain call, but because fostering those skills is part of developing clinical professionals who are capable of doing more than just running a chest pain call. Isn't that the goal here? To create professionals who can design the systems and write the protocols and procedures and lobby for the profession (increased reimbursement and compensation) and appeal to the public and teach new paramedics and others? To gain a seat at the proverbial table, not just in a few outstanding systems, but as a peer to other clinical professions?

For many years I assumed and predicted that educational standards would increase to the point that, similar to nursing, a two-year degree would be required and a four-year degree would become very common and once they were, graduate-level clinical opportunities may even develop. But instead, the basic educational requirements haven't changed in decades. It's pretty clear at this point that EMS as a whole just wants to remain a vocation. Higher minimum educational requirements have been roundly rejected over and over and to my understanding, there has been little increase in demand for EMS-specific Bachelors or Masters programs. And that's disappointing but fine, I guess. As has been pointed out over and over and over for many years, being able to write well or understand research really has nothing to do with running calls, following protocols, and filling out run reports. So if that's all the profession cares to be able to do, who am I to argue otherwise.

I guess the upside is less competition for those who do decide to pursue higher education for the sake of increasing professionalism and better opportunities. Good luck to all you guys, you'll be glad you did it.
 
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VentMonkey

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I guess the upside is less competition for those who do decide to pursue higher education for the sake of increasing professionalism and better opportunities. Good luck to all you guys, you'll be glad you did it.
Sure hope so.
 

NomadicMedic

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Sure hope so.
IMG_0274.jpeg
 

DesertMedic66

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Just in my own personal experience: with no degree I am a subject matter expert or professional expert with a local community college and my hourly pay for that job is $30/hr. However, now that I have my AS I qualify for and am applying for an Adjunct Faculty position at that same college and the pay for that is $69-75/hr. So a simple AS degree and NAEMSE Level 1 certification has the potential to double my current pay…
 

Akulahawk

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There were opportunities I couldn’t get an interview for until I had a masters. Those silly post nominals make a difference.
Precisely. As an RN of 9 years in the ED (at the time I write this), I could very easily be an SME for teaching ED "stuff" on behalf of a nursing program, but I couldn't be even an adjunct professor unless I can show that my BS degree is relevant... Yep. I had an opportunity about 15 years ago (or so) to take over a short-term EMS analyst position for the City of San Francisco. Didn't take it as it wasn't benefitted and wasn't going to last more than about 6 months, both of which were deal-breakers. The medic that did hold that position has since gone on to other positions and is currently working somewhere in Colorado I do believe, as a manager/director type now. He's also gathered a few more postnomials along the way.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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I think as usual you missed the point entirely and want to argue just for arguments sake.
So instead of actually addressing my points, you go with an ad homonym attack. Good Job.
So which is it? A vocation or a profession?

People being tired of low wages for what they are “trained to do”, which is what? Save a life? Or hold nana’s hand more than not. Learn how to converse with people from all walks of life in their time of need, not ours?
Both?

Is your argument that with a degree, wages will go up? Because many underpaid social workers with masters degrees would like to have a chat with you. I also know many people who can converse with people from all walks of life... including those who don't have degrees.
Gain an overall understanding of public health, sociology, psychology then maybe you can go poking people all you want and giving all the ODT Zofran you think will make a difference.
Do you think the person who is nauseas or vomiting and just wants some release cares what you know about sociology (a class I got an A in, despite thinking much of what was discussed was how to avoid personal responsibility)? The person wants relief, and why would you not want to make the person feel better? Shouldn't it be about helping the patient?
 

DrParasite

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But many of us would agree that those skills have value, not because they necessarily have any impact on a paramedic's ability to run a chest pain call, but because fostering those skills is part of developing clinical professionals who are capable of doing more than just running a chest pain call.
I'm not saying they aren't valuable... but should they be required to start your career as a paramedic?
Isn't that the goal here? To create professionals who can design the systems and write the protocols and procedures and lobby for the profession (increased reimbursement and compensation) and appeal to the public and teach new paramedics and others? To gain a seat at the proverbial table, not just in a few outstanding systems, but as a peer to other clinical professions?
Is it? I would argue that those in leadership are the ones who design systems, write the protocols and procedures, not the ones on the ambulance. And if you are in leadership, I would absolutely argue that a supervisor should have a bachelors, and a director should have a MBA/MPH/MPA.

BTW, if other clinical professions don't respect paramedics now, I'm not sure how requiring a degree will change that... might be a cultural issue that needs to be addressed first.
I guess the upside is less competition for those who do decide to pursue higher education for the sake of increasing professionalism and better opportunities. Good luck to all you guys, you'll be glad you did it.
I bolded the important part. and we agree 100%.
There were opportunities I couldn’t get an interview for until I had a masters. Those silly post nominals make a difference.
absolutely 100% correct. and I bet none of those opportunities had you full time on the ambulance.... but for those educator roles, and those managerial roles, you needed those letters. You needed degrees to advance.

For some reason, many people think I'm anti-education... Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm against college education simply for the sake of college education, especially if it's coming out of your pocket.

Show me a system where a degreed paramedic can do more (clinically) than a certified paramedic... show me a system where a degreed paramedic makes more $$$ than a certified paramedic... heck, can you show me an agency where a paramedic degree is required to go from entry level paramedic I to paramedic II or paramedic FTO? Maybe the certificate paramedic should be limited to just ambulance providers, and any single responder role, supervisor, educator, or specialty position should require a degree. Give people a proper incentive to get their degree, because it will let them do more. Bonus points if their employer will cover the costs of the degree (humble brag: I have my employer covering 80% of my masters degree, and wish more employers did the same)

oh, and @DesertMedic66, good luck on the adjunct applications... that's one of the reasons I'm looking at getting my MS, because it will allow me to teach on the curriculum side of the college. having a degree absolutely opens up more doors, especially off the truck.
 

VentMonkey

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EpiEMS

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I realize that this thread was initially about graduate degrees, but since since the higher education in EMS came up inevitably as it often seems to, this seemed relevant:
Associates as entry to practice feels a little bit of a no-brainer in 2024. Many (if not most?) certificate programs are already 40+ credits -- an additional 20 for an associates that could have relevant basic science or social science curriculum isn't a huge ask.
 

DesertMedic66

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Associates as entry to practice feels a little bit of a no-brainer in 2024. Many (if not most?) certificate programs are already 40+ credits -- an additional 20 for an associates that could have relevant basic science or social science curriculum isn't a huge ask.
Exactly. It’s also not super expensive. It’s $46/hr for in state tuition where I am. So for a little bit of time, effort, and the whopping amount of $1000 you can have your associates.
 
OP
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Tigger

Tigger

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Wish my department would pay and mandate everyone get their associates when they send people to medic school. It’s not much time and we have the tuition reimbursement budget already out there. Set people up for success with promotion. We require you be either an engineer or paramedic to promote to lieutenant, the higher Ed part of paramedic school I think is a decent perk.
 

VentMonkey

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Exactly. It’s also not super expensive. It’s $46/hr for in state tuition where I am. So for a little bit of time, effort, and the whopping amount of $1000 you can have your associates.
Yes. Prior to exploring undergrad programs I did some research on my A.S. Unfortunately because I was tied to a vocational program I couldn’t seem to find one that would allow me this option. It worked out in the end, but still, it’s pretty sad how even paramedics (I know of) who went to a J.C. and have this available to them twiddle their thumbs over it.

Wish my department would pay and mandate everyone get their associates when they send people to medic school. It’s not much time and we have the tuition reimbursement budget already out there. Set people up for success with promotion. We require you be either an engineer or paramedic to promote to lieutenant, the higher Ed part of paramedic school I think is a decent perk.
It doesn’t sound like many FD’s are propents of this. Perhaps turnaround time and effort are their biggest concerns.
 

Luno

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Interestingly, I'm working on a Master of Health Informatics and Health Information Management.
 
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