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New Paramedic Grads Ready to Practice

The Oregon Tech/OHSU program strengthens emergency medicine in Oregon and beyond

While the ability to call emergency 9-1-1 medical assistance in the United States has only been around since the 1960s, today paramedics are an integral part of our country’s emergency health care system. Last month, an additional 29 highly trained paramedics earned their degrees at one of the state’s most highly regarded programs, offered jointly by Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

The 2015 graduating class of paramedics includes a growing number of women and practitioners of color, helping the field better match the demographics of Oregonians and others whom they assist on a daily basis. About 40 percent of the class are women or ethnic minorities. The entire class ranges in age from 21 to 40, and some have come as far as Vermont and Egypt to earn their Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Emergency Medical Technology-Paramedic. Students complete a four-month externship at sites in Oregon and across the country prior to graduating, working in the field as part of an EMS unit responding to emergency calls. 

“This is an amazing class of graduates,” said Jamie Kennel, Program Director and Associate Professor at the Oregon Health & Science University-Oregon Institute of Technology Paramedic Education Program. “Most of our students come to us with some type of medical experience, from helping fellow military members injured in active conflict zones, to serving as nurses, to being firefighters. By the time they leave us, they have the technical and practice experience to enter the field of para-medicine and make significant contributions in communities across the state, region and world.” 

OHSU started the paramedic program in 1977 as an offshoot of its medical school training programs. Oregon Tech became a partner in 2003, providing the primary management of the program, which is now offered at the university’s Wilsonville campus. The AAS in Emergency Medical Technology-Paramedic can either be a “terminal” degree or can provide the prerequisites for the Oregon Tech/OHSU four-year bachelor’s degree in Emergency Medical Services Management, recently launched in 2014. The only degree of its type in Oregon, the B.S. degree includes advanced clinical training in Community Care or Urgent Care paramedicine. 

The Oregon Tech/OHSU program is recognized nationally as one of the few university programs in the country with joint degree programs between a leading polytechnic university (Oregon Tech) and an academic medical center (Oregon Health & Science University). The program offers a diversified educational experience designed to develop strong field provider skills, as well as management and leadership training within EMS. Graduates earn eligibility for both state and national licensing exams, and find employment with leading agencies across the Nation.

About Oregon Tech

Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the premier public polytechnic university in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering and health technologies, management, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through hands-on learning. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville. Visit to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.


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