Certification Pass Rates Exceed National Average for COD EMT Program

By Mike McKissack

According to a report released by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), College of DuPage ranks far above the national average for passing rates on the emergency medical technician certification exam.

College of DuPage students pass the exam on first attempt at a rate of 89 percent, while the national average is 72 percent.

Fire Science Manager Dan Krakora said the success of the EMT program at College of DuPage is directly related to the high quality of the instructors, as well as the College's choice to train students at the NREMT level.

"We chose to train students at the NREMT level, while other programs throughout Illinois avoid the NREMT exam because they viewed it as too difficult," Krakora said. "Though Illinois is one of only five states that does not require national certification, we see the NREMT exam as a tremendous opportunity for students."

Krakora added that passing the NREMT exam awards students both national certification and state of Illinois licensure, offering 2 levels of credentials for one test.

A third element of the success of the program is the award-winning Homeland Education Center.

"In fall 2011, we moved into the Homeland Education Center and that has taken our EMT training to an even higher level," Krakora said. "The new facility has enabled us to greatly expand the hands-on training we are able to offer, a crucially important ingredient in this profession."

Housing the College's Criminal Justice and Fire Science/EMS programs, as well as the Police Department, State-certified Fire Academy and the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy, the 66,000 square-foot Homeland Education Center is the only comprehensive multijurisdictional training center of its kind in the Midwest. The facility features a wide range of high-tech training spaces including a full-scale indoor street scene, forensics and cybercrimes labs, a hazardous materials leak simulator, a two-story smoke room with moveable walls, a full-size ambulance, an outdoor training tower for confined rescue and rappelling and a command center designed to instruct National Incident Management System protocols. In May of 2012, the center was used by numerous state and federal agencies and the military as the State Forward Center of Operations in support of the NATO Summit in Chicago.

College of DuPage offers an Associate degree in Emergency Medical Services, as well as an Associate degree in Fire Science Technology which includes training in both firefighting and emergency medical services. In addition to the emergency medical technician certificate program, the College also offers a fire fighter certificate, a fire officer certificate, a fire prevention certificate and a paramedic certificate.

Click here for more information on the Fire Science program at College of DuPage.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of emergency medical technicians and paramedics is expected to grow by 23.1 percent between 2012 and 2022, adding more than 55,000 professionals to the industry. The BLS also reported that the average median annual salary for emergency medical technicians and paramedics was $31,020 in 2012, with top earners bringing in $53,550.

Certifying more than one million EMS providers since its inception in 1970, the NREMT is a non-profit organization founded to serve as the national EMS certification organization by providing a valid, uniform process to assess the knowledge and skills required for competent practice required by EMS professionals throughout their careers.