The first baccalaureate paramedic Program in the nation, Western Carolina University's EMC Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs through the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the EMS Professions. Currently, WCU is one of only 20 institutions in the nation offering the Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Medical Care. Students may apply to either the residential program in Cullowhee or the online distance education program. Current paramedic certification is required for entry into the distance education program. Students may choose one of two available concentrations: health management or science (pre-med). Program graduates may pursue careers as paramedics, educators, physicians, physician assistants, and EMS administrators.
Students learn from outstanding faculty members and enjoy the benefits of small class sizes, and hospital and ambulance clinical experiences. All students complete clinical rotations at hospital critical care units, emergency departments and operating rooms, as well as in rural, suburban and urban EMS systems. The core curriculum includes two semesters of Anatomy and Physiology, two semesters of Chemistry, Cardiology, Pharmacology, Medical Emergencies, Trauma, and additional EMC courses. The health management concentration includes additional courses such as Quality Assurance and Health Care Finance, while the science concentration includes physics, organic chemistry, and biology.
Graduates of the Program pursue careers as hospital administrators and EMS directors, training officers and consultants, paramedic educators, researchers, while others may choose to continue their education at medical, physician assistant, or graduate school. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, including emergency medical technicians and paramedics, is expected to grow by 21.5 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than the 10.8 percent average predicted for all occupations and very good news for program graduates!