Emergency Medical Services Degree

Emergency Medical Services Degree at Harper College

Earn your degree in emergency medical services

Career options  Liberal Arts icon


  • Emergency medical technician
  • Paramedic

Prepare for a career in the field of emergency medical services with this 70-credit-hour degree program, which is based at Northwest Community Hospital. Train to become an EMT or paramedic and develop the skills and knowledge needed to take charge and provide critical life support at the scene of an emergency.

Take classes in human anatomy, emergency medical technician training, paramedic preparatory, medical emergencies, physical assessment, trauma/special populations/EMS operations and more. You’ll also complete a hospital internship program.

This program has selective admission requirements. Review the steps to prepare for application to this limited enrollment program.

AAS Degree program requirements

This 70 credit-hour program is a joint educational venture with Northwest Community Healthcare and Harper College. The National EMS Agenda for the Future (Agenda), a consensus document published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in 1996, declared that EMS education must be of high quality and represent the intersection of the EMS profession and the formal educational system and must be affiliated with an institution of higher learning and available for college credit. As an Illinois EMS Resource Hospital, Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) is required by the Illinois EMS Act and Rules to conduct EMT and paramedic education programs within the context of Federal and State guidelines and standards.

The Agenda also asserted that EMS educational quality and entry level competence should be assured by curricula standards, national accreditation, and national standard testing. Thus, the program has been designed to comply with the requirements set forth by the National EMS Education Standards (NHTSA, 2009), the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoA), and the Illinois EMS Act and Administrative Rules with the goal of preparing competent entry-level Paramedics in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains, with or without exit points at the Emergency Medical Technician level.

Illinois EMS Rules define a paramedic as “a person who has successfully completed a course in advanced life support care as approved by the Department, is currently licensed by the Department in accordance with standards prescribed by the EMS Act and Rules and practices within an Advanced Life Support EMS System” (Section 3.50 of the Act). A paramedic is awarded practice privileges and functions under the direction of a Resource Hospital EMS Medical Director (EMS MD) in an IDPH-approved EMS System. They must operate within their approved scope of practice and are accountable to the EMS MD, their employer, the health care team, and the public.

Paramedics are expected to assess and recognize medical, trauma, emotional and psychological alterations from health, as well as render basic and advanced life support care in a wide variety of conditions and locations, and to people of all ages. They must be academically, physically and emotionally competent, needing strong knowledge and understanding of anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, clinical assessment techniques, medications, complex procedures, providing emotional support, ethical behavior, and the ability to make informed judgments in an environment of complexity and uncertainty.

Our program supports and fosters critical thinking, research and service, and provides opportunities for cooperation and strategic linkages between all essential components for the delivery of quality EMS care. It facilitates adaptation of the work force as community health care needs and the role of EMS evolves. Interdisciplinary programs provide avenues for EMS providers to enhance their credentials or transition to other health career roles, and for other health care professionals to acquire EMS provider credentials.

Working conditions vary. Paramedics work indoors and outdoors. Most EMS agencies provide service 24/7, 365 days/year. Paramedics work all shifts including weekends and holidays. Potential employment opportunities must be analyzed on a local, rather than a regional, state, or national level. Market forces impacted by finite revenue streams, pension challenges, and shrinking reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid and the state’s insolvent economic situation have limited hiring. Competition for jobs is high, especially at the paramedic level within the Fire Services. Limited job openings occur due to replacement needs. The largest need for new EMTs and paramedics is in the private ambulance sector. They traditionally experience a high turnover rate as EMTs or paramedics leave to join municipal services. This private to public provider transition continues to be a common career path for individuals seeking to become firefighter/paramedics.

Admission Requirements:

Emergency Medical Services is a limited enrollment program. For admission requirements please contact the Admissions Outreach Office at 847.925.6700 or visit harpercollege.edu

Students who apply for this limited enrollment program are obligated to meet current admission requirements and follow program curriculum as defined at the time of acceptance to the program.

Upon admission to the Emergency Medical Services program, the mathematics requirement is met.

FIRST SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in BIO and EMS is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 160 4 Natural Science

Description: Introduces the anatomy of the human body; the following systems studied either regionally or systemically: integumentary, skeletal, articular, muscular, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, digestive, excretory, endocrine and reproductive. Includes some introductory histology. Specially designed for students in health careers, biology, and physical education. Strongly recommended preparation: One year of high school biology with a grade of C or better taken within the last five years, or BIO 110. (NOTE: Lab science credit.)

Prerequisite: Placement into ENG 101. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf

EMS 110 9 Program Requirement

Description: Provides entry-level emergency medical care knowledge and skills associated with the delivery of Basic Life Support (BLS). Content is derived from the National EMS Education Standards and specific enabling objectives are listed on the cover of each presentation’s handout. This course has been approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Division of EMS and Highway Safety. Upon successful completion of this course with a grade of 80% or better, students can sit for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam. NOTE: Please visit harpercollege.edu to complete a permit to register.

Prerequisite: You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED to register for this course. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is needed for enrolled/previously enrolled Harper students.

SECOND SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in BIO is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 161 4 Natural Science

Description: Emphasizes physiological principles at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ and system level, as they pertain to the human organism. The following systems are studied in detail: skeletal, muscular, circulatory, nervous, digestive, respiratory, urinary, reproductive and endocrine. In this course, special applications will be made to meet the needs of students in health careers, biology and physical education.(NOTE: Lab science credit.)

Prerequisite: BIO 160 with a grade of C or better, or consent of instructor.

ENG 101 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

SOC 101 + 3 Social and Behavioral Science

Description: Analysis and description of the structure and dynamics of human society. Application of scientific methods to the observation and analysis of social norms, groups, inter-group relations, social change, social stratification and institutions. IAI S7 900

SPE 101 3 Communications

Description: Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900

THIRD SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all EMS (EMS 217 with a grade of P) is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
EMS 210 10 Program Requirement

Description: Designed to expand upon entry-level knowledge and skills acquired in an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT), or Emergency Medical Technician Intermediate (EMT-I) course. EMS 210 provides the foundations of paramedic (PM) practice upon which all other instruction is based and must be passed to continue in the program. Content and objectives are mapped to the National EMS Education Standards.

Prerequisite: (1) Unencumbered Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Advanced EMT (AEMT), or EMT-Intermediate (EMT-I) license with practice privileges in Illinois and admission into the Emergency Medical Services degree program or the Paramedic Certificate program; (2) valid and current CPR for Healthcare Providers card; and (3) field internship acceptance by a NWC EMS Agency.

EMS 211 5 Program Requirement

Description: Provides comprehensive coverage of acute and chronic respiratory disorders, acute and chronic cardiovascular disorders, cardiac arrest management, and electrocardiography (ECG) interpretation. This course must be passed to continue in the program. Content and objectives are mapped to the National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Education Standards.

Prerequisite: EMS 210 with a grade of C or better.

Corequisite: EMS 217.

EMS 217 2 Program Requirement

Description: Provides a minimum of 144 clinical hours in a variety of experiences and situations as specified by the EMS Medical Director and endorsed by the Advisory Committee. Each student shall have access to adequate numbers of patients, proportionally distributed by illness, injury, gender, age, and common problems encountered in the delivery of emergency care. While in the clinical units, students apply instructional theory into practice to deliver safe, entry-level EMS care in a controlled environment under the direct supervision of a unit-assigned preceptor. Rotations include the following areas: adult and pediatric emergency departments, critical care units, labor and delivery, operating room, and mental health unit. This course is graded using a pass/fail grade mode. (formerly EMS 214)

Prerequisite: EMS 210 with a grade of C or better, successful completion of health screening, immunization requirements, background check, and purchase of FISDAP software license.

FOURTH SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all EMS (EMS 215 and EMS 218 with grades of P) is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
EMS 212 7 Program Requirement

Description: Presents a wide scope of obstetrics (OB), pediatric, geriatric and medical emergencies. This course must be passed to continue in the program. Content and objectives are mapped to the National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Education Standards.

Prerequisite: EMS 211 with a grade of C or better.

EMS 213 6 Program Requirement

Description: Presents a wide scope of trauma emergencies, special patient populations, and those with physical challenges. Concludes with field experts presenting the EMS response to multiple patient incidents and the incident management system, hazardous materials awareness, active shooter incidents/weapon safety, and ambulance operations. This course must be passed to continue in the program. Content and objectives are mapped to the National EMS Education Standards.

Prerequisite: EMS 212 with a grade of C or better and EMS 217 with a grade of P.

Corequisite: EMS 218.

EMS 215 4 Program Requirement

Description: Integrates the theoretical concepts and practical skills acquired during EMS 210, EMS 211, EMS 212, EMS 213, EMS 217 and EMS 218. Requires students to use higher order thinking and critical reasoning to safely care for patients in and out of hospital environment under the direct supervision of an approved paramedic preceptor. The internship is divided into two phases of ascending mastery and accountability with each having a minimum number of patient care contacts and competencies. A full description of the objectives and expectations is contained in the NWC Paramedic Student Handbook and on the internship forms. This course is graded using a pass/fail grade mode. (NOTE: This course has an additional fee of $1500 to cover the cost of field preceptors.)

Prerequisite: EMS 213 with a grade of C or better and EMS 217 with a grade of P.

EMS 218 1 Program Requirement

Description: Provides a minimum of 56 clinical hours in a variety of experiences and situations as specified by the EMS Medical Director and endorsed by the Advisory Committee. Each student shall have access to adequate numbers of patients, proportionally distributed by illness, injury, gender, age, and common problems encountered in the delivery of emergency care. While in the clinical units, students apply instructional theory into practice to deliver safe, entry-level EMS care in a controlled environment under the direct supervision of a unit-assigned preceptor. Rotations include the following areas: adult and pediatric emergency departments, critical care units, labor and delivery, operating room, mental health unit, skilled nursing facility or elder care environment, and one elective. This course is graded using a pass/fail grade mode.

Prerequisite: EMS 217 with a grade of P, successful completion of health screening, immunization requirements, background check, and purchase of FISDAP software license.

SUMMER SESSION:

A grade of C or better in all BIO, CHM, EMS, HSC and NUR is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
EMS 216 3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides weekly seminars during the last half of the Field Internship offering an opportunity for intellectual engagement and allows students to integrate and apply didactic concepts presented during the course to actual EMS practice. It concludes with the comprehensive summative final written and practical exams. During the first four weeks, each class is offered twice (Wednesday and Thursday) from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Students may select the day they attend after consultation with the Provider Agency with which they are completing the Field Internship. The last week is back to full time and students must attend each day. Students must be prepared to present cases based on a disease or trauma diagnosis identified in advance by the instructor.

Prerequisite: EMS 213 with a grade of C or better, EMS 217 and EMS 218 with grades of P.

Electives1 4 Program Requirement
NUR 210 2 Program Requirement

Description: Provides theory and demonstration of skills required for a basic, systematic physical assessment. Includes content and practical experience in interviewing and obtaining a health history and the skills of inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation as they are utilized in the routine client assessment performed by the registered nurse. Focuses on the assessment of normal findings and the description of deviations from normal. Discusses cultural considerations and expected findings of individuals across the life cycle, i.e. infant/child, adolescent, young/middle adult, and older adult. Requires the synthesis of previously learned knowledge of anatomy, physiology, nursing concepts and nursing process.

Prerequisite: BIO 160 and EMS 216, or NUR 104, or NUR 112 with grades of C or better.

+ - This course meets the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement.

1 - Select from the following courses: BIO 130, CHM 100, HSC 104 or HSC 213.

Admission criteria and process

1. Attend the Emergency Medical Services Information Meeting (Optional)

2. Review Program and Policy Information

3. Finance your education

4. Apply to Harper

Please note: Information provided on this page is subject to change.

Program learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to

  • Assess scene safety and demonstrate effective situational awareness.
  • Appropriately gain patient access using a variety of tools and techniques.
  • Perform patient assessments using appropriate technique, sequence and timing, recognize alterations from health, set appropriate patient care priorities and coordinate their efforts with those of other agencies and practitioners.
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing with a sense of purpose and audience.
  • Establish rapport with patients and significant others to meet emotional as well as physical needs.
  • Provide care on a continuum from basic through advanced life support within the guidelines prescribed by the EMS MD.
  • Use quantitative and scientific reasoning to solve problems effectively.
  • Think critically and apply these skills appropriately and in various situations.
  • Be technologically literate and thoroughly and accurately document an electronic patient care report using ImageTrend software per System policy.
  • Maintain ambulance inventories per the System Drug and Supply list and prepare equipment and supplies before and after each call.
  • Characterize professional behaviors through actions, speech, communication and interactions with instructors, preceptors, peers, patients, public safety personnel, and members of the public.

Related programs

Students interested in emergency medical services may also be interested in:

Resources

Next steps

For more information about earning your degree in emergency medical services, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.