Paramedic Program Earns Five More Years of Accreditation

Published 11.23.2004


Pennsylvania College of Technology's Paramedic Program has been reaccredited for the next five years by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

"Paramedic programs are not required to be accredited, and the fact that Penn College chose to meet standards for accreditation speaks to its commitment to providing quality education to its students and quality graduates to the community," said Dr. Deborah A. Wilson, dean of health sciences at the College.

The continuing accreditation awarded by CAAHEP follows the recommendation of its Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions, which conducted a peer review of the program earlier this year.

The peer review included a site visit to the College to ensure the program's compliance with national accreditation standards. The standards are established by CAAHEP and eight medical/paramedic-related organizations. Site visitors found no deficiencies in the program, which the lead site visitor said is almost unheard of, according to Dr. Wilson. She said the visitors praised personnel for the program's strength.

"We feel like the visit validated our program, which we believe is one of the best in the nation," Dr. Wilson said.

"The accrediting site team was very impressed that all of our faculty and staff have bachelor's degrees," added Bambi A. Hawkins, interim director for the Paramedic Program.

This is common for Penn College, she said, but not for paramedic training programs.

"A number of Susquehanna Health System pre-hospital employees who function as preceptors for the students in the emergency-room setting also have advanced degrees," she said. "The program functions well in great part because of the commitment to education at all levels of instruction."

The program already was accredited, but that status has been extended another five years. The program?s next extensive evaluation will occur in 2009.

CAAHEP is the largest specialized accreditor in the health-sciences field. The commission reviews and accredits more than 2,000 educational programs in 21 health-science occupations across the United States and Canada.

Penn College's Paramedic Program offers an associate-of-applied-science degree with an option for a bachelor-of-science degree in Applied Health Studies. It employs one full-time faculty member and three full-time staff members.

"The Paramedic Program personnel, including Director Erich J. Frank, Interim Director Bambi A. Hawkins, Clinical Director Mindy L. Carr, instructor Mark A. Trueman, secretary Leigh Ann Withey and numerous part-time faculty, are to be commended," Dr. Wilson said.

Currently, there are 34 students enrolled in the program. The College began offering paramedic training five years ago, continuing a program previously offered by Susquehanna Health System that was known as The Williamsport Hospital and Medical Center Paramedic Training Institute.

For more information about the academic programs offered at the School of Health Sciences at Penn College, call (570) 327-4519, send e-mail or visit on the Web.