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Penn College announces new degree for future paramedics

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s paramedic program is accepting applications for a new Bachelor of Science degree in health science: prehospital medicine concentration for the Fall 2021 semester.

The new degree is being offered in addition to the paramedic program’s current certificate and associate degree options. It provides a strong foundation in the natural sciences while preparing graduates to function as competent entry-level paramedics.

Coursework prepares students for administrative and teaching positions within the paramedic profession, as well as providing the necessary foundational knowledge for entry into many graduate-level programs, including medical school and physician assistant degree programs.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s paramedic program has added a bachelor’s degree option. In addition to preparing students to become registered paramedics, the Bachelor of Science in health science: prehospital medicine concentration prepares graduates for administrative and teaching positions in the paramedic profession and foundational coursework for entry into many graduate-level programs.
Pennsylvania College of Technology’s paramedic program has added a bachelor’s degree option. In addition to preparing students to become registered paramedics, the Bachelor of Science in health science: prehospital medicine concentration prepares graduates for administrative and teaching positions in the paramedic profession and foundational coursework for entry into many graduate-level programs.

It includes a unique combination of science courses, clinical placements and fieldwork experiences to prepare students to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam at the paramedic level.

The paramedic program at Penn College originated at the Williamsport Hospital and Medical Center in 1979 and moved to Penn College in 2000.

Dr. Jonathan Trager graduated from the program in 2000, while it was still based at Williamsport Hospital, and practiced as a paramedic for five years before moving on to medical school.

He has not forgotten his emergency medical services roots, as he is still actively involved as a prehospital physician and medical director for St. Luke’s University Hospital.

Trager works with EMS providers daily in his role as an attending Emergency Department physician and is actively involved in the EMS system in Pennsylvania as a member of the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council’s Medical Advisory Committee and co-chair of the council’s Critical Care Transport Task Force. He also serves in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, holding the rank of major, as a critical care physician with the Critical Care Air Transport Team, a unit that tests his prehospital skills regularly during emergency retrievals of critically ill and injured patients.

Trager began to develop a passion for EMS as a child and worked as an emergency medical technician in Montreal before paramedics were commonplace.

“I was a witness to many cases where advanced life support could have made a difference,” he recalled. “It was hard knowing that, if trained and permitted by law, I could have intervened.”

Trager believes his later training and experience as a paramedic helped set him up for success both in medical school and in his current practice as a physician.

“The training, experience and confidence you get in practicing with some autonomy really helped prepare me for medical school,” he said. “I was very comfortable taking care of sick people and traumatic injuries.”

Trager held a Bachelor of Arts in psychology before attending paramedic training, and after graduation from paramedic school, he attended college in York to refresh his medical school science prerequisites to prepare for the Medical College Admissions Test. He believes Penn College’s new Bachelor of Science in health science: prehospital medicine concentration is an excellent option for the aspiring paramedic who has an eye on medical school.

From left: Dr. Jonathan Trager, a 2000 graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s paramedic program, a prehospital physician and medical director for St. Luke’s University Hospital; Dr. Adrian Brandau, a 2007 Penn College paramedic program alumnus, an emergency physician for UPMC Williamsport; and Dr. Gregory R. Frailey, medical director for Penn College’s paramedic program and Susquehanna Regional EMS.
From left: Dr. Jonathan Trager, a 2000 graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s paramedic program, a prehospital physician and medical director for St. Luke’s University Hospital; Dr. Adrian Brandau, a 2007 Penn College paramedic program alumnus, an emergency physician for UPMC Williamsport; and Dr. Gregory R. Frailey, medical director for Penn College’s paramedic program and Susquehanna Regional EMS.

“I wish I’d had this opportunity to complete paramedic training and prepare for medical school all in one degree,” Trager said. “The approach is similar to the U.K. – especially London – where medical school students have the opportunity to obtain additional training and coursework in prehospital medicine.”

Dr. Adrian Brandau graduated from Penn College’s paramedic program in 2007.  Unlike Trager, Brandau did not necessarily plan on moving on to medical school and instead planned to work as a paramedic in a career fire/EMS department.

While working full time as a paramedic, Brandau completed coursework required for medical school application, including chemistry, biology, statistics, microbiology and physics – courses that are part of the college’s new bachelor’s degree. Brandau was accepted to medical school in 2012 and now works as an emergency physician with UPMC Williamsport.

Brandau credits his experience as a paramedic as the driving force behind his decision to become an emergency physician, and he enjoys interacting with paramedics and paramedic students on a regular basis while working in the emergency department.

Dr. Gregory R. Frailey, medical director for Penn College’s paramedic program and Susquehanna Regional EMS, also worked as a paramedic prior to attending medical school. Frailey completed paramedic training in 1978 and practiced full time as a paramedic until 1984.

Frailey credits his paramedic training with providing the patient-care skills and baseline knowledge that allowed him to be comfortable and confident as a medical student.

While Frailey completed paramedic training after having a bachelor’s degree, he says a degree option like Penn College’s bachelor’s in health science: prehospital medicine concentration is an ideal way to “prepare future EMS physicians to hone the practice of prehospital care.”

To learn more about the paramedic program offerings at Penn College, including the Bachelor of Science in health science: prehospital medicine concentration, call 570-327-4519.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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