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Susquehanna Health System, Penn College Announce Collaboration

Susquehanna Health System and Pennsylvania College of Technology have announced plans to collaborate on the transition of The Williamsport Hospital & Medical Center’s Paramedic Training Institute to an associate degree program offered by Penn College, according to Donald R. Creamer, president and chief executive officer of the health system, and Davie Jane Gilmour, president of the college.

“This is a very natural extension of the cooperative programs that have been formed between Penn College and Susquehanna Health System throughout the years,” explained Creamer. The two institutions work closely in training radiology technicians, nursing students and physicians’ assistants. They also worked together to develop the community dental clinic, where selected Penn College dental hygiene students now do a part of the clinical education.

The Paramedic Training Institute was established by The Williamsport Hospital in 1979, in response to the community’s acute need for paramedic professionals. Upon successful completion of the current curriculum, the student is eligible to take the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Certification examination as well as the National Registry Examination for EMT-Paramedics. Several of the program’s 378 graduates have been employed by hospitals in the region.

“Paramedic graduates are now looking for opportunities beyond our region,” stated Creamer. “Since the health system’s mission is to address the health needs of our communities, we believe these students can be better served by the vast placement resources available through Penn College.”

Gilmour elaborated, “The awarding of a degree provides additional opportunities for employment and greater potential for advancement in the field. Additionally, graduates earning the associate degree will be eligible for direct articulation and placement into two Penn College bachelor of science degrees: Technology Management and Applied Health Studies.”

Penn College also is working toward making its applied health studies bachelor degree available to graduates of the paramedic institute, by granting college credits for institute work.

Classes are expected to begin in August 1999 in Penn College’s School of Health Sciences, with a minimum enrollment of 18 students. Recruitment for the first Penn College paramedic class will be a joint effort between the faculty of Susquehanna Health System and Penn College. SHS will provide classroom and office space to accommodate the program and will be the primary clinical site.

The Paramedic Training Institute is a nationally recognized leader in its field and has earned accreditation from the American Medical Association and the U.S. Council on Post-Secondary Accreditation. The institute draws students from throughout the United States as well as numerous foreign countries. Penn College plans to seek accreditation with the Joint Review Committee on Education Programs for the EMT-Paramedic, Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.


FACT SHEET Paramedic Associate Degree Pennsylvania College of Technology

  • This major has been developed in response to a request from the Susquehanna Health System, to replace the hospital’s paramedic training program, which had earned national acclaim since it began in 1979
  • The program is being expanded in order to award an associate degree upon completion. The awarding of a degree provides additional opportunities for employment and greater potential for advancement in the field.
  • Classes are expected to begin in Fall 1999 (with a minimum enrollment of 18 students) in Penn College’s School of Health Sciences (Deborah A. Wilson, dean)
  • The associate degree major requires six semesters of study (approximately 24 months), including two summers. The curriculum is undergoing review at Penn College.
  • A total of 1,120 clinic hours, in addition to lecture and related course work, is required for completion of the degree
  • Plans are to continue to use Susquehanna Health Systems classrooms for clinical training
  • The first semester of study is focused entirely on general education courses
  • Tuition costs will total approximately $18,000 over the 24-month period needed to complete the program. Financial aid will be available for eligible students.
  • Students who already are certified at the “EMT Basic” level may be eligible for advanced placement
  • Tech Prep students may be eligible for direct articulation into the major
  • Recruitment will be expanded outside the region, to include national admissions recruitment activities of Penn College
  • Few programs are available in Pennsylvania. Others are located in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Luzerne County.
  • Penn College plans to go through the process of accreditation with the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs for the EMT-Paramedic, Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. The accreditation process will include a site visit.
  • Graduates earning the associate degree will be eligible for direct articulation and placement into two Penn College bachelor of science degrees: Technology Management and Applied Health Studies
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