Northstar EMS starts paid training program to help with staff shortage


NorthStar Emergency Medical Services has been extremely short-staffed for more than two years. Now, they’re hoping to change that with a new program. It’s called “Earn While You Learn,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

The program gives qualified applicants the opportunity to enroll in the 8-to-10-week program to become a licensed EMT.

“You are learning how to take blood pressure, recognize acute medical conditions, do CPR, how to use a defibrillator, spinal packaging for car wrecks and those types of things,” NorthStar EMS Operations Director Edgar Calloway said. “Just kind of the broad spectrum of every call we answer. You have got to learn how to address each of those calls and what medical intervention you need to provide.”

There’s the learn part. The earn part is while in the program, the recruits are paid an hourly wage of $12.50 and receive full benefits from NorthStar.

“The earn while you learn program is a great opportunity for anybody looking to be a first responder or getting into the medical field,” Earn While You Learn alum Michael Moore said. “It’ll set you up for success. It makes it a lot easier if you are getting paid instead of paying to take the class.”

“It’s nice to be able to focus on school and make a little bit of money while you are doing it and pay the bills,” fellow Earn While You Learn alum Jamie Robinson said.

When the students complete the training program and pass their testing, they have the opportunity to become a full-time EMT with an hourly rate up to $15.00 per hour including benefits.

“Blue Cross insurance, retirement, all of the other benefits that come with working full time with NorthStar, you start during the class as well,” Calloway said.

During the last Earn While You Learn program, ten students including Moore went on to work fulltime at NorthStar as EMTs.

“Working here at NorthStar while you are going through school it allows you to hop on a truck and it makes it a lot easier,” Moore said. “You are working with people you are going to work with when you graduate. Every Friday, we would do ride outs. We would get to have firsthand experiences and training instead of just being stuck in the classroom all day.”

The next Earn While You Learn program will begin January 12th.
You can call (205) 247-4745 to enroll in the program.


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