Paramedic education program receives national accreditation

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Fire Department’s paramedic education academy has been awarded initial accreditation by a national EMS board.

This accreditation from the Board of Directors of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) means that the department’s training and education program meets the nation’s highest standards.

Since 2016, 12 employees have completed the academy’s training, and more are signing up. The department is scheduled to begin its next training in January, when as many as six RCFD paramedics will participate.

“They will learn how to operate a cardiac monitor with a defibrillation pads, intubations,” said Lt. Jason Reitz, EMS training specialist with the RCFD. “A lot of stuff you will see in the ER that we carry in the back of an ambulance and we are able to perform those vital skills.”

The RCFD Paramedic Education Program is an intense year-long program. The program consists of 1,300 hours of training in both the classroom and clinical setting. This includes a 400 hour ambulance field internship and a minimum of 276 clinical hours in the hospital setting.

Individuals that successfully complete the program and pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) psychomotor and cognitive exams then must successfully become licensed with the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners (SDBMOE) before beginning an intense months-long Paramedic Field Training and Evaluation Program.

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