The Rapid City Fire Department Paramedic Education Academy has been awarded initial accreditation by the Board of Directors of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The CAAHEP Board acted upon the accreditation recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).
Through the accreditation process, which includes a thorough review of the program, curriculum, resources, faculty and staff, as well as a site visit of the program, the Rapid City Fire Department Paramedic program was determined to be in substantial compliance with the nationally-approved Standards and Guidelines for educational programs as established by the EMS - Paramedic profession.
The department was granted a Letter of Review and began providing Paramedic education for RCFD employees in 2016. Since that time, 12 RCFD employees have completed the program with a 100% pass rate. The next academy is scheduled to begin in January of 2020 with as many as six RCFD employees slated to participate in the program.
Regarding the RCFD Paramedic Education Academy, Rapid City Fire Department EMS Training Specialist Lt. Jason Reitz says, “Having a program that can continually meet the demands of the Rapid City Fire Department and the community we serve is so important.” Lt. Reitz added that accreditation is essential because every Paramedic course offered must be through an accredited program. “This accreditation ensured that we are meeting the standards set forth by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)”, Reitz said. He added, “Being accredited makes the RCFD as one of very few accredited fire department based programs in the nation.”
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.
CAAHEP accredits more than 2,200 educational programs that prepare health professionals in 32 different disciplines. Accreditation is one step in a process that is meant to protect the public and ensure a supply of qualified health care professionals. For more information about CAAHEP and accreditation, visit www.caahep.org .