North Central Michigan College has expanded its Emergency Medical Services programs to include regional delivery at locations in both Gaylord and Alpena.

The expansion is well-timed to help address a critical shortage of EMS workers.  There are more than 500 job openings for EMS professionals statewide right now, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

“In an emergency situation, we’re confident that an ambulance will arrive quickly, but it’s becoming more of a challenge for understaffed rural departments to fill the demand,” said Jim Cousino, dean of Career and Technical Education.  “North Central is meeting that need.”

At both NCMC’s Gaylord Center and the Alpena Fire Department, students can now complete EMS and paramedic courses leading to licensure as a nationally registered paramedic.  Beginning Fall 2021 in Gaylord, regional students will also be able to complete coursework leading to licensure as an EMT.  Classes are structured to feature lecture in the morning and hands-on skills training in the afternoon. 

North Central’s paramedic program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.  The EMS program is licensed by MDHHS and prepares students for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians® licensure examinations at all levels of EMS provider.

Through a partnership with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, North Central also offers a three-week training course resulting in certification for critical patient care transportation—essentially a post-graduate degree equipping paramedics to manage high-risk patient transfers.

Cousino noted the opportunity for students to “stack” their credentials and advance their career in an in-demand field. 

“Students who start with a Basic EMS degree can continue their education to become paramedics, which increases their earning potential and allows them to provide even more life-saving care to patients,” he said.

Cousino added that many employers are offering significant sign-on bonuses and incentives for qualified emergency care providers to help address the statewide shortage of EMS professionals.

North Central Michigan College is an open-door community college based in Petoskey, with additional locations offering classes and services in Cheboygan and Gaylord.  North Central’s mission is to provide exceptional, accessible, relevant higher education of and for the community.  North Central is an Achieving the Dream Leader College with a designation of Veteran Friendly Silver by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.  For more information, visit 

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Megan Van Horn 
Content Media Administrator