September 21, 2010
News from the CoAEMSP

In This Issue
Quick Links
CoAEMSP Website

CAAHEP Website

NREMT Website

Institute of Medicine Report

National EMS Scope of Practice

EMS Agenda for the Future

Education Standards

National EMS Core Content
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Attend the Fall Accreditation Workshop in Atlanta
Step-by-Step Assistance with the Accreditation Process!

"Accreditation is NOT a Four Letter Word"

This course covers topics such as accreditation overview, self study, site visit preparation, and the preparation of annual reports. Take this opportunity to be guided step-by-step by experienced CoAEMSP and NAEMSE faculty through the accreditation process. Register today!

Sponsored by CoAEMSP and NAEMSE.
Atlanta, GA: October 28-29

Click here for more information and to register.

Contact NAEMSE at (412) 920-4775 or with questions. Register today!

Watch for the 2011 Accreditation Workshop schedule coming this fall.

If you have a suggestion for a location, email
Why Accreditation: Why Now?

By Patricia L. Tritt, RN, MA & Debra Cason RN, MS, EMT-P

Have you ever heard the refrain in EMS: "Why won't they treat us as professionals?" 

Are you familiar with the defining characteristics of a profession?  Some of the characteristics include: skill based on theoretical knowledge; extensive period of education where specialized practical experience is provided; testing of competence; formal qualifications based upon education; regulation (typically) by statute; affairs of its members regulated by professional bodies; training involving obtaining degrees and professional qualifications; regular up-dating of skills through continuing education; and standardization of professional training. 

So how do we stack up? There are some hits and some misses. But a recurring theme appears to be education: and of course not just any education but quality education.  How do we assess quality in EMS 'training' programs?  And by the way, is it 'training' or is it 'education'?  There is an old saying, after all, that we train pets but we educate people. 

Quality begins by evaluating ourselves against a set of industry established standards. Do we meet the minimum Standards and Guidelines set by our peer group under the auspices of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)?  That is really how accreditation works in Paramedic education--and every other health profession field.  We evaluate ourselves against the CAAHEP Standards.  The most recent Standards and Guidelines were established by the EMS community in 2005. Once we evaluate ourselves against these Standards and Guidelines and document our findings, we invite our peers to come to our program and see for themselves how it is done.  They will look for the following: How we deliver our services; how we evaluate the competency of our graduates; how we assure that each graduate is competent--not just in what he/she knows but also how he/she performs and behaves professionally.  

A ten year old document titled the EMS Education Agenda for the Future calls for a system of education in EMS that is similar to other health professions. That system has not previously existed in EMS education because our birth, growth and development have taken a different path than most health professions.  EMS has definitely grown and matured but our system of education has primarily been dependent on a single component:  a national standard curriculum.  The authors of the Education Agenda, and the many groups and individuals that provided input into the document, called for a system that included a systematic development of education standards and graduation from an accredited Paramedic program in order to take the national credentialing exam. This system approach is common and expected in other more mature health professions as well as other disciplines.  This 2000 document was not the first time that accreditation was called for by the EMS community.  The 1996 document EMS Agenda for the Future recommended "accreditation should be sought to demonstrate that educational programs provided meet a predefined national standard of quality." 

Since that time, research has been published that validates the role of accreditation in quality.  Current research articles published in peer-review academic journals indicate an increased success rate on national certification exams from graduates of nationally accredited Paramedic programs.* 

After years of discussion, in June 2008, the NREMT Board of Directors formally discussed the possibility of requiring graduation from a CAAHEP accredited program in order to take the Paramedic NREMT exam.  Discussion included concerns about acceptance of the concept by state governments, EMS provider agencies, Paramedic education programs as well as others. More discussion followed about how long the EMS community has discussed the concept, how many other professions require accreditation, that the NREMT is the only entity that could make the change, and that the role of the NREMT is to protect citizens.  In June 2008, the NREMT Board decided to table any action and continue these discussions with the EMS community.

In November 2008, the NREMT board voted to require graduation from a CAAHEP accredited program in order to take the NREMT exam beginning 2013.  As predicted, many agencies and governments and individuals were distressed about the impact of the plan.  And yet, many were also saying that the time had come and why continue to discuss accreditation without any movement in the direction recommended 14 years ago?  Many have said this is the path to professionalism and they want to travel there along with their colleagues. 

The CoAEMSP has been reaching out to state officials, professional organizations such as the IAFC, NAEMSE, NASEMSO, and individual institutions to provide information on accreditation, the benefits, and the process.  These forums for discussion and technical assistance facilitate the preparation of Paramedic programs that are not currently accredited and provide guidance in completing the process.  One of the incentives for early submission of a self study provides additional time for a program director to obtain a Bachelors degree if the initial self study is submitted before January 1, 2011.  Many new tools, such as sample documents and reports, have been developed to assist programs and are available at If you would like more information or if you would like a CoAEMSP member to address your organization, call 817-330-0080.

The accreditation process is one more step toward the acceptance of Paramedics as 'professionals' and accreditation as credible education.


*"Estimating the Probability of Passing the National Paramedic Certification Examination", Antonio R. Fernandez, BS, NREMT-P; Jonathan Studnek, MS, NREMT-P; Gregg S. Margolis, PhD, NREMT-P (2008).

"Program Accreditation Effect on Paramedic Credentialing Examination Success Rate", Philip Dickison, RN, BBA; David Hostler, PhD; Thomas E. Platt, Med; Henry E. Wang, MD, MPH (2006).

"Strategies of High Performing Paramedic Programs", Gregg Margolis, PhD, NREMT-P; Gabe Romero, MBA, NREMT-P; Antonio R. Fernandez, BS, NREMT-P; Jonathan Studnek, PhD, NREMT-P (2009).

Patricia Tritt, RN, MA is Director of EMS and Trauma at HealthONE EMS in Englewood, CO. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).

Debra Cason, RN, MS, EMT-P is the Program Director and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Education at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas. She is also Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).
FAQ: What is the Difference Between CoAEMSP and CAAHEP?

CAAHEP is the largest programmatic accreditor in the health sciences field. In cooperation with its 18 Committees on Accreditation (CoA), CAAHEP reviews and accredits over 2100 educational programs in twenty-two (22) health science occupations. CoAEMSP is one of those 18 CoAs, representing the EMS profession and has for over the past 30 years when the Paramedic was recognized as an allied health occupation by the American Medical Association in 1975.
FAQ: How Much Does it Cost to Become Accredited?

Generally, accreditation costs approximately 8.4 cents for each student for each contact hour. Since the average Paramedic course is between 1000-1200 hours (1100 hour average), $92.00 per student 1100 hours =$0.084 per student per contact hour, which the CoAEMSP considers a minimal cost to the program for their accreditation investment.
The annual fee for accreditation is $1200 to maintain the program's on-going accreditation and support the various services provided to programs by CoAEMSP.
1. CAAHEP has an Institutional Fee of $450.00 that is due annually for the program. If your institution has more than one CAAHEP program this single fee is spread over all of the programs.
2. At the end of the accreditation period, the Program is required to conduct a Self Study Report and host a site visit. On average this takes place in five (5) year intervals. The Program is responsible for paying the actual costs (travel, accommodations and meals) of the site visit. Depending on specific travel arrangements, these costs will vary. The average cost of a site visit by two site visitors is $2,500.00.
3. With the submission of a Self Study Report, a Self Study Report Evaluation Fee of $500.00 is due.
Click here for a complete look at the fee structure.
Policies for Advertising Accreditation Status (Language)

PoliciesCorrection: CoAEMSP contact information was inadvertently left off the policy for advertising accreditation status. What follows is the policy in its entirety.
Is your program accredited by CAAHEP? Are you accurately publishing this? CoAEMSP and CAAHEP have specific policies on publishing a program's status of accreditation.

CoAEMSP policy states that if a program has CAAHEP accreditation, the sponsor must use the following EXACT language shown below in red when referring to that accreditation in at least one of its comprehensive publications customarily used to officially convey institutional information, it must state:
The [name of program] is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
1361 Park Street
Clearwater, FL 33756
Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions
4101 W Green Oaks Blvd Suite 305-599
Arlington, TX 76016
(817) 330-0080
FAX (817) 330-0089

Please refer to the CoAEMSP policy and CAAHEP policy for complete information.          
If a program has not yet been accredited by CAAHEP, the sponsor must make no reference to an accreditation status for that program.
102 Days Left!
Time Extension Offered to
Program Directors Needing to Obtain a Bachelors Degree for Accreditation

cap diplomaOne of the requirements for accreditation of Paramedic educational programs is that the program director must possess a Bachelors degree. Because some programs may find it difficult to meet this requirement by the 2013 date, the CoAEMSP Board of Directors has approved a Bachelors Degree Plan for Program Directors.
This plan provides an extended period of time for the program director of a program seeking Initial Accreditation to obtain his/her Bachelors degree. To be eligible for this plan, the program must submit its Initial Accreditation Self Study Report (ISSR) and fees to the CoAEMSP for evaluation prior to January 1, 2011. Doing so will allow the program director to demonstrate that qualification by current enrollment and continual satisfactory academic progress (defined as a minimum of 15 semester hours per year) toward a Bachelors degree until successfully completed.

Step 1
Make sure it has an accreditation-eligible sponsor. This can be a college, university, hospital, clinic, medical center, U.S. Armed Forces, governmental educational or medical services, governmental fire academy or governmental EMS training agency, or a consortium. Complete information about accreditation-eligible sponsors is here.

Step 2
Complete the CAAHEP Request for Accreditation Services form found here.

Step 3
Complete the Initial Accreditation Self Study Report (ISSR) found here.

Step 4
Submit the completed Initial Accreditation Self Study Report (ISSR) and appropriate fees.
Submission of a completed ISSR by January 1, 2011, will make the program director eligible for the extended period of time to complete a Bachelors degree. More information is available here. For additional information or assistance, contact Bill Goding at or 817.330.0080, x113.
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Jennifer Anderson Warwick, MA