Emergency Medical Services Advising Guide

Department of Emergency Medical Services

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What is Emergency Medical Services?

Emergency Medical Services is South’s Bachelor of Science Degree for EMTs and paramedics. EMTs and paramedics care for the sick and/or injured in emergency situations in a pre-hospital type environment. EMTs and paramedics respond to emergency calls and perform medical services while transporting patients to medical facilities.

The Department of EMS Education offers the Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for students interested in a career in pre-hospital medicine and EMS management. As the field of EMS continues to grow and change, leaders and educators with a background in emergency medicine are needed to help shape the future of pre-hospital medicine and healthcare. This program is designed to prepare students for the clinical and administrative challenges of a career in Emergency Medical Services and healthcare in the 21st century.


Career Opportunities in Emergency Medical Services

EMTs and paramedics are often employed in fire stations rescue units, by public and private ambulatory services, off-shore oil/gas refining companies, and industry. Similar professions include:

  • Emergency management directors
  • Firefighters
  • Medical assistants
  • Physician assistants
  • Police and detectives
  • Registered nurses


Salary Trends in Emergency Medical Services

Salaries vary by state and region. EMTs and paramedics median pay in 2017 was $33,380 per year. The projected job growth through 2026 is 15%, which is much faster than average.


High School Preparation

Students wishing to pursue the Bachelor of Science degree in EMS should be aware of the physical demands, problem solving abilities, data collection, and judgment and reasoning skills that are required with this profession. Excellent communication skills and the ability to think use good judgment under stressful circumstances are of utmost importance. Courses with critical thinking objectives are recommended for students to take during high school. 

Students should take courses in math, at least to the Algebra I level.  Biology (Standard or AP) should also be taken. If a student’s school has a health sciences program, they should take any and all courses offered.


How to Major in Emergency Medical Services

General admission to the University is required for all levels of EMS education. Additionally, admission to all EMS programs is contingent upon a satisfactory background check and drug screen. Additionally, the following criteria must be met:

  • All incoming international students into the EMS programs must have passed the TOEFL exam with a minimum combined score of 80 IBT (Internet Based Testing)
  • Academic advising prior to admission to any certificate level. Completion of all healthcare, administrative and documentation requirements.
  • Completion of all mandatory requirements at least one week prior to the beginning of the semester.
  • Evidence of a current State of Alabama EMT license prior to admission to AEMT program.
  • Evidence of a current State of Alabama AEMT license prior to admission to Paramedic program.

The following are admission requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree program:

  • Evidence of successful completion of a nationally accredited or State approved paramedic program, or currently enrolled in the EMS program at the University of South Alabama.
  • Evidence of a current state paramedic license or national certification.
  • Official transcript or documentation which indicates the successful completion of at least 32 semester hours of paramedic credit (or its equivalent).
  • Submission of departmental application per University admission policy including a $50 application fee.
  • Minimum GPA of 2.0 in all prerequisite courses and a minimum university GPA of 2.0.
  • Submission of a one to two page written essay explaining professional goals and career aspirations.

The Paramedic program includes three levels of emergency medical services provider: Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Advanced EMT (AEMT), and paramedic. You must complete each level in order to become a licensed paramedic. However, you will also be able to apply for state licensure after passing the NREMT license for EMT and Advanced EMT (AEMT), respectively. The entire program takes 5 semesters completed consecutively.

▼   EMT

The EMT Program consists of three classes taken simultaneously: EMS 112, EMS 113, EMS 115. EMS 112 is the lecture portion of the course while EMS 113 is the skill lab. EMS 115 is the clinical internship portion of the course and consists of 40 hours and is broken down into two 12-hour shifts on an ambulance and two eight-hour shifts in an emergency department.

If you plan to major in EMS, you must also take EMS 210 Medical Terminology, which is offered exclusively online, along with EMS 112, EMS 113, and EMS 115.  

If you successfully pass EMS 112, 113, and 115, you will be eligible to take the National Registry of EMTs board-certifying exam.  You must maintain a B average in all three courses in order to pass. You must be 18-years-old in order to take the National Registry EMT exam. If you successfully pass the National Registry exam, you can apply for an Alabama EMT license and begin work. You must also successfully pass the National Registry EMT exam in order to enroll in the Advanced EMT portion.

▼   AEMT

The AEMT Program consists of three classes taken simultaneously: EMS 140, EMS 141, and EMS 143. EMS 140 is the lecture portion of the course while EMS 141 is the Advanced EMT Skills Lab. EMS 143 is the Advanced Clinical Internship, and consists of 108 hours or emergency department and ambulance rotations in Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama area hospitals and ambulances. There are 54 hours of ambulance rotations and 54 hours of Emergency Department rotations.

EMS 200 Human Systems and Pathophysiology, a non-lab survey of anatomy and physiology, as well as pathophysiology, is a co-requisite with Advanced EMT unless you’ve already had a two-course sequence of college-level anatomy and physiology.

You must maintain a B average in all AEMT courses in order to test for the National Registry AEMT Practical Exam and CBT as well as enroll in the Paramedic portion. You must complete Advanced EMT classes order to be qualified to enter the paramedic program. National Registry AEMT is NOT required to enroll in paramedic though we encourage students to take the exams as preparation for paramedic.

▼   Paramedic

The paramedic program consists of three semesters. Students can begin the paramedic program in the fall and spring semester; they must have successfully passed the AEMT courses.

The first semester consists of EMS 212: Foundations of Paramedicine, EMS 214: Introduction to EMS Cardiology, EMS 216: Patient Assessment/Operations, and EMS 217: Paramedic Clinical I. EMS 217 requires 112 clinical hours in an emergency department, as well as 5 oral intubations (inserting breathing tubes into a patient’s windpipe) at University Hospital Operating Room.

The second semester consists of EMS 240: Special Populations, EMS 242: Paramedic Emergency Care I, EMS 244: Paramedic Emergency Care II, EMS 245: Paramedic Skill Lab, and EMS 247: Paramedic Clinical II. EMS 247 requires 96 total clinical hours at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital with 48 hours coming from the Children’s Emergency Center and 48 hours from the Labor and Delivery Department. Paramedic students must have 5 newborn assessments/live births; 5 OB patient assessments; 2 infant (1-11 months); 2 toddler (1-3 years); 2 preschooler (4-5 years); 2 school-age (6-12 years); and 2 adolescent (13-18 years) assessments over the course of the three-semester paramedic program to be qualified to graduate.

The third semester consists of EMS 295: Paramedic Clinical Internship and EMS 297: Paramedic Comprehensive Review/Exams. EMS 295 requires 256 hours (sixteen 16-hour shifts) on the ambulance at approved clinical sites: Medstar EMS in Baldwin County, Mobile County EMS, Mobile Fire/Rescue. EMS 297 is the paramedic capstone where students demonstrate clinical mastery. Students must complete two final exams for EMS 297: a final practical exam that is given under National Registry Paramedic Practical Exam conditions and the Final Written Exam, a 120-question final exam given over 3 hours. Students must pass BOTH exams in order to successfully complete the program and be qualified to take the National Registry Paramedic Practical and Computer-Based Test (CBT). Students must pass the Final Practical in order to be qualified to take the Final Written Exam. Students will have two attempts at each exam; if they do not pass, they must repeat EMS 297. If a student fails after repeating EMS 297, they will be dropped from the program.


The Advising Packet contains all of the paperwork required by new students in order to be admitted to be admitted to the EMS program. Download the packet, fill out the paperwork, and provide the required documentation (childhood immunizations, TB skin test, Hepatitis B vaccine/titer, varicella titer).  You must meet with an advisor in the EMS Department before you be allowed to register for EMS classes.

American Heart Association Healthcare Provider CPR or Red Cross CPR Pro is required for entry into the EMS program.  The Department of EMS Education offers Healthcare Provider CPR on the first Monday of every month.


Emergency Medical Services Highlights 

You may also take the EMT course as a non-credit student, meaning you will not receive college credit for the course but you will still be able to take the National Registry of EMTs board certifying exam. You must also maintain a B average in all three courses in order to pass.   You will NOT have to apply to the university. The cost is $1,250 NOT including textbooks and clinical uniform shirt. It must be paid in full by the beginning of class and we cannot accept installment payments. A non-credit EMT student who wishes to progress onto Advanced EMT and paramedic will have to be admitted as a student and select EMS as their major.  They will also have to take EMS 210 Medical Terminology along with other prerequisites for Advanced EMT.


Academic Plan

Following an academic plan will help you stay on track to graduate in four years. 

To see a sample academic plan for this major, please click here.  Degree plans provide only a suggested schedule; make sure to meet with your academic advisor to find the actual schedule that is right for you.

For additional degree information, visit the undergraduate bulletin.


For More Information

Students are strongly encouraged to schedule an advising appointment at least two weeks prior to the start of classes. Contact Jason Brooks to schedule an advising appointment.

You can find us on campus at:

Department of Emergency Medical Services
EOB Suite 400
600 Clinic Drive
Mobile, AL 36688-0002
Phone: (251) 461-1832
Fax: (251) 461-1823

Website: http://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/alliedhealth/ems/index.html

*The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other majors, please refer to the USA bulletin or contact the department/College directly.