Majors and Minors Home
About the Major
The emergency medical services program prepares students for careers in prehospital medicine and EMS management. Students receive classroom, laboratory and clinical education in every facet of this growing and changing field, including preparation for teaching.
Jobs in Emergency Medical Services
- Emergency medical technician
- Field paramedic (fire-rescue, private ambulance service, aero-medical service)
- Healthcare administrator
- Public health educator
- Tactical paramedic (law enforcement)
She Tried EMS and ‘Ended Up Loving It’
Studying engineering at a community college, Pashance Housen liked the math. However, “I ended up figuring out I did NOT want to sit at a desk.” About that time, she successfully calmed someone having an unexpected panic attack and thought, “Maybe I should try something in healthcare.”
Housen (who pronounces her first name “PAY-shens”) investigated the emergency medical services program at the University of South Alabama, which is near her home in Vancleave, Mississippi. “I decided, ‘I’m just going to try it,’” she said. “I ended up loving it.”
The EMS major program culminates in a Bachelor of Science. Along the way, a student can earn certification as an emergency medical technician, advanced emergency medical technician and paramedic.
Those levels of emergency medical service require progressively more training. At the top, paramedics can perform such procedures as cardioversion (restoring normal heart rhythm to people with abnormal heartbeats) and intravenous administration of fluids and medications.
“The EMS degree is great at opening up your opportunities.”
The program provides business and educational classes in addition to medical training, enhancing career flexibility. Graduates can be front-line EMS workers, go into management or administration, serve with the military or law enforcement, or teach.
“They go above and beyond at South,” Housen said. “They definitely push you. It’s not an easy degree to get.” She said her teachers have provided personal attention, tutoring and whatever other resources she’s needed to succeed.
Classes focus on lively discussions among students and teachers rather than lectures. The curriculum includes lots of hands-on experience, including clinical rotations and student teaching.
After getting a few years of EMS experience, Housen said, she might try becoming a physician assistant. Physician assistant programs, such as the one at South, are master’s level and require a bachelor’s degree for admission.
“The EMS degree,” Housen said, “is great at opening up your opportunities.”
Did You Know?
- South is one of only 22 colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that offer a bachelor’s degree in emergency medical services.
- The paramedic program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions.
- The EMS department offers blended and online classes for working professionals.