Branson and Hollister High School juniors and seniors with an interest in a healthcare career are being given a unique opportunity to explore the medical field thanks to a new program involving OTC Table Rock’s EMT program.
Students will attend OTC through the Career Center, spending half the day on the OTC campus learning how to be an Emergency Medical Technician, and the other half on their high school campus.
“The idea came because we have such a massive labor market shortage,” Dr. Robert Griffith, OTC Table Rock President, told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “One of the areas of most profound need is health care. We wanted to give people more health care training. Where are the bright, underemployed people who might want to move into health care? They’re in high school. We had an existing EMT program, and EMT is a great entry point. EMT is a valuable career skill and a community need, but also easier to deliver in a year’s curriculum.”
Griffith said that the EMT certificate someone would earn allows them to move into multiple other career fields.
“So you graduate from high school, and you’re an EMT,” Griffith said. “That’s nice if you want to be a fireman, if you want to go into law enforcement, great if you want to work on an ambulance. But it’s likely not someone’s terminal degree. They come back to OTC to become a paramedic, and there’s also a paramedic to registered nursing degree.”
Griffith said that unlike many career fields where someone gains a certification and stays within a very narrow career field, the EMT certification applies to multiple fields, making this new program something unusual for the medical field.
“We want to make lots of entry points, different curriculum options, so there’s a variety of different options for people,” Griffith said.
Griffith said that area healthcare agencies are very positive on the new program.
“Our graduates have been privileged in the hiring process pretty much everywhere they go,” Griffith said.
More information about the EMT program and other healthcare degrees can be found on the school’s website, otc.edu.