As a flight paramedic, emergency medicine graduate Corissa Walters provides access to lifesaving medical treatment for people throughout central Kentucky, many of whom are in isolated areas. It’s a job she loves, and her bachelor’s degree in emergency medical care helped her get there.
She started her career in EMS in central Kentucky, and that experience helped her get a job as an inspector for the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services. She continued to add to her skillset and credentials, but something was missing.
“As paramedics, we have experience but we may not be as respected as others in the medical field. When you add a degree to that, it elevates your professionalism,” she explained.
She chose EKU for its reputation among police, fire and EMS professionals. It worked for her because of the flexibility of the online format. “In EMS, you work odd hours, and you work multiple days so you have to have something that works around your schedule,” she explained.
The EKU Online paramedic degree allowed her to take classes without coming to campus. That was essential because she and her husband both work full time and serve as volunteer firefighters. Plus, they have a blended family with five children.
Like any parent, the emergency medicine graduate had reservations about adding homework to an already busy schedule. “When I started, I was just really nervous about how this was going to fit into my life with my job and my kids. I slowly started to feel like I could do it, and I proved that to myself after the first couple of classes,” Corissa remembered.
Online learning worked for Corissa because she could study on her own time, continue to be there for her family and still achieve her goals in her emergency medicine career. In fact, she exceeded them.
“Dr. Bill Young nominated me for an award after my first semester and that meant a lot to me. As a paramedic and someone who’s been doing this for a long time, you don’t always get that kind of recognition – especially as a working mother,” she said.
Paramedics have hand-on experience, and they push themselves every day for their communities. With a degree specializing in the fire service or emergency services administration, they can accomplish even more.
“I have worked as a street paramedic, and I have a critical care endorsement and years of experience and increasing responsibility,” she explained. “But I needed the degree to get me to the next level.”
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