Are you interested in a career where you can save lives and provide prehospital care, ultimately making a difference in your community? College of  The Albemarle’s emergency medical science (EMS) program may be your calling.

Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics are the first ones on the scene when a person’s life is at stake.  They have to be composed, decisive, and compassionate as they provide medical care during an emergency and en route to a hospital.

The EMS associate degree at COA is a five semester program. Students will gain the knowledge and skills to provide advanced emergency medical care as a paramedic for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical system.  Graduates of the program may be eligible to take state and/or national certification examinations. The EMS associate degree program provides many employment opportunities upon completion, including providers of emergency medical services, fire departments, rescue agencies, hospital specialty areas, industry, educational and government agencies.

Even though it’s not a requirement to have an EMS degree to work as a paramedic, the degree helps strengthen the student’s knowledge and abilities. The future of the profession is moving toward requiring a degree for all of its paramedic providers.

“Whether it is in the classroom simulator or an ambulance, COA’s EMS program provides hands-on training so that our students are prepared to provide prehospital care when they enter the workforce,” explained Walter Meads, EMS Instructor for COA.

Through COA’s Workforce Development and Career Readiness department, classes for Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) and Paramedic are also available.  These certificate classes  provide students with the proper training to begin an EMS career.  COA also offers continuing medical education and refresher courses for current certified EMTs and Paramedics.

The certificate EMT program is one semester long and the Paramedic program takes approximately one year to complete.  The North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services works with the college to develop classes for individuals interested in joining a first responder department, rescue squad and/or EMS agency.  Students receive hands-on training and experience in the field, through ride-alongs and mentoring under the supervision of an affiliated EMS agency.

EMTs generally provide basic life support, CPR, patient assessment, vital sign assessments, control bleeding, and splint fractures and dislocations. Paramedics perform more advanced skills such as advanced airway management, cardiac monitoring and defibrillation, and administer a wider array of medications.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), employment of EMTs and Paramedics is projected to grow 23 percent annually through 2022, much faster than the average for other occupations. In addition, the BLS noted that growth in middle-aged and elderly populations may lead to greater demand for EMTs and Paramedics in the home health-care field and other specialized medical areas such as industrial safety.

For more information or questions about EMS education at COA, please contact Walter Meads at or John Wilson at

Basic Law Enforcement Training

The Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program is a semester long program designed for cadets to receive essential skills required to work as a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, prison guard or security guard. Graduates receive a curriculum certificate upon passing the certification examinations mandated by the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission, and/or the NC Sheriff’s Education and Training Standards Commission. 

Visit for application requirements.

Criminal Justice Technology

The Criminal Justice Technology program at COA introduces students to criminal justice systems and operations, including judicial processes; corrections; security services; and local, state and federal law enforcement, and features an entirely online option.With further education and experience, you will be qualified to work as a detective, private investigator or crime scene investigator. Average salaries range from $28,000 to $60,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

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Fire & Rescue Service Training

Fire and Rescue Service Training is provided at COA to help prepare firefighters to better serve their communities. Training sessions are held in fire departments throughout our seven-county service area, providing training as part of an organized group with the equipment used in controlling fires. Monthly fire training classes are held at multiple regional locations, while the Elizabeth City Campus hosts an intensive Fire School once a year. The Dare County Campus Fire Academy also occurs once a year. 

For class schedules, visit

Heart Training Center

COA operates the only American Heart Association™(AHA) Training Center in the area and offers a variety of classes for both the general public and medical professionals. Course offerings range from basic CPR for the general public to advanced life support courses for local EMS providers, nurses, physicians and other allied health professionals. AHA has many classes available online through Following completion of an online class, you’ll need to demonstrate hands-on skills while in the presence of a certified AHA instructor.

 To see the schedule of classes for the general public and classes for medical professionals, visit