High School Seniors Work Toward EMT Certification and Earn College Credit at BMCC

February 3, 2020

A new partnership between three entities — the New York City Department of Education Career and Technical Education program, the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Department of Allied Health Sciences and Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, and the Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management (UASEM) — will enable 30 high school seniors to realize their goal of entering the workforce as certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).

The students will also enroll in BMCC for the Fall 2020 semester. Their application fee will be paid by the grant, and they will carry over four credits toward an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Paramedic.

The NYC DOE provided a $35,000 grant to develop the 20-week, EMT Training Career PATH program. To prepare for the experience, the high school students took a driver’s education class and acquired their New York State driver’s license in Fall 2019. Their participation stems from a strong interest in emergency management, which they have chosen to specialize in, at the high school level at UASEM.

“They are also interested in the health care field and have shown tremendous motivation and focus on finishing their studies,” says Professor Meghan Williams, paramedic program director in the BMCC Department of Allied Health Sciences.

In the Spring 2020 semester, while the students are finishing their senior year at UASEM at 411 Pearl Street — just across lower Manhattan from the BMCC campus at 199 Chambers Street — they will attend an emergency medical technician class at BMCC two days a week.

They will also undergo training for CPR certification, attend job recruitment seminars, and complete a rotation in a healthcare setting; either a hospital ER or ambulance shift.

“The students will have seminar and clinical experiences with practicing professionals that culminate in their EMT Exam and state certificate,” says Williams. “They will eligible for the national EMT certificate, as well as, an in-person skills exam and paper test administered by New York state.”

Students gain from employer visits, a high-fidelity simulation lab and other learning experiences

In addition to learning the skills related to being an EMT, the students will visit employer sites “and get an inside look at the hiring process,” says Professor Williams. “There is also going to be a panel discussion with paramedics, doctors of emergency medicine and emergency managers from hospitals as part of their semester.”

In the end, she explains, the students have two options. “They can start employment after completing the EMT class and high school at the same time, or they can enter BMCC in Fall 2020 with four credits toward an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Paramedic.”

The students will work closely with Williams, as well as with BMCC Allied Health Sciences Professor Frank Nuqui and high school instructor Salvatore Puglisi, who teaches emergency management at UASEM.

Part of their training will be conducted using high-fidelity simulation mannequins in the EMT training lab at BMCC. “We have trauma mannequins that actually squirt blood, so the students learn bleeding control for hemorrhagic shock,” says Williams.

That said, Williams — who co-wrote the course, “Psychological Trauma in EMS Patients” (PTEP) for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technician — explains that EMT training is not all about physical trauma. The high school seniors will also complete a course she is teaching on strategies EMS practitioners can apply to alleviate patients’ fear and stress, during a medical emergency.

Giving back to their own communities strengthens students’ motivation

Besides four college credits and entry into the field of EMT, students who complete the EMT program will receive blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, a BMCC EMT embroidered uniform shirt with patch, a pair of EMS tech pants, EMS boots and Coaching the Emergency Vehicle Operator (CEVO) textbooks.

Josue Nieves, a high school senior at UASEM, was motivated to join the EMT program because he hopes to give back to his community in the South Bronx.

“In a neighborhood like mine, response times are pretty slow. I’ve seen multiple times where people call 911 and have to wait an hour for a response,” says Nieves. “I want to be able to do something about that. I’m very motivated to help people.”

He also looks forward to earning a salary as an EMT while continuing his studies.

“Right now, my family is struggling a little financially and it would be good to have the extra income,” he says. “Since our freshman year at UASEM, we’ve learned what to do in an emergency. Now that we’re seniors, we’re seeing what it’s like to be a college student at BMCC and what it really takes to be an EMT.”


  • NYC Department of Education, BMCC and Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management partner to prepare high school seniors for EMT licensing
  • Students take class at BMCC and earn four credits toward an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Paramedic
  • They work with high-fidelity simulation mannequins at BMCC, visit employer sites and learn about managing psychological as well as physical trauma

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