DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – There have been open positions in the medical field but what has been a problem for the past several years is the ability to fill the position of a paramedic with qualified candidates.

Calhoun Community College is looking to provide the best training to have these candidates ready to go before they even graduate. Their paramedic program is taking students out of the classroom and giving them realistic hands-on training with the very equipment used in the field right now.

Calhoun’s Dean of Health Science Bret McGill told News 19, “All these different places that hire paramedics, they just don’t have qualified people ready to do it.”

The nation has seen a shortage of paramedics and that’s affecting Emergency Medical Services (EMS) across the board, especially EMS Transport Services. McGill said the length of the courses could be one of the major factors.

“Maybe their first love was to run ambulance calls and to be on that side of medicine where it’s pretty exciting,” McGill explained. “But money really drives whether or not they want to do that.”

He added that’s where he believes one of the major disconnects could be but Calhoun is reigniting that passion in their students by shifting the way they educate their students and offering unique hands-on training opportunities.

“They’re actually doing it, we’re putting them in an ambulance, we’re putting in an immersive sim room. We’re putting them in hallways with a patient, learning how to extricate, package the patient, start an IV and do things.”

McGill also said paramedic programs are not one size fits all and those interested should be selective of the program they want to partake in. Calhoun has teamed up with all the different services they partner with to find better ways to provide the hands-on education that’s needed to be successful in the field.