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The National EMS Academy was formed as a collaborative effort between Acadian Ambulance Service, South Louisiana Community College and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service with the primary objective of providing the education and training necessary for individuals seeking to enter the emergency medical services industry.
Each year, NEMSA continues to exceed the national average pass rate for EMTs and paramedics. In 2014, NEMSA's pass rate surpassed the national average for EMTs, 86 percent to 75 percent and paramedics 88 percent to 85 percent. With seven campuses in Louisiana and two in Texas, the Academy has trained almost 2 percent of all newly nationally registered paramedics in the nation and has produced 3,428 EMTs and 1,490 paramedics since its inception in 2003.
"Our vision, from day one, was to be the leading resource for EMS education, research, and curricula development in the nation," said Director Kirk LaCour. "What began as an idea, many years ago, has turned into a top nationally-accredited EMS training facility with nine campus sites throughout Louisiana and Texas."
With grant funding from the Department of Labor and the Department of Economic Development, NEMSA was established in 2003 to meet the demands of a nation-wide paramedic shortage. The Academy is an educational partnership between South Louisiana Community College, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and Acadian Ambulance.
"NEMSA was designed to offer a rewarding career path for students while addressing the large and constant shortage of emergency medical technicians. The goal was to provide a cost-effective educational opportunity to the general public where the end result produced high quality, fully competent, and caring paramedics," said Acadian CEO and Chairman Richard Zuschlag.
In 2005, NEMSA received the Lantern Award from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development for their work in alleviating the ongoing shortage of EMTs. The following year, the Academy achieved Organizational Accreditation status with the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for EMS; this accreditation confirms gold standard content material and is recognized by the National Registry of EMTs.
The largest EMS provider in the state and one of the largest in the country, NEMSA is one out of only four schools in Louisiana to have their paramedic program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
"NEMSA has developed into a world-class EMS training facility thanks to our exceptional, instructional staff," said Acadian Chief Medical Officer Dr. Charles Burnell. "With more than 100 years of educational experience, their abundance of knowledge is vital for our students to receive, and in turn, administer the best care possible to our patients."
Since its inception, NEMSA has remained on the forefront of cutting-edge technology. In 2010, Online NEMSA was introduced giving medics around the world access to first-class, EMS continuing education, through the World Wide Web. The Academy is part of a select few, EMS training providers in the U.S., accredited to present online content for recertification, accepted as live training credit hours, by state and national regulatory agencies. Managed by virtual instructor-led training, students and instructors are able to simultaneously view content and communicate in real-time, allowing medics to obtain all required continuing education credits from any location.
"The Academy has come a long way in the last 10 years and we have no signs of slowing down," said Burnell. "We're integrating a great deal of technology-based curriculum into our training regimen and moving towards a more online platform approach of teaching. We are currently collaborating with the LSU Continuing Dental Education program to develop content and curriculum to provide online dental education for dentists nationally and internationally."
NEMSA also offers external services to the general public and industry, such as CPR and Emergency Cardiac Care classes, and hosting EMS conferences.