Volunteer firefighters who train to become emergency medical technicians at the National EMS Academy can receive a tuition reimbursement of up to $8,000 when they complete a two-year associate’s degree. This state-wide program, available to every volunteer department, utilizes the Louisiana State Firemen’s Association Tuition Reimbursement Program with assistance from Office of the State Fire Marshal.

“This is a great way of increasing our number of first responders in the state, while offering financial assistance with their education,” said National EMS Academy Director Kirk LaCour. “It gives them a jump start to beginning their career path in emergency and public services.”

Applicants are required to commit to serve two years with a Louisiana volunteer fire department as either a Firefighter 1 or EMS first responder, a certification that must be obtained—if it has not been already—within the first 12 months after being notified of a successful grant application. The student pays tuition up front, and the grant reimburses the tuition once the degree is acquired.

The National EMS Academy, in conjunction with South Louisiana Community College, teaches the EMT-Basic class over the course of one semester. This allows the applicant to meet the EMS first responder requirement of the grant in approximately three months. After obtaining EMT-Basic certification, interested students can then continue in the Associate of Science Paramedic Program. The applicant will begin by taking core education classes such as Anatomy and Physiology then entering into the actual Paramedic Program.

This process is beneficial to the student in several respects. First, as a volunteer fire fighter, the student is serving the community. Second, upon becoming licensed as an EMT-Basic, the student is eligible to work as an EMT-Basic for services such as Acadian Ambulance. More importantly, the National EMS Academy’s Paramedic degree program is designed to allow EMT-Basics to continue working standard 12-hour shifts with an ambulance service while working to obtain an Associate of Science Degree as a Paramedic.

NEMSA is a division of Acadian and offers entry-level, continuing education, and refresher courses for a number of EMS career pathways, including EMTs and paramedics. NEMSA is a nationally-accredited EMS training facility and an authorized American Heart Association Training Center for CPR and ECC courses.

Since 1971, Acadian has been committed to providing the highest level of emergency medical care and transportation possible. In the past decade, the company has expanded to include a diverse suite of services in health, safety, and transportation. Acadian’s six divisions are Acadian Ambulance Service, Acadian Monitoring Services, Air Med, Executive Aircraft Charter Service, National EMS Academy and Safety Management Systems.

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