Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Emergency Medical Services and Paramedicine programs have earned reaccreditation by the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).

“The EMS programs are very challenging because students are usually working full-time and must learn so much information in one year,” said Nina Piatt, GNTC’s program director for Emergency Medical Services Technology. “Because it is so hard, I need to be the students’ biggest cheerleader and supporter.”

Piatt said she appreciates the challenges students face. She became program director in June 2021, taught additional classes as needed, expanded program offerings and demanded more than the bare minimum competency from students.

In August 2022, GNTC moved the Paramedicine program from the Floyd County Campus in Rome to the Gordon County Campus in Calhoun. Piatt said the move makes the program more centrally located for students in GNTC’s nine-county service area.

“We have simplified the admissions process to enter an EMS program,” Piatt said.

“We’ve accelerated the Paramedicine program so that students can earn their diploma without having to complete core classes so that they can enter the workforce sooner,” she said. “Because they are so close to meeting the degree requirements, many students decide to take the core classes so they can earn their associate degree in Paramedicine.”

The accelerated program also helps students to have a better work-life balance so that they do better in class, according to Sonya Alday, clinical coordinator and instructor of EMS at GNTC.

“The program is so demanding that if you aren’t 100 percent committed, you aren’t going to be successful,” Alday said.

Piatt and Alday said they constantly look for ways to keep students on their toes, engaged and motivated to stick with the rigorous program.

“We have to look at education outside the box,” Piatt said. “How do we teach technologically-driven high school graduates in the same classroom with older, non-traditional students?”

Piatt tells her students that they can never be overprepared for the kinds of emergencies they will encounter on an ambulance. GNTC has a fully-equipped ambulance that can be taken to any campus, and ambulance simulators in the classroom provide hands-on training.

If students need additional help, Piatt works closely with them to make sure they have the support they need.

“We should be building a network that helps EMS workers share their knowledge and experience with others in the field,” Piatt said. She and Alday mentor other EMS instructors.

Piatt’s goals include continuing to grow the program, meeting the EMS industry’s needs and evaluating where students are.

GNTC offers Advanced Emergency Technician (AEMT), Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Professions, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedicine programs. Students may earn an associate degree, diploma or certificate. 

The Paramedicine degree and diploma programs are offered at the Gordon County Campus. The AEMT certificate program is offered at the Floyd and Gordon County Campuses, as well as the Whitfield Murray Campus in Dalton. The EMT certificate program is offered at Floyd, Gordon and Whitfield Murray Campuses. The EMS Professions diploma program is offered at the Floyd and Gordon County Campuses.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma or a certificate in aviation, business, health, industrial or public service career paths. This past year, 11,601 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. GNTC has an annual credit enrollment of 8,071 students and an additional enrollment of 3,530 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.