5 CoAEMSP Accreditation Tips: Don’t Get Dinged!By Rachael Rosen

April 9, 2014

Paramedic accreditation CoAEMSPWe don’t want to dwell too much on the negative, but we think it’s helpful to share some of the more common CoAEMSP citations so you can work to avoid them.

1. Program Directors Must Have a Bachelor’s Degree

It’s a requirement that all program directors must, at a minimum, have a bachelor’s degree. This is non-negotiable. At one time, the CoAEMSP was granting some leniency for people who had contacted them about completing a bachelor’s well before the January 1, 2013 deadline for becoming accredited. (This is the date that the NREMT began enforcing the stipulation that paramedic candidates could only take the Registry exam if they had graduated from an accredited program.) At this point in time, though, this appears to be a firm standard.

2. Medical Director Involvement

Dr. George Hatch has a fondness for the expression “milk carton medical director.” This refers to a medical director, who, if you held up a picture of him/her to the students, they wouldn’t know who that missing person was. In other words, an absent medical director who is not involved.  

If you don’t think your students would be able to pick their medical director out of a crowd, see what steps you can take to bring the medical director into the classroom or run a scenario.

While you’re at it, be sure you can provide documentation of the medical director reviewing your exams and curriculum.

3. Sponsorship Agreement

This doesn’t impact everyone, but if you’re an independent or private paramedic program, you will need to solidify some type of sponsorship agreement with an accredited institution.  According to the CoAEMSP Standards and Guidelines document, a “sponsoring institution must be at least one of the following, and must either  award credit for the program or have an articulation agreement with an accredited post-secondary institution:  This is a college, university, community college, junior college that is accredited by a regional or national institutional accrediting body.” (I. A)

The goal here is to ensure that students who complete a paramedic program will receive academic credit for their coursework.

When it comes to sponsorship, this can quickly become a gray area. Best to talk to the CoAEMSP early for those case-by-case types of questions.

4. Preceptor Training

It’s imperative that you offer some kind of formalized training for your preceptors--especially the field internship preceptors. The training should include the basics of what it means to be a good role model, how you want the preceptors to evaluate your students, and your program’s policies.

The CoAEMSP acknowledges that this may be more challenging in the hospital environment, and they recommend at least making provisions for keeping a copy of up-to-date policy and contact information in the nurses’ station.

5. Pediatric Engagement

If your students aren’t getting enough pediatric patient contacts, this could become an issue with the CoAEMSP. Why not get creative? Do you have kids? Do your friends or neighbors have kids? Invite children of all ages to attend class for lab so your students can practice assessments and become comfortable with what healthy children of different ages look like so your students are better prepared to identify kids who are sick. Another idea would be to send your students to a local daycare.

The CoAEMSP recently released new interpretations to the Standards and Guidelines that says 0 and 1 are not acceptable goals for pediatric patient contacts. An acceptable minimum is 2, however, and Fisdap has updated our goal sets to reflect these interpretations (III.A.2.).


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