EMS management degree is one of only 13 like it in the U.S.

by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - EMS professionals now can earn a college degree in management through Oregon Tech and Oregon Health & Science University. Oregon Tech and Oregon Health & Science University are collaborating on a new degree program that aims to help current emergency medical services professionals make the leap into management and even ownership of EMS agencies. The educational partnership will be one of only 13 bachelor’s degree programs of its kind in the United States and the only one in Oregon. University officials said it will provide a direct route for both current and aspiring pre-hospital providers to gain the education and training needed for leadership position in EMS agencies.

“We are very proud to do our part in further professionalizing the EMS industry,” said program director Jamie Kennel.

The new EMS management degree features training in three core areas:

n Advanced clinical education in either pre-hospital critical care medicine or community care para-medicine

n Foundational training in general management principles

n Specific management training focused on the challenges and opportunities unique to the EMS industry.

The new program allows full-time EMS professionals to enroll in online or night classes or even a mix of online and face-to-face classes.

2014 brings will be the 20th year in EMS for Mike Verkest, training officer for American Medical Response in Multnomah County.

“I have worked in nearly all areas in the profession, EMT, intermediate, paramedic supervisor and my current role as the training officer for Oregon’s largest high performance EMS system,” Verkest said. “I have been in a leadership position the last 10 years, and its clear our role in health care is evolving before our very eyes. If you want to be ready to navigate whatever comes your way, the new BS degree in EMS management is an excellent option for paramedics to get ready to take on the challenges of an ever-changing health care world.”

Simply having field experience does not equate to quality leadership, he added.

“If you want to be a successful leader, consider this degree program,” he said.

For more information, visit or call program coordinator Deb Disko at 503-821-1146.

By Josh Kulla
Assistant Editor / Photographer
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