Here's the short version of my question....is it worth looking into online paramedic programs or should I only consider campus based programs? I am currently employed full time in non Fire/EMS job and would want to be a private paramedic til I got enough experience for flight. My preference is to keep my day job and go to school full time online til I get picked up somewhere. But again, would employers even consider me if I went through online program?
The biggest problem with an online program is that it is outside the hands on aspect which really is the crux of such a field. While one can read about cells, systems, EKGs, blocks, rhythms, drugs, drug calculations, doses, etc, etc online, you miss out on doing such skills in person.
A big portion of a paramedic certification IS the hands on training and there IS a requirement to fulfill before taking a certification test. This means you have to do so many ER clinic setting hours, so many OR and intubations, So much time in pediatrics, cardiac, as well as ride time with a paramedic level service.
So really in the long run, if looking to go for paramedic, I seriously would consider campus based programs. Online program may be fine if you are looking to get a degree in paramedic, where you would be taking classes outside just paramedic, but if looking to obtain a paramedic certification, look towards a campus program. Yes, you may find yourself quite consumed with classes, but at least things are typically set up for you, such as clinicals, labs, and ride time.
I hold a Graduate Certificate of Management of Learning and also a Diploma of Training and Assessment Systems. I'm the Training Manager for my organisation. I manage the training for 1500 employees, across 282 sites, Australia wide.
The reality is, the use of on line delivery is becoming more and more prominent in the L&D world. It has significant merit.
We need to be mindful though, that elearning is not the answer to everything when it comes to training- some topics lend themself to this delivery mode really well, and others it doesn't.
There's absolutely no reason why it can't be used to teach a lot of the theory to Paramedic operations. The goal should never be to replace hands on training- the reality is there's a multitude of topics that can't be done online.
Blended learning is becoming the norm. I'd be questioning the ratio of online vs face-to-face for the program.
We also need to be mindful of adult learning styles. More and more will learn better with the use of technology, as oppossed to the traditional text books, etc. It doesn't make them any more or less qualified to do their role, it's simply how they've been trained and assessed.
I would agree with much of what Bz says here. I also see a benefit to electronic learning, blended education, etc, but only under the right circumstances. I really don't see those circumstances especially when it comes to the hands on training and skills needed for paramedic or firefighting.
Like I mentioned earlier, I can see the benefits of online courses if going towards a degree in paramedic in which one would have to take other classes in conjunction with the core courses. However, I really don't see much in the realms of theory to paramedic operations.
Now around my state, paramedic programs are very fast paced and those without some EMS experience find themselves at a disadvantage quickly. (Most programs require you to be an EMT-B first, but there are several who go to EMT-B one semester and right into paramedic) There are a couple schools offering an associates degree in paramedic, which really is the only area where I could see online learning being.
Most programs, paramedic is a one year certification program and fast paced. Classes may only be a couple days a week, but then there is significant clinical time and ride time. There are other programs that are 6 month, and even more faster paced. With online programs, there is a chance to control the pace of learning and the time you want to do work, but I see that as more of a hinderance in a fast paced, hands on program.
I would say there is a big difference between continuing education for online learning, vs online learning for the initial certification.
With continuing ed, you should have the basics down already and understand the scope of the training. Whereas when looking to obtain your core certification it is better to have that classroom/hands on interaction for initial courses.
The OP here was asking about initial certification training as opposed to continuing ed.
Get hands on in the classroom first then for continuing after on a dept use online for advancement when needed.