Health & Human Services

Emergency Medical Services

EMS Frequently Asked Questions

How long has Cowley had a paramedic program?
We started the program in 1996; our first class of 13 graduated in December, 1997.

How many students are in the typical paramedic class when it starts?
We try to keep the class size limited to only 20 students.

Is Cowley a large college?
We are one of the largest community colleges in Kansas and growing each year.

Are there job opportunities for your graduates?
There is a shortage of paramedics in the region, state and nation. Our graduates are preferentially hired by local EMS/FD employers.

Do your graduates pass the National Registry examinations?
The Cowley paramedic graduates have a better than 98% pass rate with that examination.

Is your program difficult?
Yes it is. We have high expectations for the students and ourselves. It is even more difficult when students choose (or must) work full-time while completing the program.

How many credit hours is your program?
Students complete at least 18 hours of prerequisites, 54 hours of paramedic classes and 5 non-credit certification classes (ACLS, AMLS, PALS/PEPP, PHTLS & NRP).

Do you have a selective admission policy?
Yes we do. Please visit here for more information.

If I have decided to apply to the Cowley program, when should I send my application?
You should send your application as soon as you are sure that Cowley is the place for your paramedic education. We start the admission process in late summer and fall each year.

How long is your paramedic program?
We have both 12 and 14 month classes.

When do the programs start?
We start a new 12 month class each January and a new 14 month class every other June.

Do your faculty have EMS experience and are they qualified to teach?
All the faculty have EMS experience and all are talented educators. We carefully select our paramedic adjunct faculty. You can meet them here.

When does the class meet?
During the didactic sessions of the 12 month paramedic program (spring semester), students should expect to meet 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Clinicals will occur during the summer while the field internship shall be conducted during the fall. The last 2 weeks of the class will be spent in the classroom preparing for the National Registry examination.

Start dates for the 14 month programs are alternated every June. The first two semesters will be spent in the classroom where students meet 2 times a week (ex. Monday and Wednesday, 5-10 PM). During the fall semester, students will complete the clinical portion of the program. Field internship will be conducted in the fall semester and should end in January. The last 2 weeks of the class will be spent in the classroom preparing for the National Registry examination.

Where does the program meet?
The 12 month program is taught at the Winfield Allied Health Education Center and 14 month program is taught at Butler Community College at the Andover campus. The 14 month online/hybrid program is taught in partnership with Neosho County Community College and Flint Hills Technical College, with skills and simulation training done at the Winfield Campus.

Can I attend the program and still work?
Yes you can though it may be very difficult. If you must work full time, we suggest that you may want to strongly consider the 14 month class schedule. Also, many EMS or FD organizations will help the students with their work schedules. Other students scale back their employment to part time status.

What's the deal with the criminal record checks?
Hospitals that have Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accreditation require criminal background checks on all students, faculty or staff who enter these facilities. This will be fully explained when the program starts. Essentially, it inhibits people convicted of crimes against persons from completing the paramedic program because they cannot successfully complete the clinical portion of the class. For more information on background checks, click here.

What are the program prerequisites?
Prospective students must take at least 18 hours of prerequisites before entering the paramedic program. Students must have at least A&P and English composition, however, it is recommended that all prerequisites are completed before entering the program.

Must I have college credit hours for my EMT class?
No. Students are required to be an EMT (or just finishing the EMT class and later gain certification). Cowley simply requires the EMT certification; students do not have to have college credit hours for their previous EMT class.

Do you have a nationally accredited program?
Yes. The Cowley College Paramedic Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).Their website explains the benefits of attending a nationally accredited program.

Do you offer paramedic specific scholarships and financial aid?
Yes we do offer paramedic scholarships and the college has a fine financial aid staff who can help you with your needs. Many students have benefited from scholarships and financial aid assistance.

Will I be able to deal with all the blood?
Only you will be able to answer that one. Fortunately, only a small percentage of EMS calls involve the gore and horror found in television land. Also, students generally know if EMS work is their thing when taking the EMT class.

Can I take the EMT class and enter the paramedic program before being 18 years old?
Yes you can (we have had one student do this), though you cannot get the National Registry test results until you are 18 years of age. You must also complete the prerequisites before you enter the program.

How much does it cost to complete the Cowley paramedic program?
This will vary upon where each student completes their prerequisite classes. Once the student enters the paramedic program, students can expect a reasonably priced education.

As I complete the prerequisites or once I enter the program, who will be my college advisor?
Chris Cannon, Department Chair, will act as your advisor before you enter the program -- just ask that he is your advisor. He will remain your advisor if you enter the 12 month paramedic program. If you enter the 14 month paramedic program, the Lead Paramedic Instructo will be your advisor. If you wish to change, simply contact us.

Is any portion of the program online?
The Cowley Blackboard learning management system is used extensively throughout the paramedic program to post presentations, homework assignments, and quizzes. We also have an iTunes University page for the program where you can download podcasts of lectures. During hospital clinicals and field internship you will utilize the FISDAP online documentation software. An external website is also used for NREMT exam preparation.

Can I enroll online for classes at Cowley?
For information on how to enroll online click here.

Where can I find information about when EMS and healthcare classes are offered?
You can find this information online for all EMS and healthcare classes (select semester & emergency medical services or health related).

Because funding higher education in Kansas has become an issue, will your program continue and do you have adequate equipment to support the curriculum?
Our college fully supports the program and plans to continue with that level of support. In 2005, we added another full-time paramedic instructor, established the Allied Health Education department, remodeled the Winfield Center and added other full-time staff to assist us. Obviously, the EMS faculty attempt to be frugal whenever possible, and we firmly believe that instructional support for paramedic training shall not be diminished. If you have not visited the EMS division in Winfield, we suggest you view our facility, equipment and supplies; a quick visit will help you understand our college support.

Do you accept paramedic or EMT-P transfer students?
No. Occasionally, we have EMS students who wish to transfer to our paramedic program because of issues in their current program at another school or because of other reasons. Unfortunately, we do not accept these students.

Do you offer the RN to Paramedic or Paramedic to RN bridge programs?
We have ascertained the need for the RN to Paramedic bridge class and found that few wanted this class. As such, we have placed this program on hold. We have partnered with Pratt Community College to teach their RN program at the Winfield campus. Pratt offers an Paramedic to RN bridge program. If interested, please contact the Department Chair for more information.

Why do you have a paramedic program?
There are many reasons but primarily because we wanted to provide this level of EMS education and training to meet the needs of the students and healthcare community. We continue teaching it because we know that our program is one of excellence and that we make a difference.