On the first try, 84 percent of graduates of College of the Mainland’s EMT-Basic graduates passed the state exam, and 80 percent of EMT-Intermediate graduates passed, exceeding the average first-time pass rates for Texas. 

After completing the one-semester courses, students must pass the test to receive the state certificate.

“We’re thrilled. It’s very rewarding,” said Julianne Duncan, EMS Program director and instructor. “Unlike other national standard exams in other fields, the national registry has some of the lowest pass rates.”

A key to students’ success in exams is the COM patient assessment roadmap, which helps students visualize the steps to assessing a patient. Duncan and others created the pictorial roadmap to help students instantly recall the multistep process.

“Many of our students come back to us after the fact and say that was the key,” she said.

The courses’ methods are hands on and interactive.

“We really go outside the bounds of conventional classroom instruction,” said Duncan.

Students examine animal organs, compare household chemicals to unfamiliar ones, have a field day to practice responding to emergencies and examine simulated wounds.

“It’s reaffirming that our methods, though unconventional, are successful,” Duncan said.

Students’ success in the test and on the job motivates their instructors.

“At the end of the day, we are in this for the same reason. By my being an instructor every patient or family member that my students touch I’ve had a part in,” said Duncan.