Augusta Business Daily

Fri, September 22, 2023

Paid training leads to well-paying job

A local ambulance service is offering paid training for a position that pays $50,000 a year.

Gold Cross Emergency Medical Service is offering a three-week class to become certified as an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR).

EMR is a relatively new category in the field of emergency medical services. It was created as a result of staff shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Georgia just started allowing us to do this over a year ago, because COVID-19 just wreaked havoc with everybody, and there’s a huge shortage of healthcare and EMS too,” explained Col. John Smith, senior director of operations at Gold Cross. “This is allowing us to get people introduced to it. They get their feet wet, they like it, but can’t do any direct patient care.”

An EMR can do basic first aid, such as CPR, and they can drive an ambulance. That frees up higher trained individuals, such as basic and advanced Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and paramedics to focus on the patient. It doubles the number of ambulances they can operate.

“We have an EMR and “higher patch” (EMT or paramedic) so now, we have two trucks instead of just one truck,” said Smith. “So, would you rather have an ambulance with a “higher patch” and an EMR or would you rather not have the ambulance?”

The three-week class is eight hours a day in the morning at Gold Cross’ office on Wheeler Road.

“So, you learn the basics on anatomy, physiology, you check the blood pressure, things like that,” Smith said. “They’re still not allowed to do things like starting IV, but they could check blood sugar for diabetics.”

Not only is the class free, Gold Cross pays attendees an hourly wage during training.

“We’re looking for folks who maybe don’t have a job, or who maybe were employed, aren’t now and they can’t afford to pay for a class,” said Michael Meyers, director of business development and public relations. “We pay the people in class, minimum wage during class because they need something to live on.”

Once hired, the EMRs work the service’s normal schedule of 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off duty. It works out to no more than nine days a month.

Smith said the EMR position can be particularly inviting to individuals who have retired from the military, or civilians who are semi-retired, but still want to work a few days a month.

This is the second time Gold Cross has offered this training. The first class was held in late July.

The new session will begin on Monday, Sept. 25. The deadline to apply is Sept.18. Up to 20 students can be in a class.

Applicants must be 21 years old with a high school diploma or GED and have a valid Georgia driver’s license. You must provide a three-year motor vehicle record. Applicants must pass a background check and drug screenings, as well as pass a physical agility test. A two-year commitment to stay with Gold Cross is required.

To apply, visit Applicants can get more information by emailing with questions regarding the program or the EMS industry, in general, to help determine whether becoming an EMR is right for them.

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