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Live! From inside the classroom — EMS

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In this series, we provide a closer look at hands-on learning during COVID-19.

While COVID-19 means online learning for most Tidewater Community College students, some are back in the classroom for hands-on training. In fact, more than 400 sections of classes in interior design, automotive, health professions, welding, veterinary technology, culinary arts, visual arts, electronics technology and other programs have on-campus components. 

A peek inside an Emergency Medical Services classroom

Tidewater Community College’s EMS classrooms located inside the Regional Health Professions Center are not your average classrooms. You will find TCC’s own ambulance, stretchers, training mannequins and other real-world tools for hands-on instruction.

About the program

TCC’s associate degree program in EMS prepares students to serve on the frontlines of health care. Graduates work in areas such as hospitals, fire and rescue departments, military, volunteer services, nursing homes, sports organizations and other fields that require emergency services. The five-semester program is largely based on the Virginia Beach Campus. Registered nurses and paramedics can earn a Career Studies Certificate in Critical Care in just two semesters.

Yes, TCC has its own ambulance!

Student voices

“It feels good to be back, mainly because I have good instructors,” — Jessica Marks, an Accelerated Paramedic student. “I like how before the semester started, they had a game plan for us. It made it easier for us, and everything now seems normal.” 

“It feels great to be back! I hated online classes, so it’s nice to be back in action. I enjoy the individual attention you can get right now with the small classes. I love that TCC offers classes that other colleges don’t, like this program.” — Ryan Cotton

Student Jessica Marks practices delivering a baby.

“I feel like I’m learning a lot more being back; it feels good. The technology that TCC has for learning is my favorite,” — Ricky Perrault.

About the professor

DJ Rathbone also works at a local fire department. “I really like having the hands-on approach to helping teach the EMTs and paramedics. It is nice being on the street knowing that they learn from me and my peers,” Rathbone said. “The flexibility is my favorite thing working for TCC. I work for the fire department, so it’s great to have that flexible schedule.” 

Instructor DJ Rathbone

“We are happy to be back providing the education to send people to the frontlines to continue battling COVID,” said Jason Ambrose, EMS program director.

Good to know

All of the instructional assistants work in the field. “We are all still riding the ambulances and seeing patients daily,” Rathbone said.

More information

Contact Audrey Pine for information on any EMS program at or 757-822-7445.