The Continuing Education Department of Navarro College Waxahachie campus has prided itself on maintaining a level of academic excellence when it comes to the paramedic, emergency medical technician (EMT), fire and police academy programs.

Throughout the years the department has seen a tremendous amount of growth in these areas and are taking strides to make it even better than before.

One of the areas of concentration has been the paramedic program. Staff members wanted to see this program excel and go to the next level.

Emergency Medical Services Program Coordinator Chris Waller said in order for that to happen they needed to become accredited. He said it is not only a requirement of the state, but allows them to adequately meet the needs of the students.

“Without accreditation our students wouldn’t be able to become certified paramedics or EMTs,” Waller said. “This allows us to keep sending our students to be tested and ensure their future in these fields.”

The Navarro College paramedic program received accreditation in July from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

He said the entire process took them about a year and wouldn’t have been possible without the help of paramedic coordinators from surrounding colleges such as Blinn and Tarrant County College.

“Those guys came in as friends and looked over all of our files,” Waller said. “They helped us out in area and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

The accreditation is not the only thing taking the paramedic program to the next level.

Waller said adding EMS Program Associate Coordinator Bill Evans and EMS Clinical Coordinator Dyann Tobar to his staff has allowed his team to be more effective in the classroom.

“We all work well together in the classroom,” he said. “Bill is excellent at organization and has great supervisory experience. Dyann has been around for a while, and having her as a student was like having another teacher in the class.”

Tobar graduated from the paramedic program at Navarro College Waxahachie campus and later became a tutor. Waller likened Tobar’s transition from student to teacher to taking a set of stairs.

“She has taken the necessary steps to put herself in the position she is now in,” he said. “It was liked she walked right into it and we aren’t going to let her go. She’s stuck with us.”

Tobar said she has felt at home since taking her very first paramedic class, and that teaching is something she’s always wanted to do.

“Teaching comes natural to me,” Tobar said. “I started out tutoring some of the students and this just seemed like the next step in the process.”

Tobar said her main goal is to facilitate the students through their clinical experience.

“My job is to help them make the most of their clinical experience and to love what they do,” she said. “The students and the people I work with has made this a great experience.”

As far as Waller’s and Evans’ relationship is concerned, Waller said making Evans his assistant seemed like the natural thing to do.

“We’ve known each other a long time,” Waller said. “Bill has been a paramedic instructor here since 2007. He knows the standards we try to maintain and his strengths are going to take us even higher.”

Waller said registration for the two fall EMT classes has officially started and the spots are limited.

“Those classes are filling up fast so anyone wanting to register for them should do so in a hurry,” he said. “Also, our new paramedic program begins Aug. 27.”

The two EMT classes will rotate between two day classes and three night classes. The day classes will be on Monday and Wednesday with the night classes taking place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

For more information about the paramedic program or any classes being offered through the continuing education department, call 972-937-7612 or visit navarrocollege.edu.

Follow Melissa on Facebook.com/MelissaCadeWDL. Contact her at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@waxahachietx.com.