Graduate Degress: Are They Worth It For EMS? by ProQuest


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									                                                                                 By Raphael M. Barishansky, MPH, & Skip Kirkwood, MS, JD, EMT-P, EFO, CMO

                                                            The leaders of tomorrow will need a lot of advanced
                                                            knowledge and the tools to solve a range of problems

In the May issue, we looked at the
importance of four-year college
degrees for EMS professionals.
This article examines the next
step—advanced degrees—for
those looking to move up in
the EMS world.

There’s a lot to consider when trying to figure out if pursuing
a graduate degree is the right path for you.

  That’s especially true for those in EMS. Many of us wonder        These are the folks to whom we sometimes point and say, “They
about the value of graduate education, and the impact it can        did it without degrees—why can’t I?” There are two answers to
have on our careers. Some typical questions are: What types of      this question.
graduate degrees are out there? What will a graduate degree           The first is that the original generation of EMS leaders was
help me achieve? Will it help advance my career? What will it       inventing modern EMS as they went along, and many grew up
teach me? Do I really need a graduate-level degree to succeed       within organizations and systems that could have done better
                                                                                                                                      The authors are featured
as a supervisor, manager or executive in the diverse world of       with some science and academics in the mix. The second is         speakers at EMS EXPO 2010,
EMS?                                                                that many of the early leaders in fact had academic credentials   Sept. 27–Oct. 1 at the Dallas
                                                                                                                                      Convention Center, Dallas, TX.
  Our industry is undergoing some profound changes right            to support their accomplishments—Jim Page, Jay Fitch, David        For more information, visit
now. The first generation of EMS executives is starting to retire.   Boyd, John Chew, Bill Brown, Walt Stoy, Gregg Margolis and

                                                                                          EMS JUNE 2010                  39

                Baxter Larmon come to mind, all with at least master’s degrees,       knowledge about our business. In many cases, important deci-
                and several with doctorates.                                          sions are based on things like anecdotal information, personal
                  EMS is now competing for scarce resources in a challenging          opinion, charisma and rhetorical skill. Sit and chat for a few
                environment—one where those who allocate resources demand             minutes, and you can probably come up with a whole menu of
                proof that money spent will result in an appropriate return. Proof    topics that cry out for good research. What deployment model is

                of value requires research, analysis and advocacy—skills learned
                only in the higher-education environment. If our industry is to
                effectively meet the challenges of the future, it will need leaders
                                                                                      most effective at delivering response performance? Do dynamic
                                                                                      deployment and streetcorner posting improve it? What is the
                                                                                      impact of that model on our line personnel? Does the size of the
                who can work effectively in environments where their “competi-        ambulance influence the delivery of patient care? What about
 a lot of       tors”—city, county and state department heads, program direc-         the health and safety of personnel? A graduate degree will help
work, and       tors, and other managers—possess graduate academic creden-            equip you to answer these questions and more.
                tials as a matter of course.
 it won’t         A graduate degree attests not only to knowledge of a specific        DEGREES TO CONSIDER
be easy.”       subject matter, but also to one’s commitment, tenacity and              Before you say, “That’s not for me!” consider the many degree
                dedication. It suggests that no matter what the degree is in,         options available.
                the holder has the ability to do research, think critically, write      • Master of Public Health (MPH) is often seen as a health-
                persuasively and understand and advocate for complex concepts         specific MBA, but that’s not the case. This degree is designed
                and processes.                                                        to educate the graduate student in the five core public health
                  The EMS community has a tremendous need for leaders. One            disciplines: health services administration/management, biosta-
                does not become a leader just through education, but having core      tistics, epidemiology, 
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