EMT incentives look to combat staffing shortages

There's a nation-wide EMT shortage because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now most metro Atlanta EMS services are willing to pay you not just your typical wages, but also thousands of dollars worth of training to ensure they're adequately staffing communities.

"I almost drowned in a pool," Jack Roeser said. His coworkers joke about his "impeccable" memory.

"One of my current EMT instructors was a flight medic," he said. "I asked him if he worked out of Cartersville hospital. I asked if he had rescued a 4-year-old who had drowned in a pool. He said 'yes.'"

Roeser remembers that near-death experience— and recognized the first responder who saved his life while training at Central EMS in Roswell.

He's one of 33 emergency medical responders who received free training along with a job.

For the first time, the private ambulance company offers thousands of dollars worth of classes—for free.

It’s all to combat a nationwide EMT shortage from the coronavirus pandemic. Cobb County’s emergency system for example, encourages residents to only call 911 in case of true timely emergencies so as not to pull unnecessary resources.

"There's no student debt incurred to person," Central EMS Training manager Jonathan Walker said.

Central EMS provides training for entry level EMRS, like razor, EMTS and paramedics. Expect $15-$17 an hour starting out.

Central EMS EMTS and medics can make anywhere between $30,000-$45,000 annually.

The entire program is about two years, and they expect members of the team to complete a two-year contract in exchange for that free education.

"We're investing heavily, hopefully to help healthcare industry as a whole," he said.

To apply, head to centralems.com and click on "careers." 

Information about Cobb County's emergency services is available here.