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$1 Million In Tuition Assistance for EMS Professionals

February 21, 2024

The Shapiro administration today announced a new tuition assistance program to help recruit and retain emergency medical services (EMS) professionals.

The initiative comes as Pennsylvania and other states are focusing on efforts to grow the EMS workforce. The American Ambulance Association’s survey indicated turnover rates from 6 percent to 36 percent, with rates varying by role.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • About:  The Department of Health program is funded from the Fireworks Tax Act for the next three years. Reimbursement is available on a first come, first served basis.
  • Who’s eligible?:   Applicants must be Pennsylvania residents who obtained a Pennsylvania state certification as an emergency medical responder (EMR), emergency medical technician (EMT), advanced emergency medical technician (AEMT), or paramedic after July 1, 2023.
  • Amounts:  Award amounts are up to $300 for EMRs; $800 for EMTs; $1,000 for AEMTs; and $5,000 for paramedics.
    • Licensed state EMS agencies can receive up to $1,250 per fiscal year for recruitment and retention initiatives.
  • By the numbers:  EMS agencies respond to nearly 24 million 911 calls annually in Pennsylvania, state leaders said.
  • Quotable:  “Emergency medical services professionals are an essential part of the health care system,” said Dr. Debra Bogen, acting secretary of health. “Knowing that you will have well-trained and qualified individuals arriving to your door 24/7 in the event of an emergency is a safeguard that we want for all Pennsylvanians.”

In a new HAP report released last month, rural hospital executives from across the state identified access to EMS providers as a key concern. Underfunded EMS services struggle to meet demand, especially in rural communities the report said.

“EMS systems with varying levels of local funding and operating capacity impact rural hospitals’ ability to effectively manage both emergency services and post-acute transportation needs,” the report said.

Additional information about where to apply for the new state program is available online.