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AMR to offer free EMT job training for women

March is National Women's History Month, where we celebrate the achievements of women. While women have made strides in medical fields nationally, they still make up only about one-third of all emergency medical technicians. As KPBS reporter Alexander Nguyen shows us, a new program by the region’s largest ambulance transport company is looking to change that.

Ambulance provider AMR announced that it is providing free emergency medical technician training to women this fall at Miramar College and is offering to hire those who complete the program.

As part of its "Earn While You Learn" program, AMR will cover student cadets' tuition and book costs, and pay them for the hours they attend class, the company said Wednesday.

Cadets will also be eligible for dental, medical, vision and 401K benefits.


AMR will hire those who complete the program and pass a national EMT exam, the company said.

A year ago, before becoming an EMT, Judith Ramirez worked three jobs as a single mother to support her daughter.

What changed Ramirez's life trajectory was the “Earn While You Learn" training academy.

"(It) allowed me to go back to school and pursue a career that has been very rewarding to me," she said. "And it allowed me to go to school and just not have that extra burden of financial — that financial burden."

Carlos Valdez Acosta-Meza, an AMR operations manager, said March is Women's History Month and the right time to launch the training program.


"Women play a critical role in the field of emergency medical services, including here at AMR," Acosta-Meza said. "This academy will help put more women on a promising and rewarding career path while bolstering the ranks of female EMTs and paramedics in the San Diego region."

Nationally, only 30% to 40% of EMTs are women.

“Women obviously can empathize and understand more women emergencies — more female emergencies,” said Hanna Petersen, a supervisor at AMR. "Being able to quickly understand, quickly pick up on certain things as a female definitely matter in a very short amount of time."

Cadets will learn various EMT skills, including driving an ambulance, delivering a baby, performing CPR, using an automated external defibrillator and administering an EpiPen, according to AMR.

When not attending class, cadets will shadow AMR paramedics and EMTs sent to actual emergencies across the county and be paid for that time as well.

Although there have been two other academies over the past year, AMR said this will be the first all-female academy it has sponsored.

Women wishing to attend the academy may request an application at

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