Paramedic Program Accreditation and Individual Performance on the National Paramedic Certification Examination
Paramedic program accreditation and individual performance on the national paramedic certification examination were analyzed in this study. In 2008, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians mandated paramedic program accreditation by January 1, 2013. Contemporary literature has not addressed the impact of program accreditation on individual performance on national paramedic certification. Little is known about the difference in pass rates and theta values of graduates from accredited versus nonaccredited programs. The association between accreditation and the demographic composition of candidates is similarly unknown. Research questions examined the effects of accreditation on individual performance. Quantitative analysis of all graduates from paramedic programs (n = 8,404) in calendar year 2012 was conducted using Chi-square, independent t test, and logistic regression. Paramedics graduating from accredited programs outperformed their nonaccredited counterparts with higher pass rates and theta values. Graduates of paramedic programs performed significantly better in every clinical topic area than their nonaccredited peers. No statistical difference was found in reported race, ethnicity, or sex between groups. Graduates from accredited programs tended to be younger and reported higher levels of educational attainment than their nonaccredited counterparts. Recommendations include that prospective students seek out accredited paramedic programs and that programs consider expanding accreditation to the emergency medical technician and advanced emergency medical technician levels of emergency medical services initial education. The study finding supports social change in education as accreditation improved the quality of graduates.