National EMS Educator Credentialing
Developing competent EMS graduates requires the continued evolution of dedicated educators who are knowledgeable in educational methodology and critical thinking. To complete the components of the EMS Education for the Future: A Systems Approach and the EMS Agenda for the Future there is a need to develop a standard for the EMS educator.
The National EMS Educator Certification, Inc. (NEMSEC) offers a valid and reliable credentialing examination that verifies mastery of cognitive instructional methodology. This article will provide an overview of the history, requirements for credentialing, current activities and how to become a Nationally Credentialed EMS Educator (NCEE).
Why Do We Need National Educator Certification?
Soon after the release of the EMS Education for the Future: A Systems Approach and the EMS Agenda for the Future, a group of well-known EMS subject matter experts (SME), and National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) members, had a vision of advancing the standard of competence for EMS educators worldwide. They began the intensive work of defining competence, blueprinting, test item writing and psychometric analysis based upon the 2002 National EMS Instructor curriculum. With the assistance and endorsement of NAEMSE, these pioneers formed NEMSEC and began credentialing EMS educators.
Since the administration of the first examination in 2006 at the NAEMSE Symposium, many instructors across the nation have been successful with the credentialing process and are able to place “NCEE” credentials after their name. The credential is valid for a period of three years and is renewable by documentation of teaching activities, attending education in adult learning and submission of the recertification fee.
There are many reasons why an educator should take the exam, both intrinsically and extrinsically. Intrinsically, participation in the credentialing process motivates an individual to set themselves apart in the field of education. Further, professional development is also an attractive addition to a performance evaluation. An extrinsic motivation could come from a college or educational institution requiring all affiliated instructors to obtain this credential, thus making their program more attractive to prospective students who are exploring multiple program options.
Additionally, proactive EMS education programs wishing to revise their curriculum to meet compliance with the aforementioned white papers may use this process to complete the recommended components.
Organizational Structure and Vision
While the NEMSEC Board of Directors (the Board) continues to meet in person twice yearly, they also hold a conference call on a monthly basis to continue the work of item writing, pilot testing new questions and continued testing analysis. Further, the Board is undergoing the process of obtaining accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The NCCA helps to ensure the health, welfare and safety of the public through the accreditation of a variety of individual certification programs that assess professional competency. The NCCA uses a peer review process to:
- Establish accreditation standards
- Evaluate compliance with the standards
- Recognize programs which demonstrate compliance
- Serve as a resource on quality certification
The Board’s vision continues to burn brightly to provide a nationally recognized examination that can endure psychometric scrutiny and provide consistent credentialing standards worldwide. This credentialing process is designed to confirm mastery cognition in educational methodology based upon the 2002 National EMS Education curriculum. NEMSEC’s ambitious goal for 2012 is to credential twice as many instructors as in the past.
The examination consists of 100 multiple choice questions with a two-hour time limit. Exams are held throughout the nation and NEMSEC is always looking for organizations willing to host the examination. Board members have administered the examination at state and national EMS conferences, the NAEMSE Symposium, individual organizations and at NAEMSE instructor courses. A requirement for hosting an examination is providing a facility that offers a quiet, comfortable testing environment with sufficient seating for the number of registered candidates. Local advertising is also appreciated to increase enrollment. A testing representative will take care of proctoring the examinations and submitting them for scoring. Test results are usually received within three to four weeks.
If you are already credentialed as an NCEE and are interested in participating in item writing, NEMSEC is looking for additional subject matter experts to expand its database of valid questions. Please contact NEMSEC to participate in this process. Additionally, NEMSEC would like to challenge credentialed educators to encourage and mentor three other EMS instructors to participate in the credentialing process.
The triad of nationally registered providers, CoAEMSP-accredited programs and Nationally Credentialed EMS Educators now provides a comprehensive approach to improving the quality of our graduates and advancement of our profession.
Read more about NEMSEC at www.nemsec.org, including a first-hand experience in becoming credentialed from Angel Burba. To schedule a local examination, contact Laura Krawchyk in the NAEMSE office at 412/343-4775. Future examinations will be posted on the NEMSEC website. To view prerequisites designated for examination eligibility, download the testing application or recertification application, visit our website and join our group at Twitter (@nemsec), LinkedIn (NEMSEC) or Facebook (National EMS Educator Certification NEMSEC).
If you are not NCEE credentialed, please consider doing so as your professional development for 2012. In the words of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.” Will we see you at a credentialing exam soon?
Lindi Holt, PhD, NCEE, NREMT-P, is an NEMSEC board member.