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Calling all high school students interested in a career as an EMT

Student lying down acting as a patient for EMT students to evaluate
Nassau BOCES GC Tech students from Patrick DeCanio’s a.m. EMT class make a hands-on presentation about wound care and how to stop bleeding with direct pressure.

“I wanted to come to Nassau BOCES GC Tech for its EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) class because it is the only program this complex. There are layers to this class that no one can match. It is truly one of a kind,” says Michael Watson, East Rockaway UFSD senior and GC Tech EMT student.  

In its first year as a stand-alone class, offered at Nassau BOCES GC Tech at the Gerald R. Claps Career and Technical Education Center in Levittown, the EMT course boasts that 7 of its 8 students have already passed the practical portion of the state test and now qualify to take the written portion of the exam. Previously, the course was offered only as an extension of the Police Science class, which resulted in 6 certified EMTs last year.

That’s great news according to one of the course instructors, retired NYPD Sergeant and EMT, Robert MacKay who says, “There is a major need for EMTs in New York State.” MacKay has come out of retirement to help teach the class along with Patrick DeCanio. Both are held in high regard by their students. 

“My teachers, Mr. DeCanio and Mr. MacKay have been EMTs and have more experience than probably double the years I’ve been alive. They know what it takes to be an EMT. They challenge us every day, and that’s what makes us better,” says Watson. 

The EMT course is a two-year track that teaches the basics and prepares students for the NYS CFR and EMT-B certifications. Students learn how to respond to emergency calls and provide efficient and immediate care to the critically ill or injured, and how to transport the patient to a medical facility. EMTs also drive ambulances and observe traffic ordinances and regulations that are required knowledge when dispatched to a medical emergency. 

After completing the course, students may come away with certifications in:  

  • Certified First Responder (CFR) 
  • Emergency Medical Technician (Basic) 
  • Hazardous Materials Operations 
  • Coaching the Emergency Vehicle Operator 
  • NYS Security Guard

“Lecture days are good, of course, but I feel like when I get to work hands-on, that is where I master my skills,” says Watson. “The labs are intense, very serious and exactly what you need to pass the state exam.” 

For success in this class, students must be able to deal with stressful situations and have strong verbal, reading, social communication and problem-solving skills. 

Course topics include:  

  • Body substance isolation techniques 
  • Identifying dangerous situations 
  • Patient assessment for both trauma and media emergencies 
  • Administration of medications 
  • Triage of patients 
  • Communications skills 
  • CPR and cardiac emergencies 
  • Preventing and correcting patients in shock 
  • Splinting and bandaging injuries 
  • Assisting in emergency childbirth 

For more information about the EMT course at Nasau BOCES GC Tech and to hear more of Michael Watson’s story visit: