June 09, 2022

“Coming to Century College was an easy decision.  I knew from other paramedics that Century had the best program in the state, and one of the only ones.”

Joseph Chavez had been a EMT for four years before jumping into his paramedic training.  Service and a desire to help others has always been part of his DNA.  Early on in his life, he knew he wanted to be in the military or serve as a firefighter or police officer.

A Life of Service

 Prior to becoming an EMT, Joseph served in the military for three years,  He’s committed to professional improvement, and enjoys helping others improve, too. As a field training officer for M Health Fairview, he trained new EMTs on the job. “I really enjoyed that as a side gig,” Joseph remembers. “It was exciting.”  

A recent graduate of Century College’s paramedic program, he’s currently working with Falck Ambulance Company in Seattle as a paramedic.  He enjoys his work, and in the future, may get flight certified to provide critical care on board helicopters.

The Importance of Education

“I’m always trying to learn something new, even if it’s not related to my job,” Joseph notes. “Education offers opportunities on a bigger scale in your life, and it opens doors.”

Joseph completed his General Education courses and got his AA degree at Century College.  “This will open up opportunities for more education,” he says. “And, if you have a good formal education, you can go anywhere.” 

Support from Century College’s Veterans Services

When Joseph was looking at joining the Paramedic program at Century College, the Office of Veterans Services staff was key in helping him get started. “They assisted with the process of applying and walking me through everything necessary to get me registered for school, and I was able to use the G.I. bill to finance my education,” Joseph says. “And the Vets Services team was good on checking in, following up, and seeing if we needed anything.” 

Outstanding Student Award in the Paramedic Program

Joseph compares Century College’s Paramedic program to his training in the military, which could be demanding and mentally exhausting at times. “There’s a firehose of information coming at you all at once. Yet it’s fun and exciting, too,” he observes. ”And I met a lot of good people–students and faculty,”

While the paramedic program is exhausting at times, he was able to slip away with his wife and his dog, and have fun on weekends. In this field, it’s critical to have a good support system, and to be able to step away and decompress.

While the paramedic cohort had a class captain, Joseph took on role of class lieutenant, helping his classmates deal with stress, checking in with them, and making sure they were okay. “It helps when you know you’re not alone,” he adds. “It definitely helped to go through the program with the same student cohort – it bonded students, and they realized they were not alone in going through a tough program.”

For his hard work, and commitment to serving others, Joseph recently received the 2022 Outstanding Student Award. “It was a bit of a surprise,” he notes. “I didn’t think it would be me–I thought many others deserved it, but I was excited and appreciative.  It meant a lot.”

High-Demand Field

Working as a paramedic in a high-demand field means there are currently plenty of jobs. “The Century College faculty have so many contacts in the field.  If they know of job availabilities for which you qualify, they will put in a good word for you,” Joseph says. 

The field has also changed, due to the pandemic.  “It feels a lot different now—call volumes have gone up, and the ERs are fuller.  Sometimes we  have to take on more transfers, and there has been some amount of turnover in the field, due to new challenges.  However, you plan for it, like other disasters, and you’re ready,” Joseph adds.

Advice for New Students

Joseph offers the following advice for students who are new to the paramedic field. “If you have no experience, be sure to get EMT experience, and make sure you want to go in that direction. The paramedic route requires more intense training.  Talk to those in the field, and make sure you’re in a good spot to do it, workwise and life-wise.  If you are, give it a try!

“If you DO have an EMS/EMT background, then Century College is the way to go.  It’s an intensive program, but the instructors are very supportive.  They try to bring in things thar are not common across the board.  The faculty are a great bunch of instructors. They’re what make it one of the best programs in Minnesota.“ 


Learn more about Century College