Jeff Patterson took a CPR class in school when he was just thirteen years old. At seventeen, a friend’s father encouraged him to join the local rescue squad, so he went out for a ride-along. After that, “I was hooked.”

Patterson started taking classes at UVM after high school, but life got in the way. Eventually, knowing a degree would help him advance his career, he started school again, this time at CCV. He took Assessment of Prior Learning, a one-semester course that offers college credit for knowledge and skills gained in the workplace, in the military, or through volunteerism. For his years of experience in emergency medical services, he earned 83 college credits.

Patterson graduated from CCV in 2017 with a degree in STEM Studies. Today, he’s a critical care flight paramedic for the University of Vermont Health Network’s Critical Care Transport team. He says his CCV degree made him more marketable for new positions and opportunities within the UVMMC organization, and it also gave him confidence. “[My degree] was something that I had been working on and self-conscious about in this industry…it’s always hard to admit when you didn’t have a degree. Now I don’t have to do that, and I’ll continue to work toward my bachelor’s and possibly master’s after this.”

“The best thing about my job is I get to help people,” Patterson says. “I’ve wanted to be involved in the flight medicine aspect since I joined EMS in 1998. It’s a continual challenge, there’s always new things to learn, new diseases, as we’re seeing now with coronavirus. And in this field we’re specialized in emergency and critical care but we deal with neonatal through adult patients, and every disease process in between, so there’s never a lack of opportunity to learn something new or get better at what you do.”

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