Continuing Ed. & Tuition Reimbursement
By Norm Rooker
Looking for quality continuing education, a tax deductible vacation and a way to have the City defray some of the expense? Last June 11, present and past SFFD medics attended the EMS EXPO, EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES Magazine’s annual educational conference in New Orleans. Our group of 11 intrepid medics interacted with over 3300 of their brother and sister first responders, EMTs, Paramedics and other EMS practitioners from across the US and numerous other countries in an exchange of information, hospitality and serious exploration of the sights, sounds and numerous other pleasures of “The Big Easy”.

Because paramedics are required to obtain at least 72 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain their paramedic licenses, all expenses incurred for obtaining CE are tax deductible. Expenses such as tuition, materials, mileage, other travel expenses and lodging are fully deductible. 50% of all your meals, entertainment and libations are also deductible.

So what’s upcoming in the EMS CE/vacation horizon?

The Wilderness Medical Society is holding a 3 day conference entitled WILDERNESS & TRAVEL MEDICINE FOR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDERS September 28 - 30 at the Sheraton North Shore in San Diego. Nineteen workshops broken down in four broad sections are presented by some of the leading authorities on the topics. The sections are: Wilderness Trauma, Thermal Injuries, Travel Medicine: Wilderness Comes To You and High-Altitude Medicine.

Tuition for WILDERNESS & TRAVEL MEDICINE FOR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDERS is $225 for EMTs & Paramedics and hotel room rates at the Sheraton North Shore are $119/night. For more information on this conference you can visit the Wilderness Medical Society’s Web Site at or call them at 1-800-800-6819.

The National Association of EMTs will be holding their annual educational conference, OUTLOOK 2001 at the Reno Hilton October 16-20. Over 21 workshops will be presented on a wide range of topics. Conference fees are $225 for NAEMT members ($240 sign up at the door) and $275 for non-members ($290 at the door.) There is a formal awards banquet Saturday Evening for $35/person.

Additionally, NAEMT will be offering a number of pre-conference workshops for an additional fee. These include NAEMT’s AMLS, Advanced Medical Life Support course ($200), a Pre Hospital Pediatric Care Rollout ($200) and Sick/Not Sick: A True Guide to Rapid Patient Assessment for Adult and Pediatric Patients ($149). For more information on OUTLOOK 2001 go to the NAEMT web site at or call them at 1-800-346-2368.

Next year, the NAEMT and EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES Magazine will be combining their conferences. OUTLOOK 2002 will be held next October in the music city, Nashville, TN.

So how does one go about getting the department to defray some of the costs for CE? Easy, by filing a Tuition Reimbursement request. Every member of the department is eligible for the city’s Tuition Reimbursement program. H-1s, H-2s, H-3s (and all the other Hs) are eligible for $250 and 2532s are eligible for up to $500 per fiscal year. (July 1 - June 30th.) (Getting the Tuition Reimbursement amount raised might be an item for our next contract.)

In theory Tuition Reimbursement forms are supposed to be available at your work site but can be obtained from Rose Chew at the Civil Service Building at 44 Gough St. Simply contact her at (415) 557-4912 and arrange for her to leave some forms in your name at the front reception desk. When you have them in hand, please make photo copies for your coworkers at your station.

Fill out the form several months in advance of the requested CE. Attach a copy of the conference or CE announcement to the form and sign it.

For paramedic CE submit the completed form to your Rescue Captain on up the chain to EMS Section Chief McCallion. After Chief McCallion signs off on it, he forwards it to SFFD HQ where it is signed off/blessed and then forwarded on to Ms. Chew at Employee Staff Development. Hence the long lead time.

For other rescue, suppression, professional development type course work, submit your tuition reimbursement form through your company officer on up the chain. Which ever type of workshop, conference, college course, etc. you apply for, it must be job related.

After everything is signed off and if there are funds still available in the TR fund, you will be sent a letter of approval. Hang onto this. Once you have completed your CE or conference, you will need to send the letter along with copies of your course completion and proof of payment such as a receipt or front and back copies of your canceled check and return it to Ms. Chew. From there it can be 2 weeks to 3 months before you actually receive your reimbursement check.

One last caveat. Tuition Reimbursement is for just that, tuition only. It does not cover transportation costs, books, meals or lodging. Just the cost of the program itself.

So whether you wish to travel to Reno for OUTLOOK 2001 or Sacramento for the FDIC West Conference or take any of the many fire science professional development programs offered through various community colleges, the city’s Tuition Reimbursement program is one option to assist you in making it happen.

So stay safe out there everyone and next month I’ll be sharing the latest on the JEMS EMS TODAY Conference 2002 in Kansas City and the 2nd Annual NEEON Caribbean Cruise which will be in mid march and originate in New Orleans.


Main Menu