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Paramedics graduate from Pima College program amid national shortage

Posted at 12:35 PM, Jun 18, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Thirty-four students graduated from Pima Community College’s paramedic program this evening, marking the culmination of an 11-month training course.

The graduates, hailing from various parts of the Tucson metro area, are poised to address the ongoing demand for paramedics in Southern Arizona.

Many graduates are already employed with local fire departments and paramedic services, underscoring the program's vital role in meeting regional needs.

Mark Meredith, Fire Chief of Sonoita-Elgin Fire District, emphasized the program’s importance.

"It gives us as students access to all the major hospital facilities and key fire agencies as we go through the program," Meredith said.

This accessibility is crucial amid a national shortage of licensed paramedics, a shortage that is somewhat mitigated in Southern Arizona but still significant.

Tim Garcia, one of the new graduates and a Tucson firefighter, highlighted the practical benefits of the training.

"Eighty-five to 90 percent of calls we do are medical calls these days," Garcia said. "Having that extra knowledge and skillset allows me to better help the community."

Meredith encouraged prospective students to explore the program, reflecting on his own positive experience.

Eddie Celaya is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9. Born in Tucson and raised in the Phoenix area, Eddie is a life-long Arizonan and graduate of the University of Arizona who loves the desert and mountains and hates the cold. Previously, Eddie worked in print media at the Arizona Daily Star. Share your story ideas with Eddie at, or by connecting on Facebook or Instagram.