Date of Award



© 2018 Tamantha Anne Cumbie

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Carey Clark

Second Advisor

Peter Fifield

Third Advisor

Bill Young


The purpose of this research study was to investigate the mandatory accreditation of paramedic initial education programs on the paramedic workforce while looking through the lens of professionalization theory and occupational closure. The study included a non-probability convenience expert sampling of the state EMS Director in each of the 48 contiguous states and yielded an 80.85% return rate. The online survey utilized dichotomous and multi-option variables and included skip logic questioning with open text boxes to allow the respondent to add explanations in their own words. The survey contained three parts, including the demographics of the leaders, workforce staffing, and paramedic initial education availability within their state. This study found that EMS leaders across the nation are an educated, dedicated, and diverse group. Most (89.5%) have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Leaders (84.2%) indicated a lack of full staffing in their states citing low recruitment, low wages and benefits, and career competition. State leaders noted a positive change for initial education programs after accreditation, seen in the consistency of education that led to more confident paramedics and less compliance issues. However, 53% of leaders illustrated initial education courses were not full, again noting fewer recruits, low wages, and career competition. An educated workforce is the foundation of EMS. Thirty-seven percent of leaders indicated they did not maintain data for the census of initial education courses. While many leaders lack data, the results of this study illustrate improved and more consistent education following accreditation; however, the number of graduates entering the workforce has remained the same. The workforce simply has not kept up with population growth.


Ed.D. Dissertation