For young adults who are eager to join the workforce or already know what their dream job is, Philadelphia’s high schools offer a great selection of career and technical education (CTE) programs in over 40 occupational areas.
But only one high school – Randolph CTE High School – puts students on a path to a career in emergency medical services (EMS) or firefighting. Hasani Cooper, a 2017 graduate of Randolph, now helps save lives with an ambulance company in Montgomery County while also serving as a volunteer firefighter.
“Randolph just opened doors for me,” said Cooper. “And it wasn’t just a program … it was like a second family.”
Randolph’s Fire Academy enrolls up to 20 students each year, training them first to be emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and then providing the initial education to become firefighters. Members of the Philadelphia Fire Department teach the students on topics ranging from CPR and patient privacy laws to incident command and hazardous materials. Field trips include visits to the airport’s fire station, Fire Communications Center, and heavy rescue teams.
City Paramedic Lt. Danielle Bowes, who helps students prepare for the National Registry Exam for EMTs, enjoys teaching teens who — one day — might become her colleagues. So far, more than 15 Randolph Fire Academy graduates have joined the Philadelphia Fire Department.
“It’s so exciting to see students like Hasani continue on a career path that I know, from personal experience, is life-changing and extremely rewarding,” Bowes said.
The program offers the credentials needed for many jobs in firefighting and EMS, including at private ambulance companies. It also gives graduates a head start — 3 points on the city’s hiring test — on potential careers in the Philadelphia Fire Department, either as a Firefighter/EMT or a paramedic.
Any student can apply to Randolph through the school selection process, which runs from Sept. 21 through Nov. 2.