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Cut Costs But Not Quality - How to hold quality education courses on a limited budget

Mar 05, 2009

The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice quality for lower costs. Even if you don’t have much money to spend, there are several ways to conduct a great course on a shoestring budget. Here are seven easy steps you can take.
There are many ways to conduct education programs within your organization. However, in the current financial crisis, funds are tight. Times like these require economic restraint.

You may be pinching pennies at home and closely watching your budget. You’re eating out less, buying bargain-brand staple goods and trying to save more. And you find that you need to do the same for your education programs.
So, what is the equivalent of cooking at home more often for an education program? How can you continue to hold quality EMS education courses in this economy?

The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice quality for lower costs. Even if you don’t have much money to spend, there are several ways to conduct a great course on a shoestring budget. Here are seven easy steps you can take.

1. Find a free location. Find a location that you can use free of charge. There are surprisingly many options available for you to explore. Consider a hospital training center, community hall or training center, local church or school, or a county or city fire station.

2. Use libraries to obtain course books. Your local library or organization may have the books you need. As long as you ensure that every participant has use of a book preceding and during the course, not having to buy books eliminates a large portion of course expenses.

3. Find volunteers. Locate volunteer instructors to assist you. You may be surprised at how many people you can find who teach for free because they find it rewarding to mentor and teach others in the EMS profession, and who understand the difficult financial environment in which many public safety and medical facilities are operating. Also, consider finding out from the medical director or certifying agency if you can provide continuing education credits to instructors instead of monetary payment.

4. Seek sponsors. Seek out sponsorship from local businesses who appreciate their EMS services or that may have ties to EMS. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from community businesses. Once a business agrees to sponsor your program, make sure you give the company credit and obtain and use its logo where possible.

5. Share the burden. Try working together with several different departments that can share course expenses. With more participants, you can hold a larger course, with the cost of the program split between multiple departments.

6. Work with other agencies. If the program allows, conduct the class on multiple nights when an agency is already holding planned training. So, if training is planned for Thursday nights, hold a class on four of those nights. Also invite other agencies to join in to help share program costs.

7. Use technology to monitor new instructors. As you need to monitor new instructors who are teaching for the first time independently, you can save both time and money by using GoToMeeting® , a software program that can be downloaded free for 30 days. Using the program, affiliate faculty can easily monitor the course via the web.

Taking these steps should help you continue to conduct your EMS education courses during these difficult times.

If you have additional ideas for saving on course costs, we want to hear from you! Send us your ideas at info@naemt.org or call us at 1-800-346-2368.