Teen Joins Wake County EMS program

Senior Katie Swanson prepares for a future career in medicine


While other high schoolers work at the local fast food restaurant, senior Katie Swanson is getting first hand experience for the job of her dreams: a pediatric surgeon.

Swanson was recently accepted into the Wake County EMS program as a paramedic. She is able to work alongside professionals that will help contribute to her future career.

“For the first two years, I get free college. So, I get a free associates degree at Wake Tech and then I get reimbursed for any four year college I want to go to. I do get paid after the two years,” Swanson said.

She is already experiencing the real world of medicine.

“I do ride-along,” Swanson said. “I actually ride and do calls.”

Before Swanson takes the next step in her career, she must be well-educated in the art of medical science. Swanson has been studying rigorously at Wake Tech, to prepare for her transition to East Carolina University, where she will continue to pursue medicine.

“I am going to take neonatal courses. That’s kind of the specialty I am going for,” Swanson said.

In order to join the EMS program, Swanson had to write several essays, the largest one being about diversity. She was required to complete an oral interview, ensuring her credentials, yet catching her off-guard.

“They asked me who I looked up to, and I wasn’t prepared for that,” Swanson said. “I was more prepared for ‘what do you want out of this?’ Not ‘who are you going to go tell?’ or, ‘after this who are you going to go to?’ I said, ‘I’m going to go to my uncle.'”

Swanson’s uncle also works in the medical field as a fireman. Medical work is a typical career in her family, as her aunt was also a paramedic. Swanson differs, as she’s headed to be a pediatric surgeon.

“It is something I have just always wanted to do. I just like helping people,” Swanson said.