Gabriel Zavala, a Crafton Hills College paramedic student.


The COVID-19 global pandemic is causing a strain on every part of the health care system, calling for “all hands on deck.” Crafton Hills College student paramedics feel the tension as well, as they navigate a strenuous paramedic program while also working the front lines in the field.

One paramedic student, Gabriel Zavala, said the most important thing he is learning in paramedic school amid a global pandemic is adaptability.

“EMS is a constantly changing field,” he said. “During times of worldwide adversity, maintaining composure is the only way to persevere, and composure is essential while working in the field.”

To be eligible for licensure as a paramedic in California, students must complete the 39 units of the certificate program, pass National Registry written and skills examinations and meet all other licensure requirements established by the state. Crafton Hills Paramedic Program offers two cycles per year, and is broken down into three sections — didactive, clinic and field.

Zavala said the program’s instructors are helping students to stay on track to graduate on time.

“Our program leaders are admirable, knowledgeable and helpful during this pandemic,” he said.

Students like Zavala are gaining increased amounts of field experience, serving their communities alongside first responders.

“Working as an EMT, serving the community, and helping others in need is something I will not take for granted,” Zavala said. “I am incredibly honored for the career that I have and what this program continues to teach me.


"Paramedic school has been the most challenging and rewarding time of my life," he continued. "I am blessed to be in a program with many other great students who I know will be some of the best paramedics once the program is complete."

For more information about Crafton Hills' paramedic program, contact faculty/field coordinator Amanda Ward at For more information about Crafton Hills College, visit