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Student Volunteer Training Program

The volunteer program is the avenue through which the University Ambulance Service (UAS) trains its EMTs in the policies and procedures specific to this company and assures that each member is competent and comfortable in patient-care before promoting them to paid crew status. Once promoted to the crew, the students have a responsibility to help train the volunteers that come after them. It is the expectation of UAS that every volunteer will be promoted to a paid crew member within two semesters. Both clinical skills and service-specific procedures and policies are taught during this program. You will be an active participant on emergency calls, handling patient care responsibilities under the supervision of more experienced staff.

UAS provides 911 emergency response to all of Penn State in Centre County. They provide emergency medical service (EMS) coverage at all events, ranging from small dinners to football and major concerts at the BJC.  The service is run by 3 full-time staff paramedics and the day-to-day operations are handled by full-time staff. Nearly all shifts are covered by student staff.


  • Penn State University Park student in good academic standing
  • 4+ Semesters remaining at Penn State (not including summers)
  • 18 years or older
  • Possess a valid driver’s/operator's license
  • Hold a current PA Department of Health EMT certification or higher without pending disciplinary or corrective action
  • Successfully completed a CPR for the Health Care Provider course within the past year


To apply, you must fill out this application. In your application, you must include a scanned image of:

  • CPR Cards
  • Valid Drivers License
  • PA EMT Card
  • Any additional certifications (i.e. EVOC, NIMS)

If you do not do include this information you will not be granted an interview. If you are granted an interview, you will be contacted via email prior to the interview process.


If selected, orientation will be scheduled based on the availability of those selected. This is approximately six hours and will be completed with one of our administrators.

Please read through our Frequently Asked Questions for a more detailed look into the Volunteer Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of a volunteer?

Volunteers work in a training capacity on truck shifts and at special events.  The volunteer often takes primary patient care, and is responsible for their progress through the training program. Volunteers are encouraged to ask lots of questions and work toward being able to work shifts and events on their own and ultimately be able to train others. Volunteers will be evaluated on their cognitive, psychomotor, and affective abilities.

What are the shifts like?

Volunteers usually work 2-4 shifts per month during the academic year.  Overnight shifts are 14 hours, lasting from 5:00pm to 7:00am, and daylight shifts are 10 hours, lasting from 7:00am to 5:00pm.  Because all volunteers are full-time students at the university, we do not schedule them for weekday daylight shifts; however, volunteers are encouraged to sign up for these daylight shifts.  A typical shift includes time for eating, training, calls, and on slower nights, time for schoolwork.

What about events?

In addition to the truck shifts explained above, volunteers work approximately five events per month.  Events are different from 911 ambulance operations in that sometimes we will have an ambulance committed to the event, and sometimes we will be a non-transporting BLS team.  Some of the 500+ events that we cover include: football, BJC events, sporting events, THON, Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, and Special Olympics.

I know that I have to work truck shifts and events, but what’s the overall time commitment?

On average, including truck shifts, events, and training, volunteers spend approximately  12 to 20 hours a week. This obviously fluctuates a great deal depending on if the volunteer has an overnight shift or if there are any large events such as football during that week. 

What is your training program like and what does it include?

UAS believes that continual personal and professional development is important for all of our personnel.  Our training program is adaptable for individuals who are fresh out of EMT class, as well as those with years of experience.   As a volunteer, you are responsible for gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to function as an EMT within our service on your own, with others, and ultimately as one who can train others. To help you with this, we have a large array of training sessions that cover a range of topics from basic service orientation to coordinating with other agencies.  Our large alumni base provides many unique opportunities for training such as medical law, SimMan, and other various seminars. Many opportunities are available for Penn State credit and/or continuing education credits.

How soon do I get paid?

This answer varies greatly depending on an individual’s knowledge and effort.  Prior experience, especially within Centre County, can expedite the progression from volunteer to paid staff; however, on average this process usually takes a year.  To be promoted from volunteer to paid staff the volunteer must demonstrate an ability to function on their own and train others. In addition, they must successfully complete an orientation class and document proficiency in BLS skills and ambulance operations (including driving).

What are the unique opportunities available at University Ambulance Service?

As part of the University, there are many unique opportunities available.  This service is primarily student-staffed. We have three full-time supervisors that are in charge of daily operations. Students are also given the opportunity for leadership experience within the company.  There is a student organization that most of our staff have joined which enables us to participate in many student activities on campus. Finally, there are many opportunities for students to apply whatever skills they have.  We have frequent training sessions, public relations, quality improvement, and social committees. There are also opportunities for students to assist with teaching courses on campus.

More questions?

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact the EMS Field Supervisor, Josh Fremberg at