Student Spotlight: Cody Johnson

Cody Johnson

EMS major volunteers in New Jersey during COVID-19 pandemic

Cody Johnson, 27, is earning an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) at Inver Hills Community College. Cody is following the Traditional Track (Paramedic) to complete his 70-credit degree and graduate in May 2021.

While going to college, Cody works as an emergency medical technician (EMT) at M Health Fairview. He is part of a Disaster Response Team (DRT) through his job.

“We respond to any type of disaster like hurricane/weather relief, medical overload like COVID, and any other type of large-scale emergency,” Cody said.

In mid-April, he volunteered to go with his DRT to Hackensack, New Jersey, to assist EMS crews challenged by the novel coronavirus pandemic. He was deployed in New Jersey for two weeks from April 17 to May 2.

“We were posted at MetLife Stadium,” Cody said. “Other EMS crews worked at hospitals or with local services. My partner and I worked with a local crew in Hackensack.”

What advice would you give students thinking about making emergency medical services (EMS) their career path?

“Do it. There are a million reasons not to be in EMS, but the reasons why we love the job outweigh the negatives 10-to-one. Be prepared to feel dumb; you’re learning on every single call you get.”

Cody Johnson
EMS Student
Inver Hills Community College

Cody reported that he and his EMS partner worked 911 calls in the Hackensack area. “Our jobs were essentially to be an extra set of hands to help out when the local crews were busy,” he said. “We really got to see how differently EMS is in other areas. Volunteering with our DRT made me realize how organized EMS seems to be back in Minnesota, but I also saw what things we could be doing differently here.”

Walking around New York City during the pandemic stands out in Cody’s memory. He visited Times Square  while the world-famous tourist destination in Manhattan was mostly empty.

“It was terrifying showing up in New Jersey and hearing some of the stories and realizing that I was now in the middle of it all,” Cody said. “That this area was getting hit the hardest during the high point of the pandemic. I thought to myself, ‘What the hell did I sign up for?’ But after the initial fear subsided, it was really more of an honor to be able to use my skills to help out and make a difference for people on the other side of the country.”

One word that best describes your DRT experience in New Jersey:


More about Cody…

Originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, Cody is looking to continue his EMS education while working as a paramedic. Before starting the EMS program, he earned nursing assistant certification (CNA) at Inver Hills. Cody’s goal is to become a certified flight paramedic (FP-C) and eventually teach paramedic students.

In his free time, he enjoys hiking, card games, painting and spending time with his dogs. Cody resides in Northfield, Minnesota.

Cody Johnson gallery

More about the EMS program at Inver Hills…

Join the health care team that saves lives! Become a paramedic or emergency medical technician (EMT). First responders, EMTs and paramedics are primarily employed in the following locations:

  • Public safety agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Private and public ambulance services
  • Fire departments

First responders, EMTs and paramedicas provide care in a variety of emergency medical and traumatic situations. With enough education or experience, EMTs and paramedics can become emergency service supervisors, managers, directors or executive directors.

As a program graduate, you are eligible to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) written and practical exams to become certified nationally and in the state of Minnesota.


The Inver Hills Community College Paramedic program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).

The goal of the the Paramedic Education Program is to prepare competent entry-level Paramedics in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains with or without exit points at the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and/or Emergency Medical Technician, and/or Emergency Medical Responder levels.

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program at Inver Hills is designed to offer comprehensive education and occupational preparation in the field of advanced pre-hospital emergency care. Paramedics are employed by advanced life-support ambulance services as well in various out-of-hospital care settings to provide care in medical and traumatic emergencies.

Two degree tracks are offered, both leading to an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Emergency Medical Services (EMS); a third diploma option is offered for those who may already have a degree, or are seeking a career as a paramedic without completing additional liberal arts coursework.

The EMS  program also offers emergency medical technician (EMT) training in basic emergency medical care, as well as training towards the Advanced EMT certificate.

Degree, diploma and certificate options

Emergency Medical Services • Associate of Science (A.S.) • Traditional Track (Paramedic): 70 credits

Clinical learning experiences are provided with ambulance services and hospitals throughout the metropolitan area. A Minnesota EMT certificate is required prior to taking the pre-core classes. Graduates are awarded an A.S. degree and are eligible to take the National Registry Paramedic written and practical exam.

Emergency Medical Services • Associate of Science (A.S.) • Accelerated Track (Paramedic): 70 credits

The accelerated track is a separate program offered to paramedics with a current paramedic certification. Students must apply both to the college and the program. Applications are accepted year-round. This track allows working paramedics to complete the A.S. degree at Inver Hills. Students must successfully complete the Inver credit residency requirement for graduation.

Paramedic Diploma: 40 credits

This program is designed to offer comprehensive education and occupational preparation in the field of advanced pre-hospital emergency care, intended for those who already have a degree or those who wish to obtain certification as a paramedic without taking additional liberal arts coursework.

Paramedics are employed by advanced life support ambulance services as well as in various out-of-hospital care settings to provide care in medical and traumatic emergencies. Graduates are eligible to take the National Registry Paramedic written and practical exam. A separate program application is required for admittance into the Paramedic Core program.


Emergency Medical Technician (EMT): 9 credits

This certificate is designed to provide a basic education in emergency medical care, teach the competencies required for students to prepare for the national certification examination and to prepare students for certification and a career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). This program will teach responsibility in emergency care of the critically sick or injured and develop skills in the use of and care of all basic emergency equipment.

The program curriculum includes topics such as patient assessment, trauma skills, care and recognition of heart disease, respiratory problems and other medical emergencies and includes field clinical experience. In order to enroll in any pre-core paramedic course, you will need to obtain EMT certification.

Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT): 10 credits

Designed to provide expanded depth and breadth for students who have completed an Emergency Medical Technician course, this curriculum meets the National EMS Education Standards for training of the Advanced EMT (AEMT). The AEMT provides basic and limited advanced medical care to ill and injured patients above the scope of an EMT.

Program curriculum includes pathophysiology of medical and traumatic conditions, critical thinking skills, some advanced airway management, basic pharmacology, incident operations, intravenous therapy and fluid administration along with field and hospital experiences. Curriculum in this certificate may be applied toward the Paramedic Certificate or A.S. degree. Current EMT certification required prior to and during all coursework.

Community Paramedic Certificate: 12 credits

Provides additional training to certified, experienced paramedics in the areas of public health, health prevention, patient advocacy, triage, disease management, mental health and the management of ongoing illness or injury. The Community Paramedic works under the direction of an EMS Medical Director in cooperation with a primary care doctor. Community Paramedics work for EMS agencies, health care organizations or in other areas of public health.


Cody Johnson Q & A

Why did you choose emergency medical services (EMS) as your career path?

I wanted to work in a field where I could make a difference. I liked the idea of being able to act and respond and actually know what I was doing when a real emergency happened.

I wanted to be a nurse, but the idea of being mobile and being the first person on the scene and potentially being the reason someone made it alive to the hospital stuck out to me.

How is the Inver Hills EMS program preparing you to be a professional paramedic?

I feel like the education I’m getting from Inver has prepared me for real-life situations. The instructors are all very experienced and have helped by telling us stories of the calls they have been on and what they’ve done. It’s not just about passing the class; it’s far more focused on making great paramedics out of their students.

What is one thing every EMS major should know?

Even if you do everything right, you’re not going to save everyone. Learn from your mistakes and better yourself. Don’t think that just because you can save lives, means that you always will.

Three words that describe you as an EMS student:

What are the most important attributes of a paramedic?

Selflessness and being able to talk with people. This field is about treating your patients in the best way possible. That includes just being a good listener sometimes.

What do you like best about your EMS courses?

I really enjoy the lab work—where we get to be hands-on and practice our skills. It’s fun to get the curve balls that instructors throw at you to make you really think about things critically. We get to do things that no other class gets to do. We get to learn hands-on and make up scenarios for any possible call you might get.

What advice would you give students thinking about making emergency medical services their career path?

Do it. There are a million reasons not to be in EMS, but the reasons why we love the job outweigh the negatives 10-to-one. Be prepared to feel dumb; you’re learning on every single call you get.

How do you remain calm and centered during an emergency?

Remember that it’s not your emergency. You are the professional and if you don’t appear calm, the situation can get out of hand quickly. Trust your gut and your education. You got the job because you were trusted enough to handle it.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Cody Johnson 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Hiking
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Martinique
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Traveled to France
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Pay off school 2) Buy a house 3) Give my parents half
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Just Shoot Me
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Divergent (I know its older but I just watched it again)
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Being able to not react to things when they irritate me; master inner-bliss.
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Penguin
  9. Dream occupation: Something where I don’t have to work a lot, but can make a lot of money.
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Meryl Streep
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Cooking gourmet food and desserts
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: People thinking they are entitled to things or that others should act a certain way based on their feelings or beliefs

Learn more about the EMS program at Inver Hills by contacting:

Kevin Johnson
Director of Emergency Services

Admissions Team
College Center


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