West Virginia’s EMS workforce has grown by more than 600 over the past year following an Answer the Call initiative

CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice today shared progress on his EMS WV: Answer the Call initiative which has addressed the state’s need for additional trained Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals.

In the past 12 months, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services has reported a significant increase in EMS providers.
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From August 2022 to August 2023, West Virginia has gained 40 Emergency Medical Responders, 465 Emergency Medical Technicians, 91 Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians, and 57 Paramedics. In addition, testing for the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician has improved by as much as 21% for EMS instructors across the state.

“This program’s growth has been remarkable, and it is important the people of West Virginia understand its significance,” Gov. Justice said. “Our amazing EMS workers are heroes who always run to the fire, but they do not grow on trees. They are few and far between, and this program continues to provide the resources and training to help develop more of them in our communities. I am confident we will continue to grow this profession in our state, reduce the workload on our current workers, and safeguard the people of West Virginia for generations to come.”

EMS personnel can find jobs throughout West Virginia with solid benefits and pay in a variety of organizations — public and private ambulance services, and fire departments.

In December 2021, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia would allocate $10 million of its remaining CARES Act dollars to grow West Virginia’s EMS workforce. At the Governor’s direction, West Virginia’s Community and Technical College System worked alongside EMS community partners to provide education and training opportunities for Emergency Medical Technician and paramedic careers.

Dr. Cynthia Persily, incoming Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Human Services, previously served as Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences at the state higher education office where she led the Governor’s EMS workforce expansion initiative. Her work included the deployment of state-of-the art mobile ambulance simulators that are being used across the state by community and technical colleges and training facilities to offer EMS training in rural areas.

“I am grateful to Gov. Justice for his vision for this program and for those across the state working to make it a success including Jody Ratliff who leads DHHR’s Office of Emergency Medical Services,” Dr. Persily said. “Improving workforce recruitment and retaining employees through education and investment are critical to strengthening the EMS workforce and, ultimately, to supporting a thriving and healthy West Virginia.”

The Governor’s initiative included the investment in test preparation software to increase certification examination success and EMT education courses provided to residents at no cost. It also  included a public relations campaign promoting EMS careers within the state.

Built around the theme “Answer the Call,” this campaign was developed to help West Virginians seeking careers in these fields access the most up-to-date information, which can be found at