Christopher Evans Now Has the Confidence to Pursue Dream of Becoming a Paramedic

Christopher Evans had his fair share of personal struggles to overcome. All through school he suffered from heart problems and a learning disability, until finally his cardiologist recommended he quit high school. Christopher was forced to drop out.

His dream had been to become a paramedic, but because of his health issues and lack of confidence in his ability to learn, he gave up hope.

After many years of medical care and therapy, Christopher joined his local fire department as a volunteer and decided to try out an EMT course offered by the department. Much to his surprise, he earned the third highest grade in the class.

Christopher’s accomplishments in the EMT course revived his dreams of becoming a paramedic; however, he did not have a high school diploma, which is a requirement of the job. Then an online high school program at the Phoenix Public Library caught his eye. The program grants eligible adults a tuition waiver to attend the AdvancED/SACS-accredited Career Online High School (COHS) to earn their diploma.

“One night I finally took a shot at it and it was a good fit,” Christopher said.

In order to enroll, Christopher first completed an online self-assessment that helps determine if the program is well suited for each prospective student. Next, he finished a 2-week online prerequisite course and then completed an interview. He passed and received the tuition waiver.

Students in the program also earn a career certificate in one of eight areas alongside their diploma. Christopher chose the Certified Protection Officer certificate because he felt the courses would help him most as a paramedic.

Christopher said the program was challenging but that his academic coach was instrumental in helping him make the transition to becoming an online student. “She always sent me a daily email of something that would give me encouragement.”

Upon graduating, his next step was to apply to an associate program for medical assisting with the final goal of getting a Bachelor of Science in Paramedicine.

“Graduating from COHS gave me a sense self-worth and more confidence,” Christopher said. “The program helped me see things differently in a good way and it made me believe that I can actually go to school and succeed!”