Paramedic_featured photo

Firefighter veterans join NICC Paramedic program faculty team

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Miller sees his new faculty role as an opportunity to give back to his community after years of EMS service. He wants to train the next generation of local EMS professionals to meet the increased local demand for pre-hospital care.

Esch and Miller paramedic_news imagePEOSTA, Iowa—Northeast Iowa Community College has expanded its Paramedic faculty team to include new faculty member and Clinical Coordinator, Alex Miller. Miller is a full-time, seven-year firefighter and paramedic veteran for the Dubuque Fire Department and a 2008 graduate of the NICC Paramedic program. Miller previously served as a paramedic and paramedic instructor in Minneapolis, Minn.

Miller joins NICC’s Paramedic program faculty member and Program Director Nick Esch, also a Dubuque firefighter and paramedic, who has served the city since April 2007. NICC hired Esch as a faculty member in 2022.

Miller sees his new faculty role as an opportunity to give back to his community after years of EMS service. He wants to train the next generation of local EMS professionals to meet the increased local demand for pre-hospital care.

“The biggest challenge in EMS and almost every profession is the shortage of EMTs and paramedics. Every service, nationwide and locally, is drowning in higher call volume and low staffing issues. Call volume across the nation has increased approximately 20-30 percent with fewer EMTs and paramedics to cover the calls,” Miller said. “Yet, it’s a very rewarding profession, being able to make a difference in someone’s life during their darkest times. This job keeps you on your toes, every call and every day is different. There is never a dull moment or a boring day working as an EMT or paramedic.”

Program Director Esch believes the benefits the NICC Paramedic program offers are many, including its national CoAEMSP/CAAHEP accreditation status, comprehensive instruction and the collective experience of both full-time and adjunct faculty in the program. 

“Although we are new Paramedic instructors at NICC, together we have 32 years of experience providing care to those in need. Adding in the experiences that our adjunct faculty bring, this experience level provides our students with real life experiences. Alex and I have both worked in the private and public sector,” Esch said. “Because the program is nationally accredited, the training and instruction we provide students is standardized, meaning there is a minimum amount of content every program must have. National accreditation delivers high education value to our students.”

“The Paramedic program at NICC trains students through classroom instruction, lab work and simulation experiences using state-of-the-art technology and an on-campus ambulance simulator that prepares students for pre-hospital care,” said Laura Menke, NICC Dean of Allied Health and Human Services Education. “We have been fortunate to employ stellar Paramedic faculty throughout its 27-year existence here and the EMS facilities serving our communities have been 100 percent supportive of the program by serving on the advisory board, providing exceptional clinical and field experiences for our students, and hiring our graduates. 

“Nick and Alex are some of the most professional and respectful people I've ever met who are passionate about their paramedic careers and teaching the next generation of paramedics. Under their leadership the future of this program looks brighter than ever. I am pleased to be a part of this team to ensure that the people who reside in our communities continue to receive the highest level of EMS care possible and I look forward to assisting Nick and Alex achieve their future goals for the program.” 

Communities all over the state of Iowa and nationally need skilled paramedics and Emergency Medical Services professionals. Graduates of the one-year diploma or two-year Associate of Applied Science degree programs develop the skills and knowledge to provide appropriate patient care for life-threatening emergencies through the use of Advanced Life Support protocol and equipment. An on-site health simulation lab, fully-equipped with an ambulance vehicle, technology, equipment and manikins, trains students for a range of patient care treatment, medical emergencies and transport. Graduates have a 96 percent job placement rate and a 100 percent pass rate on the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) Psychomotor Exam in the past five years.

For more information, visit