Alum of Sac State’s Paramedic Program is Making a Difference in Hawaii

Lyle Najita

Meet Lyle Najita, who was a student from March 2019 to September 2020 in Sac State’s Paramedic Program, offered through the College of Continuing Education (CCE). Today, Lyle works as a paramedic in a private mental health clinic in Honolulu, Hawaii. We recently had a chance to catch up with Lyle, who was happy to share his experiences as a student.

“At 59, I was the oldest student in the class,” Lyle explains. “I came into the program without a lot of EMS experience. They accepted me into the program in spite of this.”

When asked what made his time spent in the Paramedic Program a transformative experience, Lyle is quick to point out that it was the people. “What really helped me with classes and more the practical aspects of being a paramedic were my amazing classmates.  We were a class that got along really well. I’m still in touch with several of my classmates even though I’m miles away.”

CCE is proud to be the first and only California State University campus to offer a paramedic program. We offer the most clinical and field provider agency contracts of any accredited paramedic program. This translates directly to minimal lag time between the didactic, clinical and field phases of the program. Most students have little to no wait time and as a result finish in one year or less. Additionally, CCE paramedic students consistently rank higher than national averages when taking the National Registry Exam.

“The instruction was top notch,” Lyle says. “The instructors were very supportive as was everyone at Sacramento City Fire which is where I did my first internship. My second internship was with Sierra Nevada Ambulance in Grass Valley. By having the two internships, I was able to amass a total of 803 hours of ambulance time. After passing my NREMT exams, I was able to license in Hawaii.”

Instructors of the program are currently working in the field as full-time professional firefighter/paramedics, private ambulance paramedics, flight paramedics, nurses, and physician assistants, serving as great resources for students.

“The Sac State Paramedic program is well known as Northern California’s ‘premier’ program to attend. Not only for our low attrition rates and high licensing exam pass rates but also for our hands-on approach to the profession. All our administrators and instructors have our student’s success as their number one priority. This results in the most comprehensive paramedic education available in the region” says Jason Hemler, program director. “We celebrate Lyle. He’s a great example of what this program produces.”

The Paramedic Program is designed for individuals looking to further their career in emergency medical services. Students are prepared for roles as clinicians, advocates, educators and leaders in the changing prehospital health care system.

Lyle as a working paramedic

“When I first moved back home (to Hawaii) in November of 2020, I saw an ad for a paramedic at a mental health clinic and applied,” Lyle explains. “I got offered the position and accepted it.  Two years in, I still find the job very rewarding.  I would never have guessed this is where I would be working and it’s all possible because of the program.”

Asked why he applied specifically to Sac State’s Paramedic Program, Lyle says, “the Sac State Paramedic Program was supposed to be the best in the area and that’s why I decided to apply. I’m so happy they took a chance on me.”