(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – It was only natural for Kelly Nelson to take the next step in her medical career.

Nelson has been a certified nursing assistant for 16 years and a certified medical assistant for 10 years. With that experience on her resume, She decided to take the next step and is studying to become a licensed vocational nurse (LVN).

She did not have to look far to take classes. The Breckenridge native knew that Texas State Technical College was the place to study.

“I love TSTC and knew this was going to be the place I needed to be,” Nelson said. “My mom took the nursing program in the Rick Perry building in Breckenridge years ago.”

Instructor Marchelle Taylor said Nelson will be successful in nursing.

“She is one of our first students to volunteer for any clinicals we have,” she said. “She will get in there to get the experience she needs, and I have no doubt she will be successful.”

In her final semester of the LVN program, Nelson has not been disappointed with her time in school.

“This experience has been amazing. It is everything I expected and more,” she said. “I have learned so much, and that is thanks to the instructors and the people I work with in clinicals.”

When Nelson is on campus during lab sessions, she said instructors make sure they relay information like a nurse in the hospital.

“They make sure we know the material, and we retain what we have learned,” she said. “But it is so much more than that. If we are down about an assignment, the instructors are there to pick us right back up. They motivate us to do our best.”

The lab sessions have been one area that Nelson has enjoyed the most.

“Having a program that is hands-on at TSTC is so much better than reading a book all the time,” she said. “We have seen what happens in real time during clinicals and refer back to our time in the lab to make sure we are prepared.”

Nelson said she plans to return to her job at a Breckenridge nursing home with a new title. She is also excited to celebrate graduation with her mother and family.

“My mom is so excited for me, especially since she graduated from TSTC,” she said.

Nelson said adding LVN to her resume may be in the future as well.

“I am going to take a little break, but I may come back and become a registered nurse,” she said. “It will be through TSTC because I know it will be the best place to study.”

According to, LVN jobs are forecast to increase 11% in Texas by 2028, with more than 82,000 nurses in the workforce. The median salary for LVNs in Texas is $47,760, the website showed.

TSTC’s Vocational Nursing certificate program is available at the Breckenridge, Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses. TSTC also offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing at the Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.

For more information about TSTC, visit

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