(ABILENE, Texas) – While working in her hometown of Snyder, Veronica Hernandez talked to a Scurry County EMS paramedic daily.
The more she talked to the first responder, the more her interest grew in becoming one herself. Hernandez decided it was a good career option and began Texas State Technical College’s Emergency Medical Services program in January.
“I went to college after high school and was not really feeling it,” she said. “I ended up working for my parents. There was a paramedic next door, and we would always talk. He would tell me what was happening, and I found it interesting. All of a sudden, I knew what I wanted to do.”
While she was late to register for a Scurry County EMS-based program, she knew that TSTC offered the program close to home.
“So far, I have loved every minute of the program here,” Hernandez said. “I like to help people, and I knew this would be the right step.”
Through the first few weeks of the program, Hernandez said she has learned more than she expected.
“The skills we learn in the lab are great,” she said. “Even with COVID protocols, it is good we still have the opportunity to learn. In February, we are going to be starting clinicals. I am excited to be working in different hospitals and ambulances.”
Hernandez is planning to complete her certification and return to study for an associate degree.
“I am going all the way in this program. I will have so many different options after that,” she said.
During high school, Hernandez knew of TSTC’s program, but she did not realize how much the instructors wanted to see students succeed.
“The instructors are awesome. They are so open,” she said. “They like to have one-on-one conversations with you. It is so easy to communicate with the instructors and the students.”
She also likes that most TSTC graduates will be working immediately after school.
“When they told us that we could start working in May, that is something I did not dream of,” she said. “They are preparing us to work in the field.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 1,000 emergency medical technicians and paramedics are employed in West Texas. It estimates that EMT/paramedic jobs will increase by 6% by 2029.
Hernandez said TSTC is the place to go for a person wanting to enter the paramedic field.
“The instructors are going to hold you to the highest standard. They are going to make sure you know the material to succeed,” she said.
Hernandez did admit there was one regret.
“I really wish I would have started this program sooner,” she said.
For more information, visit tstc.edu.