Esmeralda Sosa

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Wearing her heart on her sleeve and helping others is what Esmeralda Sosa, of Harlingen, has planned for her medical career.

She is pursuing a certificate of completion in Vocational Nursing at Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus.

Her medical journey began in 2017 after she became a certified nursing assistant.

“I fell in love working as a CNA during my first week on the job,” she said. “I give respect to those who work as a CNA because the job is very hard. (But) I realized I need more since I started a family. I thought, I can only imagine what else I can learn if I pursue the Nursing program at TSTC.”

She began studying for a certificate of completion in Vocational Nursing at TSTC, but she faced financial challenges.

Heather Sauceda, an instructor in TSTC’s Vocational Nursing program in Harlingen, called Sosa into her office one day because she noticed something different about her demeanor.

“(She) informed me she was not on scholarship but was saving money from her CNA job to pay for program tuition,” she said. “I reached out to Richard Mesquias from The TSTC Foundation, and he assisted.”

Now Sosa is nearing the program’s completion and plans to graduate in December.

Vocational Nursing students at the Harlingen campus learn essential values that contribute to their patients’ health, according to Veronica Guerrero, an instructor in TSTC’s Nursing program.

“It is important that you are the patients’ advocate,” she said.

Licensed vocational nurses can make an average salary of $47,760 in Texas, with a projected job growth of 11% by 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Registered nurses can earn an average of $75,320 per year in Texas, with a projected job growth of 17% by 2028, according to

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