(ABILENE, Texas) – Growing up in Hawley, Kyle Nichols was taught to care for others and to pay it forward.
He decided to follow a family tradition by entering the medical field. Nichols is in his first semester of Texas State Technical College’s Paramedic program and is excited about what he has learned and accomplished so far.
Nichols and other first responders around the country are being honored during this week’s National Emergency Services (EMS) Week. Nichols is currently employed as an emergency medical technician (EMT) for Metro Care in Abilene and the Fisher County Hospital District EMS.
“My mom was a surgery technician and is now a registered nurse,” he said. “A lot of my family members are public servants, and the main thing they taught me was if you see someone in distress, stop and help. I decided that should be my career.”
After graduating from Hawley High School in 2022, Nichols started his journey to becoming a paramedic by attending TSTC.
“TSTC has really helped me grow as an EMS professional,” he said. “The instructors are always there for you when you need someone to talk to or get stuck in a situation.”
Nichols said being able to participate in scenarios in TSTC’s Immersive Interactive lab has paid off in many of his medical calls. The lab allows EMS students to train in a variety of virtual settings that can help prepare them for stressful and demanding real-life situations.
“It really makes you focus on what you have to do in any situation,” he said.
While in the program, Nichols has learned one thing about himself that has improved his skills both in school and in the field.
“I have learned the art of time management,” he said. “In this field, you have to efficiently manage your time because it goes away quickly.”
Kandell Scruggs, lead EMS instructor at TSTC’s Abilene campus, said Nichols’ passion is one of his best qualities.
“Kyle is a strong student,” she said. “His passion for EMS is the driving force behind his success in the program.”
For people looking to begin an EMS career, Nichols said TSTC is the best place to receive an education.
“The program is held to the highest standards,” he said. “You cannot give it a 50-50 effort because it is a very strict regimen.”
Having a solid support system will help students get through the program with success, Nichols said.
“It is not just your family that will be supporting you. It will be your co-workers, classmates and instructors,” he said. “You cannot bottle everything up and take it with you. It is good to have people around you that you can talk to. That will lead to success as an EMT and a paramedic.”
According to onetonline.org, the need for paramedics in Texas was expected to grow 19% between 2020 and 2030. The annual average salary for paramedics in Texas is $48,380.
In its Emergency Medical Services program, TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paramedic, as well as certificates of completion in Emergency Medical Services – EMT, Emergency Medical Services – Advanced EMT AEMT and Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic. The program is available at the Abilene, Brownwood and Harlingen campuses.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.