(ABILENE, Texas) – Steven McCaslin is no stranger to Texas State Technical College’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program.

After several years in the field as a paramedic, McCaslin, who graduated from TSTC’s Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic programs, returned to the college in October 2021 as the program’s clinical coordinator. He now has a new position in the program: EMS program director and department chair for West Texas.

“We are going to continue to build on what TSTC has been able to offer for years and make it grow,” he said of his new position.

Ronnie Pitts, the statewide director of decision support for TSTC’s Health Science division, said McCaslin will have oversight of the Abilene and Brownwood programs.

“He will be accountable for all aspects of the program, ensuring that the program meets the education standards set by the Department of State Health Services, Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP),” Pitts said.

McCaslin will work closely with the program’s medical director, Wesley Hamilton, and the advisory committee for the development, approvals and endorsements of the curriculum.

“Steven and his team will work with our industry partners and provide high-quality prehospital emergency care providers to positively impact the communities in which they will serve,” Pitts said.

One of the first tasks for McCaslin and the EMS instructors is transitioning the program into the performance-based education format that TSTC is implementing. He does not know when the program will be completely part of the new format but is excited about the opportunities.

In the performance-based education model, students work with an enrollment coach to develop a schedule in two-hour time blocks. Lectures, videos and other learning content is on Canvas, a learning management system. Instructors also do mini-lectures during the day, with tests being demonstration-based, online or written.

“For EMS, the performance-based education module will be a game changer,” McCaslin said. “It will be easier for our paramedic students, who are working 24 hours on and 48 hours off, to schedule their skills time in our labs. It will be a win-win for us and the students.”

McCaslin is working with his team to establish times and what to expect when the program begins the performance-based education format.

“Right now, we are looking to have the labs open early and late into the afternoon to accommodate students,” he said. “I know we will have several things to work out, but it is exciting preparing for this new style of learning. I think this will set TSTC further apart from other EMS schools in the area because we will be able to work more with our students to accommodate them.”

McCaslin said the students will still be using the same technology, but at their own pace.

“The students will still have access to our lab, ambulance simulator and the Immersive Interactive lab,” he said. “Things will be better for the students because they will be able to show us the skills they have learned.”

In addition to his 30 years as a paramedic, McCaslin also has experience in higher education. While he was in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, McCaslin was the EMS program director for Weatherford College.

“That experience has prepared me for my new position, as has my time working with the wonderful team I have here,” he said.

McCaslin graduated from TSTC’s EMT and Paramedic programs in 1987 and 1993, respectively. He served as a paramedic for 30 years, including at Cook Children’s Health Care System in Fort Worth prior to returning to TSTC in 2021. He also worked for EMS companies in Cisco, Eastland, Fort Worth and Granbury.

“I plan to share my 35 years in the field with our students,” he said.

Pitts said McCaslin will bring strong attributes to his new role.

“He demonstrates integrity and strong moral character,” he said. “He is a servant leader and is eager to support the vision of TSTC in his new role.”

Those attributes were seen by his TSTC instructor Joni Coons, who is now the college’s intramural programs coordinator.

“It is exciting to see our graduates make the journey back to TSTC. Steven will be training the very best first responders in our state,” she said. “It will be amazing to see him share his passion with future graduates. With Steven leading the West Texas program, I am excited about the future of our EMS program.”

According to onetonline.org, the need for paramedics in Texas was expected to grow 11% between 2018 and 2028. The average annual salary for a paramedic in Texas is $44,610, according to the website.

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. Additionally, the college offers an occupational skills achievement award in Emergency Medical Services – EMT. The program is available at the Abilene, Brownwood and Harlingen campuses.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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