(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Texas, Dustin Bostick had to pivot his career path.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, the Brownwood native had plans to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant. But the pandemic shut down clinical sessions, and he decided to become an emergency medical technician (EMT).
Becoming an EMT led Bostick to Lifeguard Ambulance Service in Brownwood and eventually to Texas State Technical College’s Advanced EMT program. Now in his second semester, Bostick plans to work as a first responder while keeping his aspiration of becoming a physician’s assistant a reality.
“I got my basic EMT and was able to come back home to Brownwood and work for Lifeguard,” he said. “I decided that I wanted to become a paramedic and knew TSTC would provide quality training.”
Bostick said having the program available in his hometown was a perfect way to begin the next phase of his career.
“It is beneficial in a way because, unlike the times I was earning my basic EMT, it is not as hard to commute,” he said of his travel to and from Stephenville for clinical sessions. “It is great to have this program right here in Brownwood.”
Another aspect of attending school in his hometown is being able to get to know hospital employees.
“During my EMT training, I did not do clinicals in an emergency room or with respiratory staff,” he said. “At TSTC, our clinicals are great. It also allows me to get to know the people at the local hospital (Hendrick Medical Center Brownwood).”
Bostick has told fellow EMTs about his first two semesters at TSTC, including his time training in the Immersive Interactive lab.
“It is a cool way to be able to train,” he said of the lab. “It is a lot more than I expected. We are excited about the technology available for us at TSTC.”
The lab allows Bostick to train in a variety of virtual settings that can help prepare him for stressful and demanding real-life situations. The realistic settings — enhanced with sounds and even smells — include a garage with a car on fire, a grandmotherly living room, a city park, a lake and a volcano, to name a few.
Bostick also likes the approach that instructor Tim Scalley brings to his weekly class.
“It is nice to have someone with field experience teaching our class,” he said. “Tim is not only a teacher, he is someone I can talk to as a person. He will work with me when it is hard for me to schedule something because I am running late. He wants me to be a successful paramedic.”
Scalley said Bostick is committed to becoming an advanced EMT by showing his dedication during lab sessions.
“Dustin is a dedicated student who wants to advance his career,” Scalley said. “I know he will be a leader in this field by the way he works during lab sessions and from the feedback I have received from clinical sessions.”
According to onetonline.org, the need for emergency medical technicians in Texas was expected to grow 19% between 2020 and 2030.
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.