Photo caption: Luis Martinez is a new TSTC Emergency Medical Services instructor at the Harlingen campus. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College alumnus Luis Martinez recently completed his first semester of teaching in TSTC’s Emergency Medical Services program.

When he was a child, the U.S. Navy veteran could hear the sirens of ambulances as they sped through the expressway in his hometown — a memory that would spur his initial interest in the health care profession.

“I wanted to help my family members in a time of crisis and contribute to my community,” he said.

The Harlingen resident was awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paramedic from TSTC in 2020.

“While I was a student in the EMS program, I was hired as a part-time EMT (emergency medical technician) with the South Texas Emergency Care Foundation in Harlingen. My job was to ensure the vehicle unit and the equipment were in safe operating condition. I also responded to calls and transferred patients to hospitals.”

Martinez had previously worked at that company after his military service.

“I held the jobs of a paramedic, flight paramedic and field supervisor for a duration of eight years,” he said. “As a paramedic, I responded to calls and emergencies where I helped patients in the situation of a life-threatening emergency. As a flight paramedic, I performed an on-scene quick response with a nurse in a helicopter. In the supervisory role, I was responsible for overseeing, scheduling and allocating the paramedics and EMTs.”

Martinez sees something of himself in his students.

“It takes great dedication to educate medical students on the EMS structure and discipline,” he said. “It was fantastic to see the students’ engagement in this recent fall semester. It reminded me of my experience in the program.”

Oscar Cortez, a TSTC EMS instructor, said Martinez is a charismatic and empathetic instructor.

“Luis is excellent in creating an environment where students want to learn,” he said. “His use of work stories in the industry is strategic with his instruction. It enhances how and what the students are learning. He sets the example of professionalism at every opportunity.”

Martinez credits his career success to his training at TSTC.

“My student experience was well designed, and it still is,” he said. “My instructors instilled the importance of demonstrating compassion, rapport, and being confident with patient care.”

Martinez said the EMT students benefit from the combination of online classes and in-person labs.

“The adjustability for the students is great because they can balance their personal and college life,” he said. “Due to that adjustability, I instruct the EMT students once per week. They return refreshed and … ready to begin hands-on training.”

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.

Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

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