James Johnson (left), a TSTC Emergency Medical Services student, inserts a catheter into the chest cavity of a medical manikin while fellow student America Cruz observes during a recent lab session.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program is training students to meet the growing demand for emergency medical professionals across Texas.

America Cruz, of McAllen, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paramedic at TSTC.

“I work as a full-time EMT with an ambulance service in McAllen outside of college,” she said. “I work directly with pediatric patients. I get to know them on a one-on-one basis. Studying to become a paramedic will allow me to provide a higher level of treatment for patients.”

James Johnson, of Harlingen, is a certified EMT who is also studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paramedic at the college.

“Seeing the impact that an EMT makes has influenced me to continue my education,” he said.

Pedro Moreno Jr. is director of support services and training for the South Texas Emergency Care (STEC) Foundation.

STEC is always looking for individuals to fill an EMT and paramedic position on our staff,” he said. “We are a great supporter of the TSTC EMS program in Harlingen.”

Ruben Ramirez is one of the instructors in TSTC’s EMS program.

“We prepare our students through our instructors’ experience in the field of paramedicine — especially with scenarios and lab simulations,” he said. “Our goal is to fill the EMS shortage. Some of the technologies we incorporate into hands-on training include our immersive classroom, Lifecast medical manikins and iSimulate monitors. These give students the realism of responding, treating and transporting our simulated patients without moving the patient from one room to another.”

According to onetonline.org, the need for paramedics was expected to grow 19% between 2020 and 2030 in Texas, where the average annual salary 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.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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