Allen Hurtado, Rebecca Sanchez

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Emergency Medical Services students from Texas State Technical College recently learned about some of the career paths available to them during a visit by members of the city of Pharr’s Emergency Medical Services recruitment team, some of whom are also TSTC alumni.

The EMS professionals from Pharr discussed new equipment that their department has received, such as ambulances, power stretchers, a device that delivers chest compression during cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and a video laryngoscope. Additional topics included descriptions of the duties of tactical SWAT medics and flight paramedics.

Danny Ramirez, EMS chief for the city of Pharr, expressed appreciation for TSTC’s EMS program.

“Pharr EMS seeks individuals who want to take care of their community, are well-rounded and will not be afraid to take the lead,” he said. “TSTC’s EMS program brings great value to our department because it allows us to have EMTs (emergency medical technicians) that currently work and attend class.”

TSTC alumna Diana Garza, deputy chief of the non-emergency division for Pharr EMS, said the eagerness from the candidates was encouraging.

“It was nice to see them inquire about the different career options we have,” she said.

TSTC alumnus Cris Cisneros, deputy chief of flight for Pharr EMS, said the department is seeking potential leaders.

“The EMS students are ready for the experience and have leadership qualities,” he said.

TSTC student Allen Hurtado, of San Benito, was pleased with the recruitment presentation.

“I enjoyed the presentation because they engaged with us,” he said. “I appreciated their response to our questions. I expressed interest in the tactical medic career path.”

Hurtado grew an interest in the career field after he was involved in a car accident as a teenager.

“The EMTs that treated me were awesome and ensured I would be safe,” he said.

Hurtado became aware of the need for EMTs because some of his friends talked about staffing shortages during the pandemic.

“A few friends that are EMTs worked 24-hour shifts because of COVID-19,” he said. “They told me there was a shortage for that job. I realized I had to do my part to help my community.”

Hurtado earned a certification of completion in Emergency Medical Services – EMT from TSTC’s Harlingen campus in 2021. Now he is working toward a certificate of completion in Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic.

TSTC student Rebecca Sanchez, of Port Isabel, said her favorite part of the presentation was the flight paramedic discussion.

“I am interested in pursuing that career after I gain more experience,” she said.

Sanchez became aware of TSTC’s EMS program through a social media advertisement.

“I was pursuing biology at the time,” she said. “I knew I wanted to try health care. Then I enrolled in the EMS program, and it has been great ever since.”

She is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paramedic at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.

According to, the need for paramedics and emergency medical technicians in Texas is expected to grow 11% by 2028.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paramedic, as well as several certificates of completion, at its Abilene, Brownwood and Harlingen campuses.

To learn more about TSTC, visit

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