(ABILENE, Texas) – Time for an upgrade? The Emergency Medical Services program at Texas State Technical College in Abilene recently created a program that brings more opportunity to current and future students.
The EMS program now gives certified paramedics and emergency medical technicians college credit for some certifications they already have. The certifications are transferred toward earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Emergency Medical Services Paramedic to becoming licensed paramedics.
“We are offering an opportunity for students who already have some experience,” said Ronnie Pitts, an EMS instructor and the college’s statewide department chair. “We evaluate the certifications they have already obtained, and they can transfer those certifications toward our degree plan here at TSTC.”
To take advantage of the program’s credit by certification, a student must already be a certified EMT or paramedic.
“When these students graduate, they will have a college degree on top of all the previous certifications they already obtained to work in the field to be more marketable in their job hunt. It helps our students save time and money, and to increase their growth in the field,” Pitts said.
Pitts stated that students can save time because instead of having to retake the basic courses to be admitted into a paramedic program, TSTC will accept the Texas Department of State Health Services certifications as college credit after a student credit evaluation is completed along with a $25 fee per course that is transferred. Students are only required to take 15 hours, or 20 percent, of the degree plan at TSTC to earn the associate degree.
Randall Noe, a firefighter/paramedic with the Mineral Wells Fire Department, earned his certifications through another institution and was able to transfer all of his credits to TSTC.
“I want the degree because it can further your career,” Noe said. “I’m able to earn it online, so it doesn’t interfere with my work schedule much.”
This will be Noe’s first degree. He is expected to graduate in summer of 2019.
Zachary Henderson, a firefighter/paramedic with the Baytown Fire Department, earned his EMT basic certification at TSTC but his paramedic certification through a third party.
“My time at TSTC really helped me in the long run because it laid the foundation for other training,” Henderson said. “My goal is to become a teacher, and the degree is important to have because it gives me that option and the opportunity to go even further with my degree and get a bachelor’s.”
Henderson chose the program with TSTC because he can complete it online while still working in the Houston area. Henderson is expected to graduate with his associate degree in spring of 2019.
Once a student graduates from the program and passes the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam, he or she can work with emergency medical services, schools, hospitals or as safety officers.
TSTC’s EMS program is always accepting applications and hosts an information session every Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Industrial Technology Center at 2082 Quantum Loop in Abilene.