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STC Announces College Credit Opportunity Certified EMTs

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South Texas College is launching an accelerated 8-week program tailored for certified Emergency Medical Technicians seeking to advance their career pathway to becoming paramedics. STC Image
South Texas College is launching an accelerated 8-week program tailored for certified Emergency Medical Technicians seeking to advance their career pathway to becoming paramedics. STC Image
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By Selene Rodriguez

In response to the pressing need for more trained paramedics in the health care sector, South Texas College is gearing up to launch an accelerated 8-week program catered to certified Emergency Medical Technicians lacking college credit.

This new opportunity will allow existing EMS personnel, who earned their certification through non-accredited proprietary schools, to fast-track their education toward advanced EMT training and a Paramedic Associate of Applied Science.

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“We see many EMTs struggle to advance in their career without college credit so we decided to create an easier and accessible pathway for them,” said STC Emergency Medical Services Program Chair Carlos Tello. “Working closely with many providers in our region we know this is a need. We want more trained emergency professionals out there and this is how we can help.”

The pilot program, set to start on March 18, reduces in half the college’s existing Basic EMT certification program, which is 16 weeks long, and will consist of primarily online classes.

“It’s a hybrid program designed to keep face-to-face instruction to a minimum, understanding that students have jobs to balance,” added Tello. “We’ve built strong relationships with local employers who support the need for more prepared individuals and are flexible with their schedules. In the end, they’re winning a more experienced employee and that’s just better for the community in general. It’s a win-win for all.”

Richard Becerra, clinical coordinator at Med Care EMS in McAllen, echoed the importance of accessible education and advanced training for first responders, emphasizing the urgent need for such resources. 

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“The demand for trained paramedics is higher than ever before. With the aging population, growing cities and the expanded role of EMS in the community, it is safe to say that the workforce is struggling to keep up with the demand,” he said. “This program is particularly valuable as it increases the chances of EMTs advancing to higher-level certifications, directly benefiting those who rely on 911 services.”

Recognizing the hesitancy of many professionals to return to school, he emphasized the crucial support and encouragement from the community for first responders to take the next step in continuously enhancing their abilities and skills. 

“Advanced certifications not only improve patient care, but also offer higher pay and more job opportunities. As an employer of first responders, we’re constantly seeking qualified applicants who invest in their education,” he explained. “It’s entirely feasible to advance your certification while working, we currently have several employees pursuing advanced EMS certifications, and we fully support them in any way we can.”

Miriam Garza, Emergency Medical Technology instructor and STC EMS alum, highlighted that the students will not only have the opportunity to embark on this pathway, but will also have access to the college’s resources, including financial aid and  tutoring, and can utilize the school’s advanced training equipment.

“One of the primary requirements for application is to be state or nationally certified,” she explained. “Essentially, we’re just validating their experience and competency to facilitate their progression into our Advanced EMT certification, Paramedic program, or even our Paramedic to Registered Nurse transition. There are many possibilities.”

Tello emphasized that STC’s EMS program is continuously equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment, aimed at helping students reach their full potential and become valuable assets in ensuring community safety.

“Last year, we introduced a third ambulance to our fleet, fully equipped to provide our students with real-world experience. Additionally, each year, we’ve been fortunate to enhance our resources with a variety of equipment, such as stretchers, simulation medication and medical manikins,” he elaborated. “We are shaping future first responders and we take that responsibility seriously. Our ultimate goal is to develop well-prepared, versatile and skilled EMTs and paramedics who can effectively respond to any 911 call in the future.”

To apply visit the link form.jotform.com/232897843029165 and for more information about STC’s EMS program, visit nah.southtexascollege.edu/ or call 956-872-3100.

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