Category Archives: Brownwood

TSTC works to fill paramedic need in Texas

(ABILENE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College is working to fill a need in Texas and the nation.

Ronnie Pitts, the statewide director of TSTC’s Emergency Medical Services program, said the need for paramedics is vital. TSTC will begin the next paramedic courses in Brownwood this fall.

“It has been difficult to fill the need for paramedics in Texas and nationwide,” Pitts said. “We just cannot turn them out fast enough.”

According to, the need for paramedics in Texas is expected to grow 11 percent by 2028.

To become a paramedic, a person must first be a certified emergency medical technician. The EMT certificate is a two-semester program at TSTC. The first semester covers the core EMT courses that allow students to sit for the National Registry certification exam. The second semester has online courses, including medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology.

For those who choose to continue, the four-semester paramedic program begins.

One of the paramedic program highlights is the final semester capstone, in which students are paired with a seasoned paramedic during an internship. When that is complete, students will be eligible to test for the National Registry paramedic certification.

Pitts said average annual salaries for paramedics vary across the state, from $30,660 in the Harlingen region to $31,750 in the Abilene region, according to Austin-Round Rock has the highest average salary at $47,750. The statewide average salary is $35,940.

Many TSTC graduates have praised the program and the quality of its instructors, who have worked in the field.

“You know you are going to pass and make it through,” said John Hendrix, a 2020 graduate of the paramedic program. “The instructors make sure you are prepared to pass the National Registry. That is one of the best things about the program. The instructors want you to succeed.”

TSTC offers the EMS program in Abilene, Brownwood, and Harlingen. Students can use the latest technology during lab sessions and also work online to complete assignments.

“I did not realize we would have so much one-on-one time and be able to work with each other,” said current paramedic student Erik Duenes. “I knew there would be studying, but to come here on Wednesdays and execute what we have learned is the best part of the week.”

Pitts said the program aims to prepare paramedics with skills, and behavior to succeed.

“Our graduates are successful and are helping people on a daily basis,” he said.

For more information on the program, visit

TSTC student adds paramedic to family’s list of first responders

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Anthony Monaco has been around first responders his entire life.

When Monaco lived in New York, his father was a volunteer firefighter, and his mother was a nurse. After his father’s job moved the family to Fort Worth, Monaco wanted to continue the family tradition.

After high school, Monaco attended a firefighter academy and was hired by the Stephenville Fire Department. He said the department operates both the fire and emergency medical services operations for the community.

Monaco completed an EMS program at his fellow firefighters’ suggestion and decided to take it one step further. He enrolled in Texas State Technical College’s Emergency Medical Services Paramedic program and now is nearing graduation.

“My entire life has led me to TSTC, and I love it,” he said.

Monaco always enjoyed watching his father rush out to a fire call.

“It was an all-volunteer department, and I knew he was helping people,” he said. “When I was a kid, I would run around the house with his bunker gear on. I knew being a first responder was in my blood.”

Moving from New York to Texas, Monaco said he did not know what to expect. He was surprised at how quickly he was able to adapt to a different environment.

“Texas grabbed me from the start. Everyone has been so friendly,” he said. “I am definitely making this my home.”

That friendliness carried over to TSTC.

“Everyone is so welcoming and wants to take care of us. They want everyone to succeed,” he said.

That includes his instructor, Tim Scalley.

“He works daily to put the things he learns in class into his work,” Scalley said. “It is good for paramedics to learn how to do things in class so they are prepared for the next call they go on during work.”

In working toward becoming a paramedic, Monaco admitted that some of the lab sessions were difficult.

“The trauma scenarios we go through are some of the hardest,” he said. “We have to do a full assessment of the situation of a multivehicle accident and fix each life threat at a time.”

Monaco, who describes himself as a lifelong athlete, likened being in the lab environment to being on a practice field.

“I love sports and always told myself to practice like I would play the game,” he said. “I know the better I practice, the better I will perform in the field. That is how I am pursuing my education.”

Monaco said he noticed his critical thinking skills are heightened when working in the lab.

“I have to keep my mind open, like I would in the field, to assess what I am doing on a patient,” he said. “This is the best way for anyone to learn.”

Monaco said knowing he will join an elite list of people known as paramedics will be rewarding. Texas has more than 20,000 paramedics employed statewide, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The need for paramedics is expected to increase 11% by 2028 in Texas, according to

“My family is proud I am pursuing a dream, and I am proud to be doing it at TSTC,” he said.

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Lifeguard Ambulance Service EMTs travel similar paths to TSTC

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Two Lifeguard Ambulance Service emergency medical technicians began their medical careers in similar fashion.

Michelle Bates and Brittney Evans did not immediately begin studying to become EMTs. Now the two first responders are completing their third semester in Texas State Technical College’s Emergency Medical Services Paramedic program.

Bates, of Fort Worth, earned a college scholarship to play soccer and originally wanted to study clinical psychology.

“It was a couple of years, but I decided I wanted to study emergency medical services,” she said. “I first brought it up to my parents, and they were not sure that was something I should do.”

A couple of years later, Bates returned to her parents and was met with a positive response.

“I really got into the work, and it became my passion,” she said. “My parents are now 100 percent supportive of my decision.”

Evans, of Bangs, said she took time after high school to think about her career options. It was not until 2013 that becoming an EMT entered her mind.

“I fell in love with the EMS world,” she said.

Like Bates, Evans said her family has been supportive of her decision to become a paramedic. The mother of one and with one on the way said it has been hard to juggle family, work and school.

“I am ecstatic to get this done. I am so happy I have gotten this far,” she said. “My husband has been there the entire time supporting me.”

Bates had to face adversity during the past few months. She contracted the coronavirus and was quarantined during and after her illness. But she persevered in her studies through the help of TSTC EMS instructor Tim Scalley, who pushed her to get back into the lab sessions.

“He has been amazing and has taught us so much,” she said. “I had to tell myself to not kill myself to get everything done when I got back. I am not suffering now.”

Both Bates and Evans said their co-workers are excited for them to complete the program. They plan to stay with the company, but Evans said that does have one disadvantage.

“It is hard to help someone you know, but it is good that we are helping people,” she said.

Bates said the Paramedic program is challenging, but the rewards pay off.

“You have to know that you are here to learn and things are not going to happen quickly,” she said. “The best advice I can give anyone is to stay calm and take it one day at a time.”

Evans offered similar advice for prospective students.

“You are going to have to hunker down and be serious about the program. There will be a lot of sacrifices,” she said. “I have learned that the more you put into it, the more you get out of what you learn.”

When Bates and Evans complete the program, they will join more than 26,000 EMT-paramedics employed in the state, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services

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Technology helps prepare TSTC Paramedic students for almost any situation

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Students in Texas State Technical College’s Emergency Medical Services program are trained to be prepared for almost anything they might encounter in the field.

By using the iSimulate REALITi simulator in lab sessions, instructor Tim Scalley can program various situations for students to address. The simulator also can mimic the cardiac monitors of area EMS services for future paramedics to train on systems they will use at work.

“There is a lot going on and a lot to remember,” said Paramedic student Anthony Monaco, who works for the Stephenville Fire Department as a firefighter and an emergency medical technician. “The simulator allows me to get the kinks out while I am in class. I am able to work on what I need to do on the equipment we have available.”

Scalley remembered when students used decommissioned equipment, but technology has advanced to train paramedics with REALITi.

“In the past, we would train with decommissioned equipment. A lot of them did the same thing, but the companies’ equipment is not always the same,” he said. “It is nice to have the technology available for people to learn their system.”

Scalley said many students complete the program and begin working for Lifeguard Ambulance Service in Brownwood. He uses the simulator to program a patient’s situation and walks students through treatment from start to finish.

“Sometimes he will throw a curveball at us, and that is what happens in the field,” Monaco said. “I like to practice in the lab. I know that practice makes perfect.”

Scalley will relay vital signs that he has programmed to students to make adjustments on the patient.

“The life of a patient can change on the fly,” he said.

But not everything in the EMS lab is done on a manikin-style patient.

During a recent session, paramedic students were able to talk to young children and their parents about simulated symptoms. The scenario included all coronavirus safety protocols, and Scalley said it was similar to a doctor’s visit.

“We have to complete visual assessments with children, and we are able to do that with local families,” he said. “All of the training will pay off for the students.”

Scalley also has a stress reliever for the class. He likes to pull out the CPR dummies attached to a computer program for a competition to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

“It provides the students with good, accurate information on how they are performing CPR while also involved in a friendly competition,” Scalley said.

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TSTC hosts welding competition for high school students

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – Welders are naturally competitive.

Texas State Technical College Welding Technology instructor Stephen Hope decided to use a competition to promote the program and offer scholarships. High school students from New Castle and Trent competed on March 24 for a chance to win a welding scholarship.

On March 31, the competition will continue with high school students from Breckenridge, Rochester, and Seymour, with each student welding a 6-by-6-inch cube. The top three students who earn the highest scores will receive scholarships for TSTC’s Welding Technology program in Breckenridge. Each of the 17 competitors will receive a gift from TSTC.

TSTC will announce scholarship recipients on March 31.

“Our goal was to get more exposure to our program and to have some fun,” Hope said. “When we first started talking about doing a competition, we knew it would be a good way to get more kids into our facility.”

During the competition, everyone followed coronavirus safety protocols, and only five of the welding bays were used. The March 31 event will be divided into two sessions to ensure safety.

The students worked for up to two hours to make their cubes. Once the cubes were complete, Hope checked them for leaks, which accounted for the majority of points. TSTC Welding instructors Daniel Aguirre and Greg Nicholas then checked the cubes for clean welds, spatter removal, how they fit together, and quality.

At the end of the first day of the competition, Hope said he was pleased with the students’ efforts.

“The quality was really good for these students. I was really pleased with what I saw them accomplish,” he said.

Hope said the competition was initially scheduled to be held virtually. But after additional discussion, it was decided that allowing a certain number of students to come to campus would help promote the program.

“The most important thing was to get the students here and use the equipment,” said Chris Johnson, TSTC’s lead student recruitment representative for West Texas. “Using the equipment and seeing what we offer shows everyone why we are so special. It is also cool for the students.”

Raquel Mata, TSTC’s associate provost in West Texas, said it gave students the chance to meet instructors.

“The students were able to talk to our instructors, and we added the element of a competition,” she said. “Welders are known for their competitiveness, and we wanted to offer a fun event.”

A similar competition is scheduled for April 12 in Brownwood.

“This will be a great chance for me and the other instructors to talk to students about what we offer,” Aguirre said. “I am excited to see what the response will be like.”

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TSTC alumnus uses Business Management Technology skills daily

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – The skills that Josh Barron learned in Texas State Technical College’s Business Management Technology program are paying off daily.

Barron earned his associate degree in 2016 and is currently a training specialist for the Center for Life Resources in Brownwood. He also helps with the company’s grant writing process and credits TSTC for his success.

“I manage the training for each department at Center for Life Resources,” he said. “I am in charge of recording all the certification for those training sessions. I have a lot to do when it comes to documents, the policies and procedures for the training department, and getting everyone scheduled for training.”

Barron began working for the Center for Life Resources through a grant. He was first responsible for helping veterans with utilities and rent. Once the grant expired, he remained with the company in his current position.

“I decided I wanted to stay because it is a great company to work for,” he said.

Barron credits the skills he learned at TSTC for helping him today. He said his time studying at TSTC were two great years.

“Getting to learn something new was awesome, especially since I was the only member of my family to graduate from college,” he said.

His skills are paying off in different ways.

“I have encountered several people who do not have the same technical skills I learned at TSTC,” Barron said. “I assist them with many different issues on a daily basis.”

It took Barron some time to decide to enroll in college.

“I wanted to go to college for my family and myself,” he said.

He is glad that he chose to enroll at TSTC and was pleased with how well his time was spent on campus.

“Everyone was very welcoming, nice, kind, and offered to assist me,” Barron said, adding that he wanted to help others by being part of the work-study program.

When people learn that Barron earned an associate degree, they want to know more about TSTC and the degree programs. He is quick to point them toward TSTC.

“I always guide them to more information,” he said. “The culture and atmosphere are great at TSTC. I think for anyone looking to further their education, TSTC is the best place to start.”

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Del Toro’s welding confidence grows at TSTC

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Like some Welding Technology students, Rogelio Del Toro did not have much welding experience before enrolling at Texas State Technical College.

His inexperience did not stop him from setting a goal of earning a certificate and finding a job, however.

“My father did some welding, and I tried it in middle school,” Del Toro said. “I figured after high school I would study welding, and I plan to work on wind turbines.”

Del Toro’s inexperience is turning into confidence, according to TSTC welding instructor Daniel Aguirre.

“He has shown a lot of improvement since his first semester,” he said.

Del Toro plans to earn his certificate and graduate in August. He wants to prove to himself that he can work as a welder.

Aguirre’s teaching style and learning by watching other students is part of Del Toro’s strategy to succeed.

“I like the way Daniel teaches us things. He has been out in the field and tells us what to expect,” he said. “I like the way we can talk to each other and look at the different techniques in class. That helps us improve as students.”

During the course of his studies, Del Toro has noticed a change in his approach before taking a project to Aguirre for review.

“I have learned how to inspect my own work before showing it to Daniel. We need to be confident in our work,” he said.

Aguirre said one thing he wants all of his students to have is confidence.

“Students need to build and maintain that confidence all the time,” he said.

Del Toro, who was raised in Brownwood, hopes more people will look at the Welding Technology program, which is available at all 10 of TSTC’s campuses around the state.

“This is a good program that will teach you a career,” he said.

A career opportunity for Del Toro was another reason he enrolled at TSTC.

“The hands-on aspect is great, and I really liked having people available to help me with resumes and interviews,” he said. “I have been able to learn and achieve a lot of things in school that I would not have dreamt of before. TSTC has made that possible.”

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TSTC Business Management Technology prepares students for a range of career options

(ABILENE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s online Business Management Technology program prepares students for a wide range of career options.

Graduates of the program have worked in different areas of business, from accounting to business management. Earning an associate degree or certificate has opened doors for many of the program’s graduates.

Ron Howard is now working for the Taylor County Veterans’ Service Office after earning an associate degree in 2019.

“Everything I learned in the program is helping me tremendously in my job. It has helped me with all of the computer skills and with Word documents,” he said. “My job all day is working on a computer.”

Howard said he could not have succeeded without the help of the TSTC instructors.

“The one-on-one time they give you is great. They do not tell you, ‘Here is the work, go do it’; they make sure you understand what to do,” he said. “The instructors will set you up to succeed.”

Howard would visit his former instructors before the coronavirus pandemic and now communicates with them via email.

“I hope we can get together again. They helped me so much,” the U.S. Marine Corps veteran said.

Instructor Duston Brooks said many students, including Howard, take the learning further by earning a bachelor’s degree.

With TSTC offering a certification and degree program online, Brooks said the cost is minimal.

“Students will need a laptop and good internet access, of course,” he said. 

Brooks said students would learn the skills needed for a business to succeed. These include a clear understanding of accounting and principles; efficient management processes; practical verbal, electronic, and visual communication skills, work; how to work with supervisors, customers, employees, and stakeholders; and knowledge of computer software, including word processing spreadsheets, and presentation software.

Small-business owners have taken the course to improve the company’s management end, Brooks said. He also has had students who worked in physical labor positions but took the course to work in an office.

Howard said the program offers people career choices.

“I think people should embrace what they learn in the program. They will succeed,” he said. “TSTC’s Business Management Technology program is the best out there.”

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Amos enjoys challenges of TSTC’s Welding Technology

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Comanche’s Caden Amos likes the challenges he faces in Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology classes.

He is working toward a certificate and looking forward to the day when he has a job. With instructor Daniel Aguirre providing his own work experience, Amos knows he will be well prepared when he graduates.

“Daniel likes to throw a curve at us,” Amos said. “He knows when he does that, we will be ready to take on anything.”

Amos started the program with no welding experience, but Aguirre has seen his progression over the last two semesters.

“He came in here with zero experience and has picked up things really well,” Aguirre said. “He is actually understanding what goes into making a good welder.”

Amos said he had trouble learning the welding fundamentals, but credits Aguirre and other students for helping him.

“I would take my project to Daniel, and he would say I needed to toy with it,” Amos said. “Some of the guys in here have welding experience, and I know I can go to them to see how things can be improved.”

Aguirre said Amos’ work ethic will lead him to a career.

“He puts great effort into his work. He knows that if it is not how I like it, he will keep working to make it right,” he said.

Amos said he does not have any regrets about choosing TSTC and a welding career.

“I was thinking about becoming a mechanical engineer, but took a shot in the dark and tried welding,” he said. “I knew TSTC would prepare me for a career.”

Once he is working, Amos knows the environment will be different.

“I want to see how everything I am learning relates to the real world and not in a shop setting,” he said. “I know when I am working I am going to have to learn on the fly. Daniel is preparing me for that.”

Welding runs in Amos’ family, and he hopes to work in the West Texas oil fields like his brother.

“I hope to follow in my brother’s footsteps,” he said.

Amos said more people should consider a career in welding and taking classes at TSTC.

“The staff here is great. If you fall behind, everyone will help you get caught up,” he said. “Everyone here wants you to succeed.”

Welding Technology is available at each of TSTC’s 10 campuses.

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TSTC Welding Technology student makes dad proud

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Lacey Watson, of Coleman, is now able to show her father some of the latest welding techniques.

Watson, a Welding Technology student at Texas State Technical College, is working toward a certificate in the program, but she is most pleased with showing what she has learned to her father, a longtime welder.

“My dad is really happy with what I am learning,” she said. “When I show him some of the things we are learning, he tells me, ‘We didn’t do that way back in the day.’ I know he is proud of me.”

Instructor Daniel Aguirre is also proud of Watson’s progress.

“At first, she was having a lot of difficulties,” he said. “She has shown really good technique, but when she gets in a rut, she can stay there.”

Aguirre said he motivates Watson, helps her move on and is pleased with the results.

“I will tell her to try some different things to see if it works,” he said. “Once she gets it, she takes off with it and does a great job.”

Watson wanted to be a welder because of her father. She said he is preparing for her to join him in the field.

“He is already asking me about a truck with a welding bed,” she said. “I have to tell him to slow down and let me finish school.”

Watson likes her time in the lab with Aguirre and her classmates.

“So far, I have loved it,” she said. “The best way for me to learn is by doing things. I like having people here to help me.”

One of the advantages Watson has in the lab is that she can work at her own pace.

“Daniel allows us to work until we get the project done. That is helpful for me,” she said.

Having Aguirre as an instructor and access to hands-on training made it even better for Watson.

“TSTC is a great place to learn,” she said. “My uncle attended TSTC, and I knew if I gave it a chance I would love it. I am glad I chose TSTC.”

Watson said once she completes her certification requirements in August, she will be ready to join her father.

“Prior to starting, he told me I could work for him. But I wanted to go to school,” she said. “I cannot wait to be working with him.”

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