How Much More Can I Earn with an Associate Degree?

Community College Isn’t Just a Stepping Stone

For many people, the community college experience is a major step toward improving their quality of life. Every semester, students of backgrounds ranging from recent high school graduates to adults continuing their education enroll in community colleges across the country to start their journeys to great careers. But, what if I told you that the journey isn’t as long as you think, and that some of the best returns on your investment come with an associate’s degree?nurse

If you’re skeptical about the idea that earning an associate’s degree alone can improve your ability to be competitive in the work force, then consider a few points. A person with an associate degree earns on average $15,200 more each year throughout the course of a working lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma. Community colleges tend to offer associate degrees and certification programs related to industries in their areas. At TGCCCC, we work with businesses and organizations within our region so we can offer the programs and training that help our students land jobs in their respective industries.

Gulf Coast Jobs for A.S. Degrees

In the past year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a list with the top 20 highest paying occupations with an associate degree, with positions ranging from about $50,000 to more than $120,000 in median annual salary. It’s estimated that around 1.6 million new and replacement jobs will be added in the Gulf Coast region by 2020, and these positions will be centered on the healthcare, skilled labor, petrochemical, and technology industries that are growing and flourishing in our region.

The tuition and fees for the average campus-based or online associate degree program average around $5,000 for two years of study. While earning your associate degree at a community college, you’ll have the flexibility to take as many or as few classes as you want, with no penalty for not meeting the status of full-time student. That gives you ultimate flexibility for your work or family commitments. An associate degree education from a community college opens doors for your future at a fraction of the cost of a bachelor’s degree from a four-year university.

One of the great things about making your way through the journey of life is that you never stop learning, whether that’s inside the classroom or out. We know that some of you may choose to return to the classroom later after earning you’re A.S. to pursue a bachelor’s and grow your skillset and advancement opportunities. And, those hours you spent on the associate degree transfer to state universities to apply to your four-year degree. With an associate degree, you’ve taken an important step toward a better career and more opportunities that you simply don’t have with just a high school diploma or GED.

By investing in an associate degree at a community college, you’ll receive the education you deserve from faculty who have worked in the field and can help you become career-ready in an intimate setting. We hope you choose to further your education at a Texas Gulf Coast Community College.

How a 1-Year Certificate Turned into a Dream Job for a San Jacinto College Student

Robin Coto turned a one-year certificate from San Jacinto College into a dream job.

Coto has come a long way in a short time, starting out as a painter’s helper and working his way up to a management position at Penske’s Houston regional collision repair center. The center provides collision repair services for all Penske lease vehicles for the entire Gulf Coast region.

Coto earned an occupational certificate in automotive collision repair technology from San Jacinto College in 2007, and shortly afterwards was hired in an entry-level position at Penske. With technical skills and enthusiasm, he went from painter’s helper to lead painter in a matter of months. He had dreamed of such a job, and he was determined to excel.

“I always enjoyed working with cars and trucks,” Coto commented. “In high school, after painting my first car, I knew at that moment that is what I wanted to do.”

Auto bodywork is a specialized, skilled craft, and Coto knew that to go far would require training.

“I chose San Jacinto College because I had heard their training was top notch and very hands-on,” he said. “Glen Kirkwood, collision repair instructor at the North Campus, interacts well with students and keeps them engaged. He would explain to us students how to do paint and bodywork, but he would not do the work for us. We would have to learn through experience. I think that’s why the program is so successful.”

Coto has been doing vehicle bodywork for 12 years now. He especially likes working as production manager at the Penske collision repair center, which services a wide range of vehicles, from trucks and vans to large 18-wheeler rigs. Kirkwood is proud of the way Coto has applied himself and rapidly advanced.

“What’s really impressive is how Robin has adapted to a different style of bodywork,” he commented. “Our program does not specifically train to do bodywork on larger vehicles like 18-wheelers, which requires working with quite a few different tools and techniques. It shows how our students can excel if they are willing to grow and continue to learn.”

A large percentage of the employees at the Penske collision repair shop are San Jac Certified, having graduated from the San Jacinto College auto collision repair program.

“When possible, I try to hire a San Jac graduate when a new position comes open,” commented Coto. “They are well trained, dedicated, and have enthusiasm. They want to learn new techniques and are eager to keep up with new trends and developments. That’s a good work ethic.”

Coto’s training in auto collision repair has led to other unexpected dividends.

“Some colleagues and I started a used-car sales business,” he said. “We buy cars at auction, I do body repair work and do some body customizing, and we then offer the vehicles for sale. Not long after start-up, the business was turning a profit.”

Graduates of San Jacinto College’s auto collision technology program generally have no problem finding jobs. During the past five years, the job placement rate for graduates has been 90 percent or higher. The pay scale is generally above average compared to other skilled craft jobs. According to the Texas Workforce Commission Texas Cares website, the median annual wage in the Gulf Coast region for auto body technicians is $42,432.

“Considering that a person with only one year of college training can be earning around $42,000 not long after graduation, I think that is very impressive,” commented Eddie Foster, North Campus industrial technology department chair. “That’s as good as some career fields that require four-year college degrees.”

San Jacinto College offers automotive collision repair technology courses and degree options at the North Campus. For more information, please visit

43 Community College Students Receive Petrochemical Scholarships

With the Gulf Coast area petrochemical industry needing more than 50,000 new workers within the decade, the nine community colleges of TGCCCC have set out to find and train this “next generation” of skilled workers, enabled by a grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation.

Now in its third year, the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI) has spread the word across the region that salaries in this expanding industry average $99,700.  It’s not surprising that enrollments in training programs are growing significantly.

On Thursday, Aug. 13, representatives from all nine partnering colleges and ExxonMobil met in the Nolan Ryan Center on the Alvin Community College campus to present more than $60,000 in scholarships to 43 selected students.

CCPI Scholarship Recipients

Representatives from nine community colleges and ExxonMobil gathered for a photo with recipients of the 2015 CCPI scholarship in the Nolan Ryan Center in Alvin, Texas, following a luncheon for the recipients.

Students heard a rousing message from the manager of the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant, Woody Paul, who reminded students that, while their backgrounds and stories may differ, each one is seeking to improve their lives through careers in the petrochemical industry. He applauded their discipline, tenacity, and determination as they juggled career training with family and current jobs.

In all, ExxonMobil has contributed more than $1.5 million towards training skilled new workers. This is the second consecutive year that CCPI and ExxonMobil have brought together new recipients to present scholarships and encourage them in their educational pursuits.

2015 CCPI Scholarship Recipients

From Alvin Community College:

  • Joshua Huerta, Process Technology
  • Matthew Mitchell, Process Technology
  • Shemilore Oguntoye, Process Technology
  • Robert Robinson, Process Technology

From Brazosport College:

  • Mark Morales, Process Technology
  • Hong To, Welding Technology

From College of the Mainland:

  • Christine Guevara, Process Technology
  • Byron Howard, Process Technology
  • Danny Magee, Jr., Process Technology
  • Robert Ware, Mechanical Maintenance Technology

From Galveston College:

  • Frank Ross, Electrical and Electronics Technology
  • Samantha Weber, Electrical and Electronics Technology
  • Angelica Yanez, Electrical and Electronics Technology

From Houston Community College:

  • Samson Akinlade, Engineering
  • Johnathan Barra, Electrician Technology
  • Victor Lopez, Welding Technology
  • Vaibhav Patel, Drafting and Design Technology
  • Binh Pham, Drafting and Design Technology
  • Tuyen Le, Engeineering Technology

From Lee College:

  • Javier Barajas, Instrumentation
  • Blake Bogie, Process Technology
  • Eleazar Cantu, Pipe Design Technology
  • Lawrence Daniel, Process Technology
  • Ellis Dorrance, Instrumentation
  • Marisela Puente, Process Technology
  • Martin Resendez, CADD

From Lone Star College:

  • Justin Cassaro, Automated Manufacturing
  • Said Charouch, Petroleum Data Technology
  • Milton Edwards, Automated Manufacturing
  • Laura Gimenez, Chemical Engineering
  • Stephen Hilliard, Welding Technology
  • Shannon Lee, Petroleum Data Technology

From San Jacinto College:

  • Jonathan Gallo, Instrumentation
  • Gladys Jackson, Process Technology
  • Laura Plazibat, Process Technology
  • Austen Riche, Process Technology

From Wharton County Junior College:

  • Heather Bannert, Process Technology
  • Dillon Baumgarten, Process Technology
  • Brian Hausler, Process Technology
  • Carl Jones, Process Technology
  • Matthew Krenek, Process Technology
  • Willie Walker, Process Technology
  • Dakota Wallace, Process Technology

You Can Afford to Go to College

TGCCCC Petrochemical DegreesEverybody can afford to go to college, now. It’s true! You might have to do some planning, be really smart with your money, and commit to getting good grades so you don’t waste your money. But, Texas community colleges can pave the way for you to earn a degree in just two years that will get you a great salary … at less than the cost of a used economy car.

If you watch or read news, it’s no secret that rising tuition, student debt loans that can take years to pay off, and a questionable economy have made many people scared to pursue higher education. What many people don’t realize about college, though, is that it is not a one-size-fits-all plan. A variety of options exist for students from all walks of life and with differing interests and career goals.

And, in Texas, the economy and population are growing at a rate faster than the rest of the U.S., offering fantastic career prospects in technology, infrastructure, manufacturing, oil and gas/petrochemical, education, and healthcare. Research the jobs being created in your community and see how they compare to your interests, then start thinking about what education you need to get the job you want.

Many students choose the path of a college education at a four-year public or private university and moving away from home. And, those students are often the ones who end up in the dire news stories.

Have a Game Plan
for Your Education

Whether you are soon to be graduating high school or re-entering school to continue your education, there are several things everyone should do to prepare.

For High School Students:

  • Ensure you are in good academic standing with your counselor and on track to graduate.
  • Ensure with your counselor that all necessary Texas Assessment of Knowledge & Skills (TAKS) and State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing is complete.
  • Ensure your SAT and/or ACT scores qualify you for college-level work and enrollment.

For Non-High School Graduates:

  • Take the General Education Development (GED) test to qualify for enrollment.
  • Complete College Readiness Standard tests for college-level aptitude in basic subjects.

For many others, a combination of finances, time, work outside of school, and family responsibilities may prevent them from being able to have that “traditional” college experience. At Texas Gulf Coast Community Colleges, we want to break each of these down and help you understand what you will get out of your experience at our campuses and that “traditional” doesn’t always mean better.


First, we will start with finances by themselves, since they are a critical issue for people who are exploring a college education. At a private university, tuition and fees alone can cost $8,000 to $20,000 each semester. On the other hand, the cost of two years at a public university in Texas could cost upwards of $17,800. Over time this is less than what you would pay at a private university, but doesn’t include books, supplies, and room and board costs for a four-year university education, which come in addition to normal tuition and fees.

At a community college, tuition and fees for school start as low as $820 per semester. In addition to the lower price tag of community colleges, they also offer more financial assistance and flexibility than a four-year university. Many students are even eligible for federal grants covering some or all tuition and fees, grants for which do not need to be paid back. In fact, 35 percent of Texas college students qualify for and receive the federal Pell Grant each year. With these financial aid options, many students are able to complete two years of courses at a community college before transferring to a university, easing the financial burden of paying for school on the way to their bachelor’s degree.


Second, we will address time, work outside of school, and family responsibilities together as one. Community college is a great option for students who must work to pay for school, as well as for older adults who want to further their education. Community colleges offer open enrollment year-round, allowing you to take a flexible number of hours each semester with no penalty, in addition to offering evening and weekend classes. At a community college, it is entirely possible to work fulltime, take classes, and have time with your family each week while still receiving a quality education.


Now that you’ve seen the differences, you’re probably asking “Where can a community college education lead me?”

Graduates with technical certificates and associate degrees are in high demand. You probably did not know that nearly half of all Texas college students – some 700,000 people – enrolled in community college. This number is greater than the state’s public university, private university, and medical institutions combined. Many of these students are pursuing two-year degrees in fields related to the state’s booming energy, medical, and IT industries. A two-year associate degree can qualify you to go to work immediately in the healthcare industry or petrochemical industry, where you can earn $40,000 to $100,000+ annually.

We encourage everyone to choose the path that works best for themselves. At Texas Gulf Coast Community Colleges, we hope you choose to consider the possibilities and make us part of your path. Find out more about registering now to attend your local community college.

Biomedical Technicians Needed for Texas Healthcare

In today’s world, advancements in medical technology have enabled better diagnosis, surgical procedures and improved patient care. With the rising demand for healthcare services and the increased complexity of biomedical equipment, this field has a great job outlook for people with training.bmet

If you are interested in the healthcare industry, yet not particularly fond of blood or surgical procedures, biomedical technician is one of the few healthcare jobs appropriate for squeamish people. It is an exciting and stimulating career that combines knowledge from various fields, such as engineering, biology and bio-mechanical principles to design, develop, repair and maintain biological and health systems and products. In particular, the duties of a biomedical technician include testing parts, calibrating equipment, performing maintenance, and keeping repair logs of medical devices, such as monitors, imaging equipment and operating tables.

Biomedical technician jobs require working flexible hours under some pressure. Similar to other healthcare jobs, technicians sometimes have to work “on call” in case of emergencies when medical equipment needs immediate repair. They are also encouraged to stay updated on current medical technology, because the healthcare industry is increasingly dependent on the advancement of medical equipment to extend lives and improve patient treatment.

BMET – Biomedical Equipment Technician & Biomedical Electronics Technician

Two main specializations in the biomedical technician field are Biomedical Equipment Repair Technician and Biomedical Electronics Specialist. Both are responsible for testing, troubleshooting, maintaining and repairing general biomedical equipment in laboratories, healthcare facilities, and other personal care institutions. While a biomedical electronics specialist focuses more on handling and working with electronic devices themselves, a biomedical equipment technician can facilitate training sessions on medical equipment.


Employment of BMETs, similar to other healthcare jobs, is projected to grow much higher than the average job growth across industries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. With a two-year associate degree, a biomedical technician salary can be more than $40,000 annually to start, according to our BMET factsheet.

How to Become a Certified Biomedical Technician?

Entrance to biomedical technician jobs typically requires a biomedical technician associate degree specializing in either biomedical electronics or biomedical equipment technician. The associate program provides coursework in biomedical electronic systems, biomedical law, digital circuits, and clinical instrumentation. Additionally, laboratory experiences offer hands-on opportunities to repair and maintain medical equipment, allowing students to explore a collaborative field between healthcare and technology.

Upon graduation, students can get an internship or land a full time job in hospitals, clinics or companies that manufacture medical equipment and devices – based on their preferences for the healthcare or technology side.

While certification is not required by all employers, it can demonstrate professional capability and help people advance to supervisory positions. One of the most popular certifications for biomedical technician jobs is Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET) offered by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). In order to be certified, biomedical technicians must have an associate degree, professional working experience, and pass their exam.

If you are interested in the intersection of technology and healthcare, visit our biomedical page for available programs and start your biomedical profession now!

Student Success Story – Cameron Erskin, College of the Mainland

Dual credit student is new face of Taco Bell

Cameron Erskin views each critic’s cry of “you can’t” as a challenge. Determined to be the first in his family to graduate from college, the College of the Mainland dual credit student has already earned 18 hours of college credit, a scholarship and a national platform to tell his story.Cameron_Erskin_1

One of three teens chosen as spokesperson for the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, Erskin will encourage students to complete high school and will be featured on Taco Bell products at franchises across the nation. Erskin recently returned from a California conference where he shared his story with a crowd of 1,600.

“Trials and tribulations kind of made me who I am. I’ve had so many people tell me ‘you can’t do this, you won’t do this,’” said Erskin. “I’ve had people who claim to support me tell me that, but now they are among the biggest fans.”

While always a good student, the Clear Springs High School senior found new determination after joining the Boys and Girls Club of America.

“The Boys and Girls Club really tries to push them. They do a lot of service projects,” said his mother, Meshell Vorsburgh. “I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

After joining the club, he volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, served food at St. Vincent’s Episcopal House in Galveston and mentored middle and high school students at Power Hour.

His Boys and Girls Club mentor of five years, Carol Freeman, discovered the Taco Bell Skills Challenge Scholarship and worked with him until 2 a.m. completing it. He won that scholarship and eight months later received the call asking him to become a face of Taco Bell. He said yes.

Erskin credits his drive to pursue an education to two women in his life – Freeman and his mother.

“The importance of education was instilled in me since I was young.  I’ve always had big dreams. I knew that to achieve my dreams and goals I had to go to college,” he remembered. “My mom made me have a ‘dream board’ (of goals) when I was 10 or 11. She took it a step further. She made me do a six-month, one-year and five-year plan.”

At 18, Erskin is still armed with a plan – to graduate with a master’s degree in architecture in three years. Determined to reach this ambitious goal, he began taking dual credit classes at COM and plans to take a full load of courses year-round at Prairie View A&M University.

He’ll start June 8, the day after his graduation from Clear Springs High School, when he heads to Prairie View A&M University. He will take summer classes at the school’s Architectural Concepts Institute.

Now in a whirlwind of activity between finishing classes and graduation, he will travel to the national Taco Bell franchise conference to once again share his story.

“My mother has always taught me to ‘lift (others) as you climb,’” said Erskin. “I’m climbing and lifting as many people with me as I can.”

Student Success Story, Polysomnography at Alvin College

Kaitlin McClurg wasn’t sure about her career. She did know she wanted a profession in the medical career. The Bridger, Mont., native received an associate degree at a Wyoming college but wanted to further her education.

Kaitlin McClurg

Kaitlin McClurg moved from Montana to Alvin, Texas, to study in ACC’s polysomnography program.

“I wanted to try something totally new,” she said.

Searching the Internet, McClurg found several options, but became fixated on a field called “polysomnography” – the study of sleep medicine.

“It’s something that not a lot of people know about,” she said.

McClurg found the best program was at Alvin Community College. She packed her bags and moved to Alvin to join the program. McClurg said ACC was her best option because it accepted the majority of her courses from her previous college. ACC also is preparing her well for the workforce. She is planning to graduate in May.

“It’s been a great program,” she said. “We definitely get a lot of hands-on training. They keep us very busy here. I’ve had much more experience than I felt I would ever get somewhere else.”

McClurg is one of many students drawn to the ACC polysomongraphy program because so few colleges in the United States offer it. Polysomnography is the study of sleep disorders. Graduates help with the treatment and diagnosis of the causes of conditions like narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and insomnia. ACC is the first college in Texas to offer a Polysomnography degree and is one of only 16 to offer it in the United States.

Polysomnography technicians are in huge demand in the workforce, said Georgette Goodwill, ACC program director. ACC graduates have a high job placement rate after receiving their degree, she said.

“All of the students in this graduating class of the Polysomnography Program will have jobs waiting for them upon passing their national registry exam,” said Goodwill.

McClurg is a great example of the many students who excel in the Polysomnography field, Goodwill said.

“Kaitlin has been an excellent student who shows great potential as a Sleep Technologist,” she said. “She has adapted well to the Texas heat and humidity – which is quite a change from the weather in Montana.”

While she is looking forward to graduating and using her education to help patients, McClurg plans to join the Neurodiagnostic Technologist program. Students with Polysomnography and Neurodiagnostic degrees are even more marketable when looking for a job.

“I want to get further ahead,” McClurg said.

A “Couple” of Success Stories from Galveston College

Opposites attract, they say… Perla Oseguera was always college bound and Victor Alvarez could not see himself going to college. Yet, with the two most important women in his life encouraging his talents, Victor was soon to be convinced.alvarez

After graduating from Ball High in 2011, Victor, a valued member of the wait staff at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Conference Center, wanted to ask his high school sweetheart to marry him. But, he knew that her ambitions involved a serious path in higher education with her sights set on becoming a registered nurse (RN) from Galveston College, and eventually, receiving at minimum a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Victor’s older sister persuaded him that he had the “right stuff” and should join her in college – and become the first two in their family to graduate with college degrees. Reluctant at first, Victor became more interested when Perla graduated from Ball in 2013.

In summer of the same year, they married. Perla was working for a local chiropractor and discovered that nursing was in fact the career for her. Her success at Galveston College came rapidly. She was eligible for Universal Access through the Galveston College Foundation and received two scholarships, the Marionette Beyah Memorial Fund and the Nielson Music Scholarship.

Victor chose the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Certificate program with an Associate Degree. He was awarded a Pell Grant toward completion of his studies. Victor credits Rodrigo Santoyo, Instructor of Developmental Math at Galveston College, for getting him through his math courses and Mr. Ronald Foster, Program Director for HVAC, for his success with the advanced certificate program. His supervisors at Moody Gardens promoted him five months ago and he is now working as a technician in the Air Conditioning Department.

Perla continues to work while pursuing two Associate Degrees at Galveston College, her first in General Science and a second in Nursing. Perla says that, thus far, her favorite courses were taught by Dr. Ana Sanchez, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Program Coordinator, and Elizabeth Tapp, Instructor of Psychology and Sociology and Program Coordinator.

Both she and her young husband reflected on the significance of the College library for study. Because of full-time work commitments, Victor and Perla need the library environment to concentrate and work without interruption. Also, both of them meet friends in the Library and enjoy their time together.

For this young married couple, Perla and Victor, the future is bright because of their community college educations. Victor will graduate in May 2015 and Perla in Fall 2017.

Surgical Technology – Real World Training in an Innovative Field

Surgical technologists, or operating room technicians, work during surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, and other surgical personnel in all three phases of patient care: preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative case management. A surgical tech job description includes preparing surgical equipment, supplies and medications; passing instruments to surgeons and assistants; operating sterilizers and lights; preparing specimens for lab analysis; and transporting patients to and from surgery. Surgical technologist jobs require the ability to work quickly and accurately. Most surgical activities are carried out during the day, but they sometimes occur during the night shift, or you may need to work on short notice in case of emergency.

Surgical Tech – An Interesting and Life-Saving Career

Constant breakthroughs in surgical technology make for innovative careers for surgical tech. There are different career options with immediate impact on patients’ lives. Many become technical specialists and go into specialized practices such as ophthalmology, neurosurgery or orthopedics. They can work in hospitals as well as ambulatory surgical centers, clinics and physician’s offices. Others decide to work for surgical equipment companies and help distribute the most innovative surgical supplies and medications around the world.

Surgical technologist careers have a bright outlook as healthcare demand continues to growth. Similar to emergency medical services careers, employment is projected to grow by 30% from 2012 to 2022, with a current median pay of $41,790 annually (BLS). Advances in medical technology enable treatment of a variety of illnesses and injuries and call for more surgical technologists to alleviate pain and extend the lives of millions of people.

Hands-on Learning Environment at Gulf Coast Community Colleges

Students must obtain an accredited surgical technology certificate prior to taking the surgical technologist credentialing exam. With a nine-to-twelve-month certificate program, Gulf Coast community colleges provide students an opportunity to train in a realistic, hands-on working environment. Besides lectures, the curriculum emphasizes mock surgery under supervision in actual operating room situations.

Realistic operating environments will enable quick reactions in case of emergency and a stable temperament when working with unpleasant sights, odors and hazardous materials. Frequent practices in such technical settings allow students to become detail oriented, patient, as well as sensitive to the needs of both patients and surgical teams. Additionally, students will be introduced to the latest advances in medical technology, including computers, lasers, fiber optics, electronics and robotics. This all gives students a bigger picture of how surgical tech jobs can help individuals all over the world and make a positive impact on society.

Surgical technologists can create a difference in patients’ lives and make a valuable contribution to society. Visit our surgical technology page for available programs and member colleges to get your hands-on learning experience.

Emergency Medical Services Jobs Continue to Grow

Emergency Medical Services Careers

The healthcare industry is now providing a growing number of career opportunities. Among them, emergency medical services (EMS) jobs pay well and are critical in emergency medical incidents such as accidents, heart attacks, and strokes, yet they don’t require eight years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical school expenses to qualify.

EMS providers are responsible for administering immediate medical care and transporting patients to the nearest medical facilities by first response ambulance. While working in high-pressure environments, providers have to maintain exacting performance and a high degree of compassion towards patients. Based on the scope of practice and depth of treatment, emergency medical careers are divided into emergency medical technicians (EMT) and paramedics.

The Difference between an EMT and a Paramedic

TGCCCC’s overview on emergency medical services programs explains the difference between an EMT and a paramedic. In short, a paramedic is generally an advanced EMT: An EMT requires 120 to 160 hours of training, while a paramedic needs a two-year program, and thus has a broader scope of practice. For example, while a basic EMT is restricted to using oxygen, glucose, asthma inhalers, and similar treatments, a paramedic can use 30-40 medications and perform more advanced treatment to support breathing. Sometimes, you must become an EMT before you can start paramedic training.

As the highest level of EMS provider, paramedic incomes average $40,000 annually, but they can earn up to $70,000 a year. That’s compared to $33,000 and $51,000 respectively for an EMT. The amount of training, the depth of medical treatment, and pay rate are good factors to help you decide whether you would like to pursue an EMT or paramedic career.

EMT/Paramedic Education and Job Placement

Formal training and state licenses are required to practice emergency medical services. TGCCCC member colleges offer three progressive levels of training: EMT basic, EMT intermediate and EMT advanced level for Paramedics (EMT-P). These programs will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide quick reactions and competent care to save lives in emergency medical settings. In addition to medical coursework, a student will get hands-on training to attain strong reasoning skills – to assess the patient’s condition and overall situation; communication skills – to effectively assist patients in distress and communicate with emergency rooms; and stress tolerance – to maintain your focus despite potentially disturbing scenes.

Regarding job placement, EMT and paramedic jobs are expected to grow by 23% through 2020, much faster than the average of all jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among all opportunities, first response ambulance service is the most popular choice for both EMTs and paramedics. However, there are other employment options to consider. Air ambulances, which are used to rescue major incident victims, often require one paramedic along with a nurse or doctor. Industrial safety, fire service and park rangers are also required to be at least an ETM or paramedic certified. There are also opportunities for military medics and overseas paramedics – working in an army or in another country offer a number of unique benefits.

While dealing with many distressing situations, EMTs and paramedics often find their work rewarding because they are able to save lives from the brink of death. If you are considering an EMS career, please contact our TGCCCC member colleges for available programs in your area of the Houston/Gulf Coast region.

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