LUBBOCK, Texas — After a shortage of EMS workers, state leaders said they would help make it easier on students to get in and out of EMT training anywhere in the state.
The Texas Department of State Health services can award up to $2,000 of funding for anyone attending EMT and EMS training services.
Joe Schmider, the EMS director with DSHS, said the funding came from leftover COVID-19 funds that they began putting towards in October 2022.
“Legislators recognized that there was a shortage of personnel and EMS, not just in Texas, but throughout the whole nation, so they pushed some grant money available for scholarships,” Joe Schmider said.
Schmider said since they began offering assistance, they’ve had 1,400 people utilize their program for EMT training courses.
“We lost a lot of people into other parts of healthcare, you know, with the nurses crunch problem, then the paramedics went sort of working in hospitals or clinics and all that kind of stuff, so we need to get some people,” Schmider said.
Mason Powers teaches the EMS course at South Plains College that allows students to become EMT certified in as little as one school semester.
“They do a classroom portion where we go through lectures, skills, practice and during that semester they also go through their clinical aspect and clinicals in the hospital on an ambulance as well,” Powers said.
Powers said to enroll in courses, you have to apply to the college and submit a separate application for their program. Then, they will meet with the applicant one on one to discuss what comes next. You must be admitted to the college and be compliant in reading.
Powers said the career is one that is rewarding, when helping those when they need it most.
“We get to see patients in the worst days of their life, some of the hardest points of their life and just knowing we could be there to kind of help get them through being critically sick or injured,” Powers said.
DSHS offers the application to apply for assistance with EMT training on their website at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/emstexas.