Flashing light fill the night as you realize you had just been in a car accident. Paramedics rush to your car to pull you out and stabilize you by supporting your neck and by putting you on a backboard. 

At Tyler Junior College students are trained to become first responders throughout the EMT and paramedic program. Hundreds of students join the program each year.

Rory Pure, department chair and program coordinator, has been working at TJC for four years and explains the program. 

“There is a high demand right now for EMTs and paramedics, not only in our area but across the state and across the nation. We’re seeing a rise in positions and that is partly due to the pandemic,” Pure said.

TJC offers two programs, EMTs and paramedic. The EMTs side is the basic level where the students study and learn how to bandage wounds to stop the bleeding and immobilize split fracture. They also will learn other skills such as coping mechanisms and ethics. 

a model of a lung
One student shows how to deflate the lungs if someone is breathing. Doing this keeps the patient alive. Photo by Alexa Glenn.

“As EMTs and paramedics you are going into people’s homes, when they’re at their worst,” Pure said, so learning ethics and honesty and integrity are important factors of this career. 

The paramedic training is an advanced life support side of the program where students learn what an EMT learns, but also learn a lot more. Paramedics learn more invasive procedures such as learning how to start IVs, giving medications and managing airways. Becoming an EMT takes one semester and becoming a paramedic takes the EMT semester plus three more.

Jack Delaney, professor and paramedic, has been working at TJC for three years and is working full time for TJC and part time as a paramedic. He has been a paramedic for seven years, and one of the reasons why he became one was because of his grandfather, who was a volunteer fire chief in New York. 

“I loved listening to his stories about his calls; he could paint a picture with words,” Delaney said. “I ended up doing a handful of things with him. I kind of turned into a first responder when I was just a volunteer.” 

Being a paramedic often focuses on wanting to help people. As Delaney said it is wanting to be the first person on site who gets to see the patient when everything first happens. 

Service is central to this field. TJC student Edward Dubois is studying to be a paramedic to serve others. 

“If you’re wondering if this is a high paying profession, it’s not,” Dubois said. Being a paramedic means being willing to help people no matter what it. 

Building sign that says George W. Pirtle Technology

Pirtle Technology Center is where all the classes are for the EMT and Paramedic program. You can find all classrooms on the second floor of Pirtle. By Alexa Glenn.

“You help people through their darkest times, what could be the worst day of their life or their best day of their life,” Dubois said. “You can’t be afraid to get dirty or bloody sometimes.” 

Some of the classes taught for the paramedic program are patient assessment and airway management, cardiology, EMS operations, medical emergencies and special populations. Some of the classes taught for the EMT program are Trauma Management, Assessment Based Management, Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Pharmacology and Medical Terminology I.

“If you’re interested in the program and didn’t know if you should take it, come talk to any of us in the department, Mr. Rory Prue, the program director; Mr. Scott Miles, our paramedics instructor; and myself,” Delaney said. 

 To apply to the program or for more information, click here.