Students Receiving Firsthand EMT Training
Students Receiving Firsthand Experiences – Including Delivering a Baby – in EMT Certification Program
Posted on 05/20/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Students Receiving Firsthand Experiences – Including Delivering a Baby – in EMT Certification Program

Texas is currently facing a large shortage of health care professionals across the state.

But thanks to a didactic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program offered at all three comprehensive high schools throughout Northwest ISD, students have the opportunity to be work-ready and professionally certified, all before graduating from high school.

The School of EMS has partnered directly with Northwest ISD and the district’s Career and Technical Education department to create dual-credit enrollment programs for students looking to learn EMS skills and advance toward a career immediately following high school. Across the district, there are more than 30 students currently enrolled in the EMT skills training program.

Copeland Taylor, a senior at Byron Nelson High School, understands the unique opportunity this specialized program has given her. With her current certifications, Taylor has already made plans to work as an EMT for AMR a local medical response provider after graduation this summer.

This course has really been the biggest eye-opener. It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever chosen to do. Holding someone's life in your hands is an out-of-body experience I will never forget.” 

Byron Nelson High School EMT students Copelyn Taylor, Xavier Juarez-Jacinto and Rafael Garcia Escalona

Byron Nelson High School EMT students Copelyn Taylor, Xavier Juarez-Jacinto and Rafael Garcia Escalona

By the time students finish their 168 hours of required course work — including 48 hours of ride-out shifts — and pass the National Registry Test, they can go straight to work in the industry as an emergency medical technician.

Byron Nelson High School EMT students testing their knowledge in front of trained paramedics.

Byron Nelson High School EMT students testing their knowledge in front of trained paramedics.


Most enterprising seniors are looking to get a leg up in the industry, like Byron Nelson High School senior Xavier Juarez-Jacinto, who also added an OSHA 30 health sciences certification to his resume.

“I wanted to see if I had what it takes to make it at the entry level of medicine, and I wanted to see things that I would never get to see until later on. Some people never see some of the things I have seen until they are in their late twenties. This gives me a deliberate level of skill above others in this field.”

Over the course of the double-blocked, year-long certification program, students are required to learn crucial EMT skills in the classroom, including the administration of certain medications, life-saving techniques, and simple first aid safety training. Once a solid knowledge base is acquired, students participate in ride-outs with local emergency medical providers, where students ride in ambulances for 12-hour shifts. During the ride-outs, students are quickly thrown into real life-saving scenarios, including taking patient vitals, operating electrocardiogram (EKG) equipment, loading patients into life-flight helicopters, and for Juarez-Jacinto, bringing new life into the world.

Xavier Juarez-Jacinto and Rafael Garcia Escalona with classmates on a recent ride-out shift.

Xavier Juarez-Jacinto and Rafael Garcia Escalona with classmates on a recent ride-out shift.


“My most significant ride-out experience was when I assisted in the delivery of a child. I got to "catch" the child and hold it for a myriad of time, checking its overall health and reactivity. It was an amazing experience.”

Trained in the classroom at Byron Nelson High School by instructor Greg Roark and main School of EMS instructor Donna Wright, students are given ample experiences to separate themselves from the crowd.

“These students are learning by doing,” said Wright. “They actually have an advantage because they are allowed to spend more time preparing themselves for a career straight out of high school.”

EMT students during a classroom training day at Byron Nelson High School

EMT students perfecting their skills during a classroom training day at Byron Nelson High School.

The School of EMS North Texas site supervisor Glenn Stephens says the program is just the latest way to help students who want to work before or instead of college.

“Our programs are recession-proof,” said Stephens. “We are able to give these students opportunities to get out in the world and create a great life for themselves and their families.”

The EMT program throughout Northwest ISD is largely covered in cost by the district, with enrolled students paying only for required uniform pieces, including their pants, belt, and boots.

“If my students took this course after graduation, it would cost them between $1,500 and $2,000 and two years of their time,” explains Roark. “This is why we are double-blocked to get it done in a year. Our students will leave high school being industry-ready with letters behind their names, a tribute to their work ethic and skill training.”

To learn more about Northwest ISD’s emergency medical technician program offered at Byron Nelson High School, Northwest High School and V.R. Eaton High School, please visit the district’s Career and Technical Education website