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University student aims to join growing number of female paramedics in Texas

Kenley Johnson, who earned her EMT certification while still in high school and now works for Comanche County EMS, is in her first semester of the Paramedic program at Texas State Technical College

Odessa American, Texas

ABILENE, Texas — Women paramedics are increasing in number, and Kenley Johnson is determined to join their ranks.

Johnson, who earned her emergency medical technician certification while still a student at Bangs High School and now works for Comanche County EMS, is in her first semester of the Paramedic program at Texas State Technical College.

“It is good that we can come to school and have two female instructors,” she said in a news release. “Many of my classmates are female, and we can relate well with each other. We knew that emergency medicine is a male-dominated field, but that is starting to change.”

According to, 42% of paramedics in the United States are women.

Johnson said studying at TSTC has been a positive experience.

“It is a new culture for me because we are all working toward the same goal,” she said. “We know how serious the job is and that we, as first responders, are held to a higher standard.”

Ashley Blackburn, TSTC’s Emergency Medical Services program coordinator, sees Johnson’s determination to succeed.

“Kenley is very hardworking and motivated to do her best,” Blackburn said in the release. “She is a great team member and is very knowledgeable in this career.”

Johnson said she has always had compassion for others.

“As a junior in high school, I had to help take care of my mother, who suffered a stroke,” she said. “That is the reason why I decided to begin a career in health care.”

After graduating from high school in 2022, Johnson began working for Comanche County EMS.

“I did not want to wait too long to begin studying to become a paramedic,” she said. “That is why I started classes at TSTC.”

Johnson and her classmates have played out different scenarios with TSTC’s ambulance simulator and Immersive Interactive lab.

“Having the ambulance simulator is important for me because I did not drive one until I started working,” she said. “There are so many things we can learn from the simulator to prepare us for a real situation.”

Hearing how well TSTC students are trained led Johnson to the program.

“TSTC is the place to study because it is taken seriously,” she said. “We want to be the best paramedics.”

According to, the need for paramedics in Texas was expected to grow 19% between 2020 and 2030.

In its Emergency Medical Services program, TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paramedic, as well as certificates of completion in Emergency Medical Services — EMT, Emergency Medical Services — Advanced EMT AEMT and Emergency Medical Services — Paramedic. The program is available at the Abilene , Brownwood and Harlingen campuses.

TSTC is currently accepting applications for the Emergency Medical Services — Advanced EMT AEMT program at its Brownwood campus. The two-semester program will begin in May. For more information, email [email protected].

For more information about TSTC, visit


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