Victoria College’s EMS Program prepared former bartender for career in public service

Taking EMS classes at Victoria College helped propel Pamela Yanta to a career as a firefighter.

Pamela Yanta recalls vividly one of her most anxious moments as a student in Victoria College’s Emergency Medical Services Program.

Yanta was prepared to begin a training session with the program’s state-of-the-art virtual reality emergency medical services simulator as Victoria College EMS Program Coordinator Susie Jechow selected the setting.

“I don’t like heights,” Yanta said. “I put on the simulator goggles, and Susie had the controller. She accidentally put me on the ledge of a window. She said, ‘Oh!’ and got me back off of it.”

Other than that, Yanta’s experiences in Victoria College’s EMT and paramedic classes were enjoyable and life-changing. Yanta, 37, was a bartender when she saw an advertisement for the City of Victoria Fire Academy and thought taking EMS classes at VC would help her chances of becoming a firefighter.

“I called Susie, and she had me come and meet with her. A few weeks later, I was in school,” Yanta said. “Susie is amazing. She is the big reason why I pushed through and took the paramedic course. I wanted to learn under her, because she is just incredible. She prepares you 100 percent to be ready for anything.”

Yanta said she applies just about all that she learned daily in her job.

“I learned everything I need to work in EMS,” Yanta said. “The EMT Program prepared me for basic life support, and the Paramedic Program prepared me for advanced life support.”

Yanta was hired by the Victoria Fire Department in April 2019 shortly after earning her EMT Certificate from VC. She obtained her Paramedic Level 1 Certificate in 2020.

“I was only an EMT for a couple of months before I became a firefighter,” Yanta said. “It’s up to you whether or not you want to take more classes and keep climbing.”

A day in the life of a firefighter includes inspecting firetrucks, station duties such as cleaning, and responding to emergency calls.

“I thoroughly enjoy it,” said Yanta, who has been with VFD for two years. “It keeps me on my toes. I’m constantly learning. I had no doubts that I was capable of doing what I need to do in the job. We have each others’ backs.”

Texas firefighters must have EMT certification to hold their firefighter commission.

Victoria College’s EMS Program offers an EMT Certificate that can be completed in one semester, an Advanced EMT Certificate that can be completed in two semesters, a one-year Paramedic Certificate and a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in emergency medical services. In the Golden Crescent region, the average earning potential is $30,000 per year for EMTs, $38,000 per year for Advanced EMTs, and $51,000 per year for paramedics.

Yanta is happy she made the call to Jechow to see what Victoria College had to offer.

“It was the best thing I have ever done,” Yanta said. “I could never imagine myself doing this. I didn’t know the steps to get there. I am just surprised the opportunity was right there in front of me all along.”

For more information on Victoria College’s EMS Program, call (361) 573-3291 or visit