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DMC Continuing Education’s Rockport EKG Program Now Training Five Students for Careers in the Healthcare Profession

College currently taking registration for carpentry course that begins Jan. 9; additional EKG training also scheduled later in spring at temporary First Baptist Church location

Article by Melinda Eddleman

“In such little time, I’ve learned so much already; and I’m grateful tuition was not something I had to be concerned about. It was a big relief and a huge help,” said McKenzy Perez about taking the Del Mar College (DMC) Electrocardiography (EKG) Program currently offered in Rockport.

Normally, the cost for the fast-track training course is $248. But, for 17-year-old Perez, who dropped out of high school last year as a junior due to pregnancy, the assistance and opportunity for workforce training puts her closer to her dream of entering the medical profession and one day becoming a nurse.

Perez is one of the first five students who started EKG technician training on Nov. 29 in Rockport as part of the College’s collaboration with Aransas County and the Aransas County Partnership Economic Development Corporation to establish the Aransas County Workforce Development Center.

The students––including Perez, Addison De La Cruz, Crystal Garza, Thomas Morris and Christina Ransom––are training through DMC Continuing Education’s Health Care Programs using money from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. The College is temporarily providing that training at Rockport’s First Baptist Church (1515 N. Live Oak Street) while waiting for the renovation of the county-owned facility.

Del Mar College looks forward to expanding its educational programming and physical footprint in Rockport in the future to better serve the educational needs of the community at-large. There’s no single largest contributor to a community’s economic growth and prosperity than an educated workforce.

Dr. Leonard Rivera, DMC Dean of Continuing Education & Off-Campus Programs

For the current students, the College’s EKG Program is a path toward that prosperity.

As an entry level opportunity in health care, the starting wage for an EKG technician in the Coastal Bend region varies based on facility type. Job opportunities with hospital systems, specialty clinics, physician offices, diagnostic labs, long-term care facilities or private practices range with a starting hourly wage between $13 and $17 per hour. 

The current EKG technician training is a four-week evening course with Perez and her classmates attending class from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays until Dec. 20. They’re learning how to trace electrical impulses transmitted by the heart, which involves attaching electrodes to the patient’s chest, arms and legs and then utilizing the EKG machine to obtain a reading that a physician would interpret. The procedure is conducted before most kinds of surgery, during a routine physical examination and during critical times of cardiovascular complications.

Prior to enrolling in the EKG Program, Perez, who lives in Portland, signed up for the College’s Adult Basic Education Program after having her baby; and within two months, she earned her equivalency certificate to finish her primary education before her former high school classmates.

Of her training and determination to become a healthcare professional, Perez said, “Even if you don’t think you can achieve anything, just know that you can because I am. I thought that I couldn’t do anything after having a child and not finishing high school, but I finished school early.”

I am now in a healthcare program pursing my dream. Literally, I could not have done it without Del Mar College.

McKenzy Perez, Age 17, Fall 2022 Continuing Education EKG Program Student in Rockport

For Rockport resident Crystal Garza, age 39, training to become an EKG technician is a career change.

“During the past 15 years, I’ve helped my husband run a successful custom home building company,” she said. “However, recently he just got offered a job as a pilot, and being a pilot is something he’s always dreamed of doing.”

She said that since her husband decided to switch careers, she chose to go back to school and start her own new path. “When I saw on Facebook that Del Mar was offering EKG technician courses here in my hometown of Rockport, Texas, I was so excited and knew in my heart this is what I wanted to do.”

While Garza said that the course was very affordable and that she was ready and willing to pay for the training, she was accepted for the grant covering the tuition cost much to her surprise. 

I really appreciate Del Mar College giving me the opportunity to continue expanding my education and offering courses close to home, and I hope others take advantage of the Continuing Education programs that the College has to offer.

Crystal Garza, Age 39, Continuing Education EKG Program Student in Rockport

Dr. Rivera added, “Making higher education accessible is inherent in Del Mar College’s mission. Establishing our temporary off-campus site at the First Baptist Church is an example of the College’s commitment to promoting access to valuable workforce education programs whether it’s health care, construction, safety and other in-demand occupations needed by Rockport-based businesses and industry located in Aransas County and other neighboring communities.”

The next training opportunity begins Jan. 9 with DMC Continuing Education’s Carpentry Part I course, followed by Carpentry Part II on Feb. 7. The next round of the two-part carpentry training is Feb. 20 and March 21, respectively. 

The College will also offer other healthcare-related training later in the spring, including Coding and Insurance beginning March 1 and a Coding Certification Exam Review beginning April 25. The next EKG technician training opportunity begins April 3.

To learn more about the College’s training in Rockport, apply for a tuition-free grant and training scheduling, visit www.delmar.edu/rockport/. Questions? Contact DMC Continuing Education at 361-698-1328 or ce@delmar.edu.



About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.