KILLEEN, TX — With an increased interest in the medical field since the start of the pandemic, the grand opening of the Smart Choice Second Chance Career Institute in Killeen couldn’t have come at a better time.
The program aims to jump start the careers of aspiring medical professionals.
Ricardo Acosta started at the institute after retiring from the military. He has now recruited his battle buddy, Oscar Taylor, to help operate their new facility. Both hope to give a second chance to those who hope to work in the medical field.
“I went further in my studies in medical lab, medical lab technician, and I just recently graduated, and I’m waiting to take my national test now," said former student Avery Wiley.
Looking back on his time at the institute, Wiley says the certifications he has received catapulted his career as a medical professional.
The idea behind the facility came to Acosta after he retired from the military. As an EMT and basic Army medic, Acosta realized had an abundance of knowledge, but no certifications.
“So I learned how to become a teacher and how to get certified by the state and how to give or to show people how to earn their national certification, so that way they can go work without having to go to the long traditional college," said Acosta.
With the help of Taylor, who just so happens to be a registered nurse and an EMT, the two hope to continue to propel the next generation of medical professionals.
"Our combined knowledge is going to just take us to the next level," Acosta said.
“We’re giving people a second chance if they have had a setback in some way in life. Even with this COVID, people couldn’t finish school, couldn’t get in school, so we want to give them an opportunity to advance," said Taylor.
For those who are looking to jump start their path into the medical field, the institute offers a variety of certifications like mental health and electrocardiogram technician courses just to name a few.
The new facility is located on 4110 S. Clear Creek Rd. Suite 103.