1. #1
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    Default The Golden (Paramedic) Ticket

    Hey,
    I've decided to post this after much thought about what I've read on this board...

    I'm currently on the path to getting my p-cert. I want to work for a fire dept. I've tested as a basic, am volunteering as a basic and would love to work as a basic. I've also accepted the fact that its easier to get hired as a medic.
    Having said that, I plan on working for a dept that runs ALS engines, or at least splits time 50/50 between bucket and engine.

    What I'm wondering about now is, how do you think medics get treated in dept's that hire both basics and medics. If its easier to get hired as a medic, does anyone think you'll be looked down upon because you couldn't get hired as a basic? I'm not worried about my ability to perform once hired, but I don't want to be treated like I cut corners or only got hired because I went through an extra year of school.

    Anyone have thoughts/experience with this type of thing?

    THANKS
    -P

  2. #2
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    Do us all a favor and DO NOT become a paramedic just because you think it makes it easier to land a fire department job. Become a paramedic because you have a sincere desire to help people.
    Those who become paramedics for "other" reasons are miserable in their jobs. Worse yet, they are a nightmare to supervise.
    If you have a genuine desire to become a paramedic, become a good one. And yes, it will certainly open doors for you.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.apiringfirefighters.com
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    CObasic, I would focus your search to the MD/DC/NoVa region, for decent salary and employment opportunity. I'm currently a firemedic recruit at Fairfax county, Va. During the first week, the Capt. told us that EMS is vitally important, and that he hoped that no one used their medic card only as a quick way in. The Capt. also let us know that we wouldn't be hiding out on a medic unit, either. The basic training staff has made it clear that the medics will not be given favoritism in the academy, and will be held to the same standards as the basics during recruit school. Fairfax takes ems and supression training equally seriously. Being a firemedic, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of public service. You really are a versatile, full service provider. In NYC, where I'm from, you're either ems, or fire, but can't be both. The vast majority of calls are for ems, so the increasing availability of firemedic openings is to be expected. If you're advancing to emt-p solely for employment opportunity, and not for a love of medicine, please don't bother. If my wife or daughter need urgent medical attention while I'm not available, I want someone competent, and motivated to do their job well. I don't want some schmuck, who couldn't wait until the ink dried on their emt card, to enroll in a medic class, only for a fast track to a fire job, helping my family. Seriously.

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    Also, dont let anyone give you any crap about getting in the easy way, increased salary, promotional opportunities, etc. You'll have gone through a rigorous training program to become a medic. Therefore, any advantages that are afforded to you as a medic, were earned. Being a full service provider, as a firemedic, is the future of the fire service.

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    Default suppression and EMS

    You should take note however that pure suppression guys arenít necessarily big fans of the medics. That may not be the right way to phrase it but there is definitely a separation between the cultures. It does vary between departments and probably houses but it is something that you may run into.

    Also as everyone else has echoed donít get your P to get the job. If you are the medic on a medical or trauma you are the guy there is no safety net no one else helping advance the line its just you. And the decisions you and only you make could be life or death for your patient. To be a really good medic you have to eat sleep and breathe it. You should be able to wake up out of a deep sleep and be able to reel through your algorithms, because you will.

    A third thought is that if you get your P to be able to get a suppression job you may be sadly disappointed! A lot of places if you get hired as a P or sent through school you are going to be on a bus almost all the time for a very long time. Usually the guys on the engines have already put their years in on the bus and are finally getting to rotate off to a suppression unit. You may be very disappointed to be sitting on a big fire ground on the tail of the ambulance checking BPs and handing out water!

    Good luck


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    Cool. Thanks for the input. I've talked about this with the fire medics I know, they're telling me that many of them were in the same boat, but once they got into their p-class, they saw what it was all about and ended up really liking it.

    Again, the input is much appreciated.

    Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCLepore View Post
    Do us all a favor and DO NOT become a paramedic just because you think it makes it easier to land a fire department job. Become a paramedic because you have a sincere desire to help people.
    Those who become paramedics for "other" reasons are miserable in their jobs. Worse yet, they are a nightmare to supervise.
    If you have a genuine desire to become a paramedic, become a good one. And yes, it will certainly open doors for you.

    I agree. You don't have to have a medic to get a job. As a medic I'd discourage anyone from getting their medic unless you 1) want to do some other side job requiring the medic patch - helicopter, ground transport, hospital work or 2) you spend years riding the box as a basic to get some street experience before getting your medic. (There are few good medics who didn't spend some years as an EMT first).

    Feel free to change the title of this thread. Having your medic is *not* a gold en ticket. It's for EMT basics who have enough experience to know they want to provide more advanced care.

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    Yes, getting your paramedic card will open up doors for you. If you have no prefference as to where in the country you end up, you can get on quite easily somewhere. Being a paramedic is hands down why I got the job I have. The depatment I work for was in dire need of paramedics and was willing to pany up what it took to get me there. It will greatly reduce the competition for jobs you apply for.

    That being said, if you have no desire to be a medic, DO NOT BECOME ONE. You will be placed in situations where it is you and only you who has the descisions to make and actions to take.

  9. #9
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    Having a paramedic certificate STILL makes a huge difference when seeking employment with many large or well-paying fire departments.

    In soime departments, a white male with a paramedic card will be preferentially offered employment ahead of all other candidates.

    A few departments are still offering higher starting salaries, or the equivalent of a signing bonus for candidates with National Registry paramedic certification.

    _________________________________________

    I agree with Chief Lepore that those who got the paramedic certification just to get hired may become a supervisory nightmare. Especially in departments that abuse paramedic certified firefighters through unequal treatment or misrepresentation of the actual workload/task assignment.

    Other nightmare subordinates are those that think "Rescue Me" is an accurate portrayal of urban firefighters, or those who think that if they keep whining about running ems and other BS calls that those responses will go away.

    My old department still occasionally loses a rookie when they realize that THEY really have have to clean the fire station toilets, cook and get alone with a group of people that may be considered a little dysfunctional.

    Eighty percent of the time a fire truck passes you with the red lights on and the siren screaming they are going to a medical assist call.

    I recommend that you check to see how long the department expects you to maintain paramedic certification. Be wary of those that expect you to be a paramedic for the life of your career, regardless of promotions. This is called the Baltimore model.
    __________________________________________________ __

    In every large or urban department I have studied, paramedic/firefighters complain about being treated like second-class citizens. Even in Phoenix.

    This link takes you to a presentation, with references, about recruiting and retaining fire-based paramedics.

    http://home.gwu.edu/~mikeward/Parame...&Retention.htm
    _______________________

    If the departments you are interested in do not provide preferential consideration for a candidate with a paramedic card, then do not do it.

    Either way, good luck with your efforts.

    Mike

    Retired firefighter/paramedic from a large urban county

    Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
    Director EMS Management online degree program
    The George Washington University
    Last edited by MikeWard; 05-26-2008 at 04:07 AM.

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    Default

    I am a firefighter Medic and I am glad I did it. But I will say this I became a paramedic b/c I wanted to be a firefighter and in my area that is just the way it is. Does that make me a bad medic no I still take pride in my work and helping people. Do I hate being a medic no most of the time I don't. If I could only be a firefighter and only a firefighter I would in a heart beat but it doesn't work that way. So I take pride in being a firefighter medic and am happy I did it. I am sure you will feel the same way if you choose to go to go to paramedic school. Good luck with what ever you decide to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCLepore View Post
    Do us all a favor and DO NOT become a paramedic just because you think it makes it easier to land a fire department job. Become a paramedic because you have a sincere desire to help people.
    Those who become paramedics for "other" reasons are miserable in their jobs. Worse yet, they are a nightmare to supervise.
    If you have a genuine desire to become a paramedic, become a good one. And yes, it will certainly open doors for you.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.apiringfirefighters.com
    This could be the best advice posted on here so far this year.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Default

    Wow, thanks again for all the responses fellas. MikeWard I will def. check that link out.

    giweff, I think you've hit the nail on the head. I'm not a hack or a slacker, I take pride in what I do. If I go for the p-cert I'm going to do it 100%.

    BC Lepore and GeorgeWendtCFI, you make a valid point.

    Thanks again,
    Phil

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    I have been testing for over almost a year and quickly found out that it would be easier to become a paid FF if I were to become a medic. Did I make the decision to become one? No. I don't have the desire to be a Medic and I know if I were to become one just to get into a department, I'd be cheating myself, my crew, and the public. If you have a desire to become a Medic to practice as one, by all means go for it. But if it is just to get an upper hand in the hiring process, beware!

  14. #14
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    I am a firefighter/medic and that is exactly what I WANTED to be. I love both aspects of the job equally and here in Ohio there are so many people are trying to get hired and you have to be a medic everywhere here. It makes me mad to no end knowing that there are guys getting jobs before me that dont even want them. Be a medic because you want to not just to get the job. Nobody likes to hear firemedics bitch the entire time because they are in the back of the squad. Dont do it unless you will enjoy your time in the box, leave it to the people who actually want to take care of patients for both yourself and the patients.
    FFII/EMT-P

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