I was hoping to get some advice/input on a few of the best academies. I don't care where they are located. I was planning on taking out a loan and renting a house or staying on campus while I attend. I didn't know if there is such a thing as a Nationally recognized academy. The problem I have is I currently live in a small town in Southern Illinois. I can't even get on as a volunteer in the small towns around my home. I am not allowed to attend Illinois fire academy without being at least a volunteer due to medical insurance requirements. I am 31 years old and have been on several full time department hiring lists for up to 8 years. I only have 4 more years of eligibility left in some states. I just finished with my Illinois EMT Basic, and also have a Bachelor's degree but I have no previous fire experience. I am more than willing to move.
There are several states I would prefer (Florida,Texas,Alabama,California), but I am trying not to be too picky at this point. Do any of the academies place you at a department upon graduation? I am very grateful for any help or advice on what my best options are! Was also considering going on to get my Paramedic but this will take another year and not sure whether to do that it Illinois or even do it at all. I will do whatever it takes I just NEED ADVICE PLEASE HELP!!!