Thread: Am I Realistic?

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    jjs
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    Default Am I Realistic?

    Hello everyone. Total new guy here.

    There has always been a desire to be a firefighter but just never did it. Now, life is heading me down that path and I'm looking into a career change and hopefully will be a firefighter.

    However, I'm 35 years old and just now looking into signing up for a paramedic course and then firefighter I & II after that. The paramedic course may take 2 yrs plus (I have to do night courses because I have to keep my day job - for now). I'm thinking just do the EMT and then the firefighter courses but I figured the paramedic training will help me get hired.

    Is it a possibility to get hired at all when I'm 37 years old? I know age discrimination is not allowed and all that but I want to be realistic with myself and my family. I'm married and have two small children. I can't afford to play around and go to school to later find out it was all a waste because I'm too old. I'm in good shape - could be better but overall "good". I can get into great shape and I have the discipline so I really am not worried about that part of it.

    What do you guys think? Do the EMT and then the firefighter? Or go all out and do paramedic to set me apart? I'm thinking at my age I may need that extra bonus point.

    Any thoughts? Thank you in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjs View Post
    Hello everyone. Total new guy here.

    There has always been a desire to be a firefighter but just never did it. Now, life is heading me down that path and I'm looking into a career change and hopefully will be a firefighter.

    However, I'm 35 years old and just now looking into signing up for a paramedic course and then firefighter I & II after that. The paramedic course may take 2 yrs plus (I have to do night courses because I have to keep my day job - for now). I'm thinking just do the EMT and then the firefighter courses but I figured the paramedic training will help me get hired.

    Is it a possibility to get hired at all when I'm 37 years old? I know age discrimination is not allowed and all that but I want to be realistic with myself and my family. I'm married and have two small children. I can't afford to play around and go to school to later find out it was all a waste because I'm too old. I'm in good shape - could be better but overall "good". I can get into great shape and I have the discipline so I really am not worried about that part of it.

    What do you guys think? Do the EMT and then the firefighter? Or go all out and do paramedic to set me apart? I'm thinking at my age I may need that extra bonus point.

    Any thoughts? Thank you in advance.
    My mother is 48 and going back to school to become a nurse, so don’t be discouraged because of your age. I’m not sure where you live but the program to become a FIRE/EMS in Philadelphia is about 4 months intense training. The long time paid FIRE/EMS might be able to answer your questions with more detail. From what I know about my department most of the guys that are firefighters started as firefighters then got certfications as an EMT or Paramedic.

    No education is ever a waste, if you truly want to be a Firefighter/EMT you’ll have a job for life. If you’re in good shape you shouldn’t have a problem at all. I could see if you were starting at an age when your heart wasn’t as good as it used to be. Assuming you have a college degree that’ll probably help you as well because some departments require an assosiates degree or higher.

    I’m starting out at 20 as a volunteer firefighter and hoping to be a career and some point. So this is why I say you’ll probably get better answers from the guys who have been firefighters for life. But from what I’ve observed from my own volunteer department, we’ve got guys that are in their 50’s doing this. From what I can tell a lot of the career and volunteer guys your age seem to be pretty happy in the job.
    Last edited by JasonAre; 10-03-2010 at 05:31 PM.
    ďThe more you sweat in practice the less you bleed in battle"

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    jjs
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    I appreciate it.

    I'm in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I've heard mixed remarks from friends and family. I just don't want the nice remarks to be just that - nice. I need to be certain. I want to be sure that my goal is obtainable. It is obtainable in my heart but I don't want to later find out that the age thing was something I should have investigated/checked into beforehand. Imagine doing all the training and required courses to later find out the age cut-off is 35 or something. I just turned 35 a month ago. For some reason I remember reading somewhere that some states have an age cut-off. I hope I'm wrong.

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    Anything is possible. Except with this job its a lot easier if you test everywhere and anywhere u can. That means going out of your own state. The only thing that may hinder you is that some departments have an age restriction. For example, where i am from you cannot test if you are over 36. Just keep that in mind when u start looking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjs View Post
    I appreciate it.

    I'm in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I've heard mixed remarks from friends and family. I just don't want the nice remarks to be just that - nice. I need to be certain. I want to be sure that my goal is obtainable. It is obtainable in my heart but I don't want to later find out that the age thing was something I should have investigated/checked into beforehand. Imagine doing all the training and required courses to later find out the age cut-off is 35 or something. I just turned 35 a month ago. For some reason I remember reading somewhere that some states have an age cut-off. I hope I'm wrong.
    Visit your local firehouse, read up a lot of stuff on here. Thatís basically what I did to make sure I wanted to do it. Most firefighters Iíve talked to have said they canít imagine doing anything else. Around here fire acad. is like 6000 dollars total. So Itís not so bad, my goal is to become a fire marshall or investigator.
    ďThe more you sweat in practice the less you bleed in battle"

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    jjs
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    I'm going to call around tomorrow (Monday) and see where I get. I want to get in and make a serious career out of it. I think here you have to do the EMT first and then the fire. Anyone know for certain what order it is in Ft. Lauderdale?

    If anyone else knows of any age restrictions, please let me know.

    Thanks guys

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    At the age of 65, Colonel Harlan Sanders received his first social security check for the amount of $103.00. He quickly decided either he was going to have to get used to living on $103.00 a month, or he was going to have to do something of value to create revenue for himself. So he took an old recipe he had for fried chicken and tried to market it to restaurants for five cents a chicken. He went to more than a thousand restaurants, who all said NO, before finally finding one that would agree to his business proposition.The restaurant became a local landmark for it's fried chicken and as for Colonel Sanders?? Well..the rest is history as they say!

    I tell this story to illustrate that it's never too late to change careers or to be a success. Now that said, I recognize that when applying for firefighter jobs, many agencies do have age restrictions. But the landscape is changing in many agencies. In my state, age restrictions are like age discrimination. In my department, as long as you can still physically perform the job in every facet, you're golden!! The average age of many of our academies is 36 years of age. Part of that is because we like to hire mature, responsible people who have a work history of being reliable, punctual and realize the importance of what we do.

    But now to your question. The paramedic route is a smart one when positioned with some good, solid oral interview skills. Oral interviews are weighted 100% and a lot candidates assume just because they have a bunch of merit badges (paramedic cert, hazmat cert, firefighter cert..) that they're going to be handed a job because they jumped through a few hoops!! Naw!!!

    Now as someone that worked as a Firefighter/ EMT for a couple years before going to paramedic school, I'm not gonna lie: paramedic school ain't no joke if you haven't been exposed to this material. Even EMT can be a challenge. So in terms of the age situation, it's good to get moving, BUT if you hurry so much through the training; without "some" actual experience, you become more a liability than a help. Be methodical and practical!! You have a full-time job. EMT and fire science classes can be taken concurrently. Refine your oral interview skills. Start taking tests wherever and anywhere you can to get practice testing. If possible, get some practical EMT experience and later on when you get some time, you can look into the part time paramedic program.

    You have a lot on your plate. But whether you want to change careers to be a firefighter, or have a recipe for fried chicken, your wife and kids still deserve not 80% of you; not 95% of you, but 100% of you!!

    "The Axeman"
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    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields POWER AND DOMINION IN ACTION!!!"

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    jjs
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    I hear you. I know exactly where you're coming from. I have to look into this more and see really what, if any, restrictions there are. It would be devastating if the cut-off is 35 or 36. I'll update this thread with what I find out tomorrow.

    Keeping my fingers crossed.

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    A few forum members here are in The Sunshine State with you there. They should show up here soon and be able to address some of your questions too.

    Not to burst your bubble, but I'm recalling some of them saying that FL is a little difficult to get into the Fire Service from. Are you and your family willing and able to move to another state?

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    jjs
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    Moving out of state is really not an option.

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    Itís not uncommon to see candidates in their late thirties or early forties hired, especially paramedics. Over age thirty candidates have life experiences younger candidate canít match.

    The oldest candidate we know was an EMT and FORTY-SEVEN YEARS OLD! He also scored higher than his Son on the same list and got the job.

    Work towards your EMT. During that time you will find out if this is for you. Then you can decide on becoming a medic which is needed for many departments in Florida.
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    JJS, i am FF/PM here in south florida, currently trying to get hired on. Let me try to shed some light on the hiring scene down here.

    First off i do not believe there is a cut off age at any department that i know of (maybe city of miami) but not completely sure, in the tri county.

    As far as hiring and training.. times are very rough down here latly.. besides city and countys not able to fund for hiring, the candidate pool is swamped, id estimate approximatly 9-10 thousand trained candidates between the tri county. And besides the public colleges (BC,MDCC,PBCC) there are about a dozen or so private colleges that are pumping out EMT/Paramedic monthly on "fasttrack" courses.. id say 50 paramedics graduate every month between all the school.

    Which leads me to answer another of your questions on training.. if u want to stand a chance at getting hired.. Go to paramedic school! everyone down here is a paramedic, and the majority of the departments down here will only consider u if you are a paramedic. ive been told by captains and battalion chiefs to consider doing nursing school first (as a RN u can challene the state paramedic test without having to take any paramedic classes) just to have a upper hand on all the paramedics down here.

    My observations is when it comes down to getting hired and your just as trained as the next guy you need something to stand out(especially with smaller departments)... vet status, some kind of previous public service/life safty work experience.. unless you have some kind of "in" with a department, family member or friend that can get u hired. the competition is rough. And im sure your aware that u need to have a spotless driving, criminal record. departments will look back as far as seven years on your driving record.

    If you do not want to relocate your best bet will be with the big 2, MDFR, PBCFR. Miami dade is one of 2 departments that will hire guys off the street with no training what so ever, if u decide not to do any training at all. Palm beach county u need to be a minimum if of FF/EMT. these bigger departments are a little easier to get on with due to the large number that they hire (when they do hire)... and other politics.

    So, i dont mean to discourage you whatsoever, just giving you a idea of whats going on latly. times are rough and the competition is tough but if u REALLY want it, you can get it. i know of people that told me it took them 7-9 year to get hired down here, but they toughed it out. Best of luck to you.

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    jjs
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    That sounds like a plan for me. I planned on doing the paramedic just to stand out and now I'm convinced I need it. My driving and other background stuff is fine. I had an expired tag last year but that was the worst of it. I paid the fee and extended my plates. Otherwise I should be okay in that department. Should I do the EMT/paramedic at BCC? Or do you recommend the Broward Fire Academy?

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    Default I was 42 when I went to fire school

    I am in Florida and went to the fire academy at age 42, although I was already working as a medic for 18 years at that point.

    I agree with the above advice. Age restrictions mostly apply to big city FDs in other states. Don't worry about that.

    What you do need to worry about is what Sinastar said. The job market is very tight. Some departments have laid off and, in general, those laid off will get first shot at the rare opening that happens at another department.

    FF/PM will get you the best shot but you'll be in a pool of many others in exactly the same spot you are in. All (I think) of the FDs in PB, Broward, or Dade , except MDFR, will require FF/EMT at a minimum to apply. Keep in mind the City of Miami and MDFR get thousands of applications for few openings. I think Miami got 3,000 and MDFR got 10,000 the last time they opened up hiring.

    My advice is do what many others have done. Get your EMT and work for a private service or in the ER. This will get you some exposure and the opportunity to look around.

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    jjs
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    Registered to take the TABE test tomorrow and then will register for EMT after that. We'll see where this journey takes me. I appreciate the help/advice.

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