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  1. #1
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    Default Paramedic or Degree?

    I've been doing some thinking about what I want to do. I'm beginning to lean toward the medic license, more than continuing to pursue a degree in fire science. In your opinion, what is a better route to get on the job? Thank you in advance for the feedback.


  2. #2
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    What state are you in???

    Find out the minimum requirements to apply and get them

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    I live in Ca. the usual minimum requirements are, H.S. diploma/GED. But I want to have more than the minimum requirements. So I'm just not sure if I should do EMT and a degree or Paramedic.

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    I'm sure you've been looking at the descriptions, but many jobs in CA these days require a completed State Fire Marshal Certified Academy and some jobs are only open to Medics since many departments are going that way. I don't believe I've seen any that require a degree.

    If you have the time and money to do so, get the Medic license. I know I would! I assume it would save the departments time and money, so you're almost instantly a better candidate.

  5. #5
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    Medic.........

  6. #6
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    The time I do have, but the money would be the only questionable side of it. I'm definitely leaning toward the medic license. I'll do some further research on how much medic school will cost me. Thank you for the feedback, it's greatly appreciated! If anyone else has something to say, please do so.

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    A degree in paramedicine would kill two birds with one stone, and you'd probably come out of it as an honest to god good paramedic instead of the usual patch factory graduate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emt161 View Post
    A degree in paramedicine would kill two birds with one stone, and you'd probably come out of it as an honest to god good paramedic instead of the usual patch factory graduate.
    That sounds like a real good idea. I'm going to look into that for sure. Thank you! Do you know around how long it takes to obtain that degree?

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    I have two college degrees. It helped with the interview process, but not one the departments I applied required it. Paramedic, on the other hand, was a requirement for about half of the departments I tested with. And all but one required it within two years of hire. Go medic first. A lot of places will help you with tuition for your fire science degree.

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    Get a degree in nursing.
    FF/Paramedic

  11. #11
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    What is the closest distance between you and a badge? Where are you going to get more bang for your buck? Where are up to 80% of the job offerings?

    Answer: Fire/medics

    There are up to 800 candidates chasing each firefighter job. How many are chasing a fire/medic job?

    Answer: 12-20. Which odds do you like better?

    The path to become a medic is about 2 years with gaining some savvy street time. If you can get in an academy in that time period it will be convincing evidence that you have the hands on experience that a department can take a risk on you.

    From a candidate:
    With all due respect to all that was said, speaking as a volunteer firefighter who has a 4 year degree, I would say that getting your BA or BS for a firefighter job is not a good way to go. I got my BS, and $100,000 later, I'm hoping to work in a job that requires only a technical certification that costs $250. and having the BS with out the tech cert makes me pretty much unhirable.

    Get your paramedic. get your FF1 and FF2. get your hazmat tech. those are what is going to make you valuable to a company. A 4 year degree is worthwhile, but only if you use it. most departments aren't requiring them. some departments will even pay for you to attend college courses. yes, it helps if you want to become an officer or a chief officer. but your going for entry level. your going to have to pass the physical, pass the psych test, pass the written, and pass the oral board.

    Focus on your goal and don't let anything get in your way until you get it.
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  12. #12
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    It depends on a couple of things.
    1. How old are you?
    If you are on your late teens, I would encourage you to go to a four year school and earn your Bachelors degree. Very few departments are going to hire someone who is 20 or 21 years old. (Before anyone tells me that they got hired at 20, I will tell you that I personally got hired at 20. I will tell you that I would not have hired me at 20, eventhough I may have been pretty mature for a 20 year old).
    If you use your time wisely you can have a Bachelors degree by the time you are in your early 20's. This will put you head and shoulders above the rest of the testing crowd.

    2. Have you been through a fire academy?
    Many California departments will not allow you to test without one, even if you have a paramedic license. Most fire department academies are extremely difficult, many have a 30-45% failure rate. Going into a fire department's recruit academy without a previous fire academy is very difficult.

    3. How much EMT experience do you have?
    If you are not a STRONG EMT, you will struggle during the internship phase of paramedic training. Get a good foundation as an EMT before considering PM school. This means running 911 calls as an EMT.
    Paul Lepore
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    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulLepore View Post
    It depends on a couple of things.
    1. How old are you?
    If you are on your late teens, I would encourage you to go to a four year school and earn your Bachelors degree. Very few departments are going to hire someone who is 20 or 21 years old. (Before anyone tells me that they got hired at 20, I will tell you that I personally got hired at 20. I will tell you that I would not have hired me at 20, eventhough I may have been pretty mature for a 20 year old).
    If you use your time wisely you can have a Bachelors degree by the time you are in your early 20's. This will put you head and shoulders above the rest of the testing crowd.

    2. Have you been through a fire academy?
    Many California departments will not allow you to test without one, even if you have a paramedic license. Most fire department academies are extremely difficult, many have a 30-45% failure rate. Going into a fire department's recruit academy without a previous fire academy is very difficult.

    3. How much EMT experience do you have?
    If you are not a STRONG EMT, you will struggle during the internship phase of paramedic training. Get a good foundation as an EMT before considering PM school. This means running 911 calls as an EMT.
    I'm 21 years old, going on 22 years in August. I have not been through a fire academy. I'm currently in school for my EMT-1. I just started to look into the fire service last year in Sept. My whole background is Automotive Repair, I went to school for it and I've also owned my own shop.

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    Mechanical aptitude is very rare for young people these days. I would be sure to stress your ability in your interviews.
    I would encourage you to get your fire science prerequisites and put yourself through a basic fire academy. You should be able to accomplish this in the next 12 - 12 months. While you are doing this, get a job on an ambulance that runs first in 911 calls. This will prepare you for paramedic school.
    If it all goes well you could be through a fire academy and paramedic school by the time you are 24. Not only will you be very marketable to get hired but you will have a great template for making it through a fire department's academy and through probation.
    Good luck to you....
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar N. View Post
    I've been doing some thinking about what I want to do. I'm beginning to lean toward the medic license, more than continuing to pursue a degree in fire science. In your opinion, what is a better route to get on the job? Thank you in advance for the feedback.
    paramedic all the way it will help you a lot more than a fire science my local deptments do 80-90% med calls and 10% fire calls you will also be able to run your engine or truck as an ALS unit

  16. #16
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    Listen to Chief Lepore. There are three basic job descriptions for FF jobs in CA.

    1. 18 and breathing, EMT (maybe) - Tons of competition, ridiculously long hiring process, etc, etc.

    2. CSFM Academy - Departments that don't have the time or finances to put you through a full academy. As Captain Bob mentions much less competition. Less competition = better chance of getting hired.

    3. FF Lateral Transfer - Already working in the job looking to change departments.

    Paramedic certification is a huge value add for 2 or 3. Not much more than an interview bullet point for #1.

    My recommendation: Apply for anything that has the job description of #1 now. No reason not to and you want to start getting experience with tests/interviews now. Get your CSFM Academy done next and then do your EMT-P. Along the way keep applying to any department you meet the minimum requirements for. You might get lucky.

    Once you get settled into your career you can use department money to finish that degree that will help you promote to Chief someday.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by egrus21 View Post
    Listen to Chief Lepore. There are three basic job descriptions for FF jobs in CA.

    1. 18 and breathing, EMT (maybe) - Tons of competition, ridiculously long hiring process, etc, etc.

    2. CSFM Academy - Departments that don't have the time or finances to put you through a full academy. As Captain Bob mentions much less competition. Less competition = better chance of getting hired.

    3. FF Lateral Transfer - Already working in the job looking to change departments.

    Paramedic certification is a huge value add for 2 or 3. Not much more than an interview bullet point for #1.

    My recommendation: Apply for anything that has the job description of #1 now. No reason not to and you want to start getting experience with tests/interviews now. Get your CSFM Academy done next and then do your EMT-P. Along the way keep applying to any department you meet the minimum requirements for. You might get lucky.

    Once you get settled into your career you can use department money to finish that degree that will help you promote to Chief someday.
    I will more than likely be using this advice. I just got to figure out the cost of it all. Hopefully I can afford it! And thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it!

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