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  1. #1
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    Default Help: 6-Year Path vs 2-Year Path.

    hello everyone,
    I have just completed high school and i am currently pre-enrolled to go away to a traditional 4-year college. I have a strong interest in pursing firefighting/ems as a full-time career, but the college i may be attending doesnt offer any fire science or related fields. I have family who is in the fire service and they all said they wish they went away for the experience. My question to anyone out there is..

    Should i continue my path of going away and get a degree for promotional oppurtunites down line and the experience or should i enroll to a community college where i can get my emt-p and start getting my foot in the door at firehouses? and if i do go away and get a degree, what degree would help me?

    Pros/Cons
    4-year

    Pros.. Promotions, once in a life time experience, possibly help me during hiring, and of course fall back degree if something bad happened.

    Cons.. 50k in debt, 2 more years of paramedic school with
    no job to pay off loans until paramedic school is over.

    Community College

    Pros.. Cheap, no debt, close and fast.

    Cons.. only 2 year degree, didnt have a chance to go away on my own, and i start working right away. (hopefully) its a tough market out there.

    My ultimate goal is the Chicago Fire Dept. and i know getting my name on the list is the most important part to getting hired and this is why i need everyone's help for my best route to getting there. 4 year = longer time to get hired but i have the education .. CC = Faster i can put my name on the list but i missed out on the college experience, which i feel is a pretty big thing to miss.


  2. #2
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    Default

    Do you know what you will major in???


    Have you been accepted to a college

    If so is it close enough to test for Chicago??

    Does Chicago have requirements such as firefighter cert or emt or college just to apply????
    Last edited by fire49; 05-22-2011 at 10:04 PM.

  3. #3
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    From what i understand.. chicago tests for medics about every 2 years and then your name is put on a list. They then hire off the list and they do a lottery for who gets on, but to even be qualified to take the test you need a current emt-p license. Becoming a medic is the back way into the fire service.. you can do a crossover when you get on, but that also is based off another list. The hardest part is getting on because of the amount of applicants. It can take several years before your name gets called or it could take the first hiring date to get on.. its really based on luck. I do know the fire test is every ten years and there are no requirements, but that has its own seperate list too. Its really a waiting game and getting your name on the list, but for me going to 4 year college pushes that back, but i feel it could be very beneficially later in my career.

    im undecided on what i should major in if i went away, but i did some research and people said any degree helps with moving up and to just do something that interests you. I dont know how accurate that is though. Although all this sounds like a good plan, it puts me in debt and it doesnt put my name on the list till later on and i would miss several tests in the future. thats why this is such a hard decision for me.. i could just stay home and go to CC and see if i can get a local paramedic job until i get on chicago, but i really feel like i would be missing out on an invaluable experience in my life plus a four year degree as back up. i really want to be a firefighter/medic its seriously all i think about and im just trying to plan this the best i can.

    thank you for your response and advice/opinions are greatly appreciated!

  4. #4
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    Default

    and yes i have been accepted to college. As of now, they have me down as going next year, but there is still plenty of time to change my mind if needed. I also think the next medic test should be coming up, but its all random so there is no sure way of knowing.

  5. #5
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    Well you can go to cc college for two years and take general classes that will transfer to four year college

    That way you get required general classes out of the way

    Cheaper

    And maybe fit in emt classes

    Also you can decide where you are at in a year and either take the second year at cc or transfer to four year

  6. #6
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    You know I would say do the four year school. I mean in all honesty that is something I missed out on and I regret it. I am working towards a four year degree, but because of choices I made at 16. I no longer get the full experience of college. Why can't you go through both the 4 year college and do EMT-B and EMT-P while in college. That's what I am doing my volunteer station is sending me through a local training course that will give me my state EMT-B after completed.

  7. #7
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    Go to college, get your Bachelors of Nursing. This way you'll be able to breeze through paramedic with no issue afterwards. Also, it gets you a job in the medical field....and RN's are going to be invaluable in the upcoming years with the baby boomer population growing older.

    Chicago opens their medic every 3-4 years...it just really depends. It's open now, until June 1st. So you'll probably miss the next one as well. There is no age limit to be a Medic on the city....however you MUST be under 38 (regardless of time on CFD) in order to be a crossover.

  8. #8
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    columbia southern university for fire science
    training division for paramedic.
    Unit 71 - Probationary Firefighter / First Responder
    Bossier Parish Fire District #1

  9. #9
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    Go to college and earn your 4-year degree in something of interest to you. Consider business, economics, political science. Whatever it is will be of help to you. Once you are finished with school the economy will be better and we will be hiring again.

    While there is still hiring going on right now, you are 18 years old. Most departments won't look at you seriously until you are at least 23. In the mean time get your education. It will help you the rest of your life.
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

  10. #10
    Forum Member BennyT373's Avatar
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    I did the 4 year college course (well 5.5 after losing credits on transferring schools and changing majors). If I could do it all over again, the only thing I would change is getting a degree in the medical field. Go for some form of nursing degree, get your EMT and then challenge for the medic. There in you've got your medic and a GREAT degree as well. Just my $0.02

  11. #11
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    More and more departments are requiring a 4 year bachelors degree for promotion. Get your 4 year degree while you have the opportunity to do so - fires will still be burning when you graduate and you'll be a more attractive candidate because you have a 4 year degree, different experiences, more education, be slightly older, more mature and will have shown that you can make a long term commitment to something serious and see it through.

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