Major Career Decisions
Well guys I have this crazy idea in my head and it involves a drastic decision. I am 22 and work at a small career department in Alabama, because we dont run EMS it is hard to get my EMT-B and so on. I am thinking of leaving my paid job to move to Prince George Co, MD to do the Live-In program and go through school to get my Paramedic. It all sounds crazy I know so basically I am looking for any advice. Pros and Cons I guess. Any way thanks in advance for your opinions.
No private ambulance companies in your area?
No emt schools around???
No emt's what so ever around you?? Someone must have gotten certified somehow
The pg move seems drastic
I should have been more clear, we have all those things. The problem is my department giving me the time off for the classes. I don't have the vacation time to take off all the time I need. I look at it as a way to get more experience and get my paramedic at the same time.
Look into places that have classes on the shift schedule
Also look at the private ambulance companies, some of them have classes also
There are alot of variables to answering this question. I'd offer the following advice and/or rhetorical questions to guide you:
Where do you WANT to live? Said another way, are you happy living where you are? All of the money (and opportunity) in the world can be diminished if you do not like where you live. If you do, all else are details and will fall into place.
How will you support yourself if you move?
Are you married? Kids? Family obligations in Alabama? You've got to have your family's support.
What is the "opportunity cost" of moving to Maryland vs. staying put? Said another way, what are you giving up back home to move to Maryland vs. what are you giving up in Maryland if stay in Alabama. I realize some of that is easier to answer than the other but it needs to be considered.
Have you projected the course of action your department in Alabama will take over the course of the next year? Five years? Long term? Alot of things can change in the short-term and long-term.
If attaining EMT licensure/certification is your goal, look for accelerated EMT programs. Many places offer programs that are of short-duration, i.e. 40-hour weeks (Monday-Friday). You could take several shifts off, travel there, complete the training, come home, and go back to work. Ask your Chief - maybe he'll give you training leave so you can do it on the clock instead of your own dime.
Your career is an "investment". Avoid short-term, immediate gratification decisions. Make slow, calculated, and deliberate steps instead of "impulse" decisions. That being said, "golden opportunities" sometimes make themselves apparent and a quick and/or drastic choice must be made. In my opinion, throwing your career away in your current department over a volunteer, live-in program and EMT training seems impulsive. That being said, I am not you and do not have all of the information.
That is a decision you must make. Look at and evaluate all of the information and make the best decision. Do not live with regret over not thinking everything through.
Let me get this straight....
You want to leave a JOB as a CAREER FIREFIGHTER that you ALREADY HAVE in order to move to PG County Maryland, to become a VOLUNTEER to get Paramagician certification.....and then you want to try to get a job in a part of the country where competition for firefighter jobs is incredibly fierce?
No offense, but never mind the paramagician certification, I think you are certifiably insane.
I dont think you have explored all of the options fully. I applaud you for wanting to further your education in obtaining paramagician, but at the cost of quitting your current position? No fooking way. I know plenty of guys that have gotten PM on their own time- days off, shift exchanges, doing whatever they had to do; it was difficult but not impossible.
I cannot condone the idea of quitting your current job (especially in todays economy with all of the attacks on public safety personnel jobs/layoffs.) You have a job as a FF. You have seniority. You have bennies, a pension, and retirement options. To give all of this up for a course that is incredibly demanding, and moving across half of the country to no promise of a job to support yourself nor a guaranteed job doing the job for which you wanted to quit in the first place??? You need to be bitch-slapped into reality.
I actually have to agree with FWD.
Giving up a job to get paramedic, and then rolling the dice in terms of getting another job, in an area where getting another job will be difficult, certainly isn't the move that I would make.
Honestly I am not as happy here as I feel I would be there. Getting my school here is not an option my chief will not grant school leave because most people here get basic and then leave the department. I am in a position to where I can only advance my career if I stay at the department which is not necessarily where I want to be. I have no wife, kids, etc keeping me here. I also rent so no house to sell. I understand the risk I am thinking about taking, however it is what I am considering a calculated risk. Shift schedule classes would be great but the nearest school that offers it only offers that for paramedic. All these responses have made me think and have brought up great thoughts on my decision. I am looking forward to anymore input.
test for other departments???
no private ambulance or hospitals to train through??
Have been testing and all I hear is I need EMT-B. Private ambulances arent teaching right now they are only hiring trainied basics and above.
This is online, plus having to come to fort worth,
Not sure how many days call them
Do you want to work in a big city or small city? Most large cities don't require you to have EMT to test. If you have no interest in big city firefighting then you won't like PG County anyway. It's technically the suburbs of DC but they are very urban. There are some slower houses but most are busy with a "firefighter attitude". They are much more into that than ems. Have you talked to them about it? I forgot how medic school would work. I know EMT-Basic can be taken through MFRI for free but the state doesn't pay for medic school. I also recommend coming out here for a ride-along first to experience first hand what it's like being a PG firefighter. It will definitely be a lot different than what you're used to in Alabama.
I am very interested in big city firefighting. I am going there in about a month or so to do some ride a longs. One of the main reason I am interested in the fact that it is different from Alabama, I feel like the attitude there is closer to what I want. My only problem right now is choosing who to ride with. I love fighting fire, but I also am interested in EMS so I want to find a house that runs a lot of both.
Look, I am not going to tell you what to do, or what not to do. I am going to tell you a little story.
I had been looking for a firefighting job for YEARS and finally got a job teaching fire training full-time for a tech college. It was a great job, but not what I really wanted so I kept looking. I got hired as a CFR firefighter and left teaching. Keep in mind this was in 1991, I was making $18.75 as a teacher and left that to make $8.58as a firefighter. WHY? Because it was what I wanted. Then after 7 years I left there to take a firefighter position with a medium sized more urban municipal fire department. I lost $4k the first year I went to that FD but over the course of my career I have earned at least a third more than at my previous FD and I am far busier than I was as a CFR firefighter.
My point? I wanted what I wanted bad enough for it to cost me money and the uncertainty of career changes. Only YOU can decide what risk is worth the hope of change. You have to understand clearly that there is absolutely NO certainty at all that you will EVER get another firefighter job. That is the absolute harsh reality of your situation.
One other thing, do not expect to show up at fire houses anywhere without prior arrangements and expect to ride along. Generally these are pre-arranged and may include paperwork to cover everyone's butt.
Thanks for your reply, I have spoken with several of the stations in PG county and am scheduling the ride a longs accordingly. I fully understand the risks I taking, but to me they are worth it. It sound crazy to people but my chief has made it next to impossible to get any EMS training mixing that with the desire I have to be further north up the east coast it all makes it worth the risk to me.
Ok, thats different. You're not as nuts as I had originally thought. However getting a job as a FF/PM in the northeast is not as easy as you think it is. Many organizations up here dont have FF/PM. You are either one or the other, very few places have both.
Originally Posted by FFRicketts
Might I suggest the southwestern US such as Texas, Arizona, or the mid-west.....????? Wherever you end up good luck.
1) I am assuming you have split up with the girlfriend you wrote about last year.
2) Most big cities/metro areas have been under a hiring freeze/very restrictive hiring since 2009. One of the richest DC suburban areas notified employees of TWO more years of cut-backs, 5% a year. Will probably result in laid-off firefighters ... who will be rehired before you.
3) Getting ride-alongs is great. PGFD has one of the largest internet "footprints" ... overshadows other areas. As FWDbuff suggested, look to other metro areas as well.
4) Access to paramedic training programs in the DC metro area is VERY tight, some with year-long waiting lists.
5) Paramedic training requires college-level reading, comprehension and test-taking skills. Living in a busy fire station is not always the best path to academic achievement.
6) What will you do for money while living in PG and going to school? Will need wheels to get to hospital and other clinical rotations.
7) There are on-line EMT-Basic and paramedic training programs:
National Medical Education and Training Center: http://www.nmetc.com/
8) Start applying NOW to departments you want to work for ... or a least know what their hiring requirements, residency, diversity and ems-level requirements.
For majority males who are not veterans, a national registry paramedic certification provides preferential consideration in SOME departments.
For other departments it may be 30 hours of community college credits. Or living in that city for three years. Or passing the Candidate Physical Aptitude Test (CPAT).
or none of the above
Start a notebook listing each department and their hiring requirements
Which departments are you riding along at? Large departments in the area though like DC, PG(career side), Baltimore City/County, etc do not ask for paramedic when they test.
Originally Posted by FFRicketts
This guy just gave you a ton of great advice.
Originally Posted by MikeWard
I'll give you one hint though, I think we have two recruit classes starting of probably 30 people each with the DCFD in the next month. We definitely need people. We are operating off of the 2008 list which has not been used in some time. So there's a chance we may even test again in the next year or so.
I have contacted Kentland, College Park, Glenn Dale, and Branchville. I am planning to ride along at the end of the month. I don't know much about the area so any suggestions as to other good houses to visit would be appreciated.