Probie seeking advice: out of state testing.
I'm going to apologize beforehand. This is going to be a long posting, but if you have perspective that could aid or guide me I ask with all sincerity to please bare with me. I could use all the guidance and perspective I can obtain.
I've wanted to ask and see if anyone out there reading this has found that it's worth traveling and taking tests for other cities not in their general vicinity. I know that's a rather dumb question to start out with, "never miss the opportunity to take a test, especially if it's fulltime." I want to focus this posting on testing out of state. I'm a probie here in the Cincinnati area, I'm new to the game, 6 months field experience for 3 part time departments and in paramedic school. I'm just about to turn 20, I'll have my paramedic in January, my family is here in Ohio, but other than that I have no real ties to the area. I don't pretend to know a lot about anything, especially firefighting, but if I can say I've done one thing reasonably well from what my teachers drilled into my head in school its, ears and eyes open, mouth shut, and coffee made dishes done. I've heard a lot about opportunites out of state for paramedics when it comes to fulltime jobs.
There aren't a lot of opportunities for fulltime here in Ohio, in my area a lot of fulltimers are being faced with lay offs even with 15 years on department and the opportunities that there are, are over saturated with paramedics. I was curious if there's better job stability and opportunity in other areas. I'm not much of a man to tolerate the heat. I have heard there are openings down south. I am looking at the Western half of the country. Texas to Washington, Wisconsin to California. I hate to be the prototypical probie saying I want big city, and lots of fire. So does everyone else. I'm looking for good financial standing/growth in the municipality, aggresive EMS, and preferably aggresive fire. I work for departments that are very progressive on the EMS side. I work under very aggressive protocols, and I love it. It leaves little to be desired, and when you work with excellent medics it can make a world of difference in prehospital EMS.
I'm testing in Seattle at the end of October. By all means I am more than happy to pack a bag and go take a test. I'm excited, I enjoy travel, and I think Washington could offer me a lot of nice things. I just wanted perspective from someone who may have gone after a test and gotten the job. It always seems that when I hear about fulltime fire jobs I feel like I'm in the Grapes of Wrath; and out of state jobs are made out like there's a land of milk and honey handing out turnout gear and benefits. I have learned a lot from the firefighters who have taught me, but I'd like to get the full story, I like being thorough. It just seems that the people I poll information from here either are old timers who didn't move and got in on fulltime early, young fulltimers who got lucky and stayed, or veteran part timers who are in the same boat, but situated or rooted here. Few to none have experience with out of state jobs or successful testing. Most test in the general area and a few go South to test, SC, FL, GA, etc. I love the guys I work with, but I don't want to get stuck here to beg for scraps in hopes for full time.
I have goals I want accomplished, and I'm trying to responsibly manage my time and get as much accomplished as I can. I grew up in a family with a base of centristic value of military service no matter the branch(mother's side West Point, step father Marine Corps veteran. Father's side Marine Corps and Navy.) I wanted to enlist in the USMC Reserves right out of highschool after I got my NREMT and fire card, but my parents wanted me to get my paramedic card first. I still want to serve, and still want to pursue full time. I want to draw from an even larger pool of experience and perspectives than I can at the local level which I currently am.
I would like to know what the best options are for completing my goals, how I can I test fiscally responsible and efficently, and if in others' experiences that moving has been benefical. Also if anyone has perspective if out west the EMS is as progressive as I have been told it is and what is the financial climate for paramedics West of the Mississippi. Thank you for reading this, and I hope to receive comments and use all information I can. I apologize for the length.