1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Default 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.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2012


    Hey man, I am currently living out of state and moved for the job.
    It's been an awesome experience. My advice would be to research departments before you go test. How many are they planning on hiring? What their process is like. Pay. Benefits. School districts in the area(if you have or are planning on having kids). Cost of living vs income. Are their jobs in your S/O's industry for them to obtain. (if you have a S/O). There are seriously so many factors. The bottom line is you're going to have to sacrifice some stuff to get the job. Might be pay, moving away from family and friends....I can almost promise you it'll be worth it. There is nothing better than being a full time FF, IMO.
    What it boils down to is you doing the research, putting in the time and effort and being wise about the choices you make. Talk to HR, talk to guys in the station, use this forum or any other online resources.
    Best of luck, my man.
    If you have any other questions please feel free to PM me with any other questions.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    post to long so did not read it all but

    get your paramedic and come on down to texas and get a job.

    check weekly::



    some depts will hire you with just paramedic and put you thorugh fire school

    one school is online with two weeks on campus::


    as far as traveling we normally ge some out of state people when we test.

    as far as you

    1. set a budget

    2. expect to travel ot a city four to five times depending on the cities process, and that is just testing and all the other stuff prior to being offered a job.

    3. I would advise against applyiing at a city that only requires a high school ed, you are going to get in the cattle call with thousands of other people

    biggest thing is budget and time to travel

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003


    I have a bunch of thoughts on your post, so I will try to address them in no specific order. First and foremost, your post is very well thought out. Nicely done!

    Regarding signing up for the reserves - you may want to be careful about that. My concern is the difficulty is getting a job with the possibility of being deployed (I would do my research on this one).

    Regarding testing out of state - it's hard to get a job anywhere. It's even more difficult to get a job in an area where you do not have any ties to the community. The feeling is that you are taking a job from a "local". You will then get training and experience and use it to take it "home" to get a job in your home town.

    I would encourage you to identify the area of the country you want to live. Move there and get a job as a single role paramedic. Learn your trade and become a GOOD paramedic. I didn't see anything in your post about having fire science or having put yourself through a basic fire academy. This would make you a more desirable candidate. How about formal college education such as an AS degree. This too would make you more marketable.

    In summary, decide where you want to live and become entrenched in the community. Good luck!
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief

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