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Thread: College student thinking of pursing career of firefighter/paramedic

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    Default College student thinking of pursing career of firefighter/paramedic

    Hello, I'm currently attending a community college and for the last 4 or so months I've been unsure of what I wanted to do. I've thought about becoming a firefighter in the past along with jobs in the medical field. I was looking through the college catalog and seen programs for firefighter/paramedics. I've been thinking about it the last couple days and I really think it's something I want to get into. I came across this site while googling, and thought it would be a good place for more info. Is it a good career? Do you enjoy your jobs?

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    yes

    yes

    what state are you in??

    How old are you?

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    18, Michigan

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    Hard to get hired

    If you want to stay in Michigan find out what the state / cities require just to put in an application

    If you are willing to move out of state , some states have more openings and less competition

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    TK11,

    I've loved the job for 23 years now, and am looking forward to many more years in the field. As long as you go into it expecting to do plenty of EMS and work hard, you'll be fine. Oh, and expect crappier pay and benefits than the guy you will replace. Sorry, it's the way the world is now.

    MI is a tough hiring environment for firefighters right now, and Waterford is about to lay off the 39 guys on the SAFER grant, which will make it even more competitive. Almost every FD in the state (except Detroit) requires FF I/II and EMT to be hired, and a majority require Paramedic. That's two years of full time school. I would advise the following for someone starting out at your age:

    1. Stay out of trouble. A DUI or felony will sink your chances. Driving record is very important. The background check will turn up EVERYTHING.

    2. Decide if you will stay in state. MI FF I/II is not recognized out of state. Most other states use IFSAC or NPQ certifications, so if you take FF I/II in those states you will have more options. If you're not sure you want to leave yet, go ahead and do EMT. MI and most states will accept National Registry EMT, and many will let you transfer a MI EMT state license.

    3. Take EMT first and start working for an ambulance company to gain some experience. If you aren't willing to work with sick people, you'll be better off finding out early. If you don't want to work as an EMT, find something in a trade-Construction, welding, mechanics, HVAC, electrical, etc. Trade skills are not only helpful to becoming a good firefighter, but also for setting up a side job after you are established on an FD.

    4. Go to a Fire Academy, which is 8-10 weeks full time unless you get hired by a paid on call department that will sponsor you for a night academy. Rent or borrow gear, don't buy new stuff. Another advantage of working on an ambulance is availability of afternoon/night/weekend shifts so you can work during the academy and pay the bills.

    5. Apply to every career FD you can once you have FF/EMT. Many use consolidated testing (Western Wayne, EMPCO, etc) so one written test will get you on multiple lists. Most that require paramedic don't require it until time of hire, and since tests take time and openings come sporadically, you may have time to get licensed. Study test and interview strategies on the internet and buy the practice books.

    6. Take paramedic. Another reason to work for the ambulance company-maybe they will pay tuition assistance to upgrade from EMT to Medic.

    7. Apply to a paid on call/volunteer dept to run with and gain experience.

    Chances of getting hired on your first few tries and while under the age of 22 are slim. Maturity is important, and so is life experience. Expect it to take a while to improve your test taking and interview skills.

    Good luck.
    fire5555 and snoopay20 like this.

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    I'm 20 and have been doing this for a few years now (yes, as a paid ff, I started the academy when I was 16 at my high school). It's quite a move but if you don't have any opposition to moving Auburn Fire Division (Auburn, Alabama) has a student firefighter program allowing students at Auburn University, the local community college, or online universities to become full time paid firefighters to go to school for free. I won't get into all the details unless you really are interested in the program but it allows you to get a taste of what it really is like while still getting your degree.

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    This is the greatest job ever! (that's my opinion) but I would be lying to you if I said that it's the perfect job. It has it's pros and cons and by no means is this job right for everyone. I started as a single guy in this career and I loved the work schedule 24on 48 off. I still like the schedule but now I'm married with a kid and another one on the way and I miss good quality family time/holidays/birthdays, so that makes it tuff. Plus sleepless nights at the firehouse and sleepless nights at home with a baby are rough! I think I'm part zombie anymore. But you try to put me in suit and tie or put me in a cubicle I would loose my mind! My best advice is see if you can ride out with some local 911 departments. This will give you an idea of what it is really like on a day to day basis. Good luck with your decision!! I'm in Indiana and we also just do the ff1/2

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