Thread: What would you do?
09-26-2004, 02:23 PM #1
- Join Date
- Aug 2004
What would you do?
Hey guys. Im 19, a EMT-B Student and FF1 Student. I wanna be ff/paramedic. I love it so far. I have come to the road where I need to choose colleges. I have attached what I have found out. If you guys have any input good, bad, indiffrent, plese let me know. Montco is a local community college I am attending right now.
University of Maryland, Baltimore County: Enroll in four year degree program, Emergency Health Services Ė Paramedic Track, live at one of the Prince George County Fire Departments. Already contacted one, they said the state will pay for my college if I live and work for one. Get four years riding experience with PGFD, will provide most of my FF training for free. Will receive credit for being EMT-B, they teach it part of their curriculum. Gain valuable field time with both PGFD, and DCFD (ALS precept time). Lots of calls. Most likely will transfer to DCFD, people establish residency in PGC, and than test for DCFD. Graduate with Bachelor Degree is EHS/NREMT-P.
Jefferson: Live and volunteer here for three years, finish up at Montco with two associates degrees (Emergency Management Planning / Fire Science) in two-three years. Enroll in Jeffís program. Finish with both associates and NREMT-P. Look for job around here maybe Philly (Someone told me they have a shortage and are willing to train).
UCLA: Live and volunteer here for two years, finish up at Montco with Associates in EMP. Than move to UCLA, will have to pay for school and housing. Job Placement agreement with LAFD. ALS precept time in LA. Donít get that much fire dept training though. Graduate with associates in EHS / NREMT-P / EMP
Pennsylvania College of Technology: Live and volunteer here, finish up at Montco EMP (2 years). Enroll in their program. Will receive credit because of EMT-B. Will have to pay for housing. Donít know about FD activity. Its in the middle of nowhere. ALS precept time is Lycoming, PA. Graduate with associates in Paramedic Technology / NREMT-P / EMP
09-27-2004, 12:51 AM #2
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
Remember, You're Just a Rookie
Is your goal to be a firefighter? At your age you certainly have plenty of time. But shere are you going to get the most bang for your buck?
Iíve coached several candidates who have had B.S./BA degrees in Public Administration areas. They have been misguided by counselors that said this would be an asset to get into the fire service. What ends up happening is these candidates show up at an entry-level oral board boasting to the board with their degree. What they donít understand is not many on the other side of the oral board table have this degree. And most of these candidates will never have a chance to use it in the fire service. Can you get hired going the education route? Sure. It happens all the time. Many of our non-medic candidates just started the LA City Academy.
An associate sent me this information from a fire officer who instructs Fire Protection and Fire Management programs at California State University Los Angeles. With the subject of wanna-bees desiring to get their BA/BS degrees confirmed what you and I already know about candidates in interviews showing up with BA/BS degrees. And that is they get either laughed out of the room or the interview panel becomes resentful and down goes the interview score! DUH!
This from a SF candidate: I'm currently on the SFFD H-2 list "4th Generation hopefully SFFD"! I'm also a volunteer firefighter/EMT. My volunteer Fire department requires Paramedic certifications for entry-level firefighters. After graduating from a four year university... I had an administration internship with my volunteer department where I wrote and designed the District's Master Plan and preformed statistical analysis for "time respond" for Fire suppression and medical calls. I also went on ride alongs with the engine, truck and even with the chief himself. I was told by the chief if I went out to get my paramedic license... I would be hired on the spot. Becoming a paramedic is not my cup of tea... it's been beaten in my head as a child "from my grandfather and father" to be a firefighter not a medic... ! All of the paid firefighters like my work ethic and all say they should let me in as a Firefighter/EMT.
My reply: With all due respect to your family members, the playing field has changed. It must be killing you to see these guys hired and it's not you. Like it or not, understand that 75%+ of calls are medical in nature. Eighty percent of the job offerings are for fire medics. Had you gone to medic school as I encourage candidates to do, gained the valuable in service medic street time, you wouldn't be trying to fight your way into a department as an EMT. You would be wearing the H-3 badge for SFFD (I'm 3rd generation San Franciscan myself) or another department.
John came in for a coaching session after not being able to pass any oral boards. He was one of those candidates who I think was misguided into a Public Administration Degree. During his coaching, he kept trying to come back to his degree. I finally told him, "Screw you! You want to come into my oral board and try to hammer me with a degree you may never use?" Youíre applying for a snotty nose rookie position as a firefighter!" John dropped his head and said, "Maybe thatís why I canít get through any orals."
John ended up going to paramedic school (which he should have already done instead of the B/A degree). Although he mentioned the B/A degree in his oral board answer "What have you done to prepare for this position" he focused on his personal life and paramedic experience. He got his badge!
I believe in education. If you want to get a Public Administration, Engineering or any other degree as a career track, great. Donít think it will be the key to get into the fire service. It could hurt you.
I look for the shortest distance to the badge. If I were starting out, I would run to paramedic school. It looks like Pennsylvania College of Technology could accomplish the goal and you would be near home.
Yes, you can get on without it. I have candidates all the time who get a badge without being a medic. But for the time spent and with more than 80% of job offerings being fire/medic, the odds are better.
Many departments have educational incentive programs where they will pay you to go to school. I took advantage of this program and received an additional 5% pay. This 5% was included in my retirement.
"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"
Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter
09-27-2004, 02:34 AM #3
- Join Date
- Aug 2004
Thanks for telling me all of this. The EMP / FSC Degeree were just something to do until I get my time in to go to Medic School. I need to have atleast two years street time first. Figure I might aswell get something out of it instead of just sitting by. That being said, the UMBC route might be where I should be looking. I can graduate with a bachelors and plenty of street time in three years, if I change my major next year and get some of the basics out of the way here before moving down there. I will be taking this to my Chief and asking her what she thinks as well. I know in this position, the degree is not worth **** without the street time. Thanks again for your reply.
09-27-2004, 07:43 AM #4
UMBC sounds like a rather nice deal, as any time you get college paid for it's a bonus for you. It sounds like that would also give you street time as an EMS provider AND give you some valuable time as a firefighter before cutting loose to the street. What you'll have to remember is that departments are NOT looking to hire you in 4 years as a Chief or officer; you're a rookie who happens to have 4 years of education behind him with all the certs departments probably look for. As CaptBob said, education is invaluable, for today AND tomorrow. Noone can ever take the degree away from you, and this is a great time to achieve one as you're so fresh out of HS. There's no hurry to the rest of your life, and you're not waiting 4 years before you actually DO skills or fight fire. So then think about it: you graduate at age 24 (thinking that you will have to wait for next fall's program), maybe spend a year looking for your dream job if you dont slide into a great municipal department, put in the 20-25 years for retirement, and you could be retiring with your pension at 50. Say you were to work for the fire service another 10 years after that, you'd be getting a 75-80% pension for the rest of your life. This could happen, all because you took the time to gain valuable experience (note that I didn't say degree, which I DO wholeheartedly advocate) and then prove yourself as the candidate worth that badge. Best of luck to ya, and I'm sure we'll hear what you decide! Take care~Kevin
Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
09-27-2004, 09:49 AM #5
- Join Date
- Aug 2004
O I know I wont get hired as anything other than a rookie. And frankly I wouldnt have it any other way. 4 years experience should get me a foot in the door and thats it. I really love the EMS side of the business, but around here they are only hiring FF/Paramedic. The fire side is good, but helping people is what I want to do. After I posted my earlier reply, I thought about it, and like you said no one can take away your degree, plus god forbid something happens, throw my back out/whatever, I always have that to fall back on. Im going to talk to the chief tonight about everything. The money isnt that big of a deal for me, I know this is going to sound bad, but my parents come from it, so they are paying for it. I will more than willingly pay for my own way, but they are willing to help me out here. Jeff is only 8 grand, UCLA is 8 grand, but than there are living expenses. UMBC, you pay upfront, than serve a year in a dept and than you get your money back. I really appreciate all the help guys. I just dont want to screw this up.
09-30-2004, 11:52 PM #6
- Join Date
- May 2002
Sounds like you have a great start already. Also sounds like you live in Montgomery Co. Md which is in the heart of career Firefighters/Paramedics. PG county has great busy firehouses and would be nice to live/train for free. Couple of buddies volly there. Fairfax VA and Arlington VA also nearby and are begging for paramedics. Penn Tech is a nice school and if you are looking for a much slower pace training enviroment, this is it. Beautiful county up there (family has a summer home about 50 miles north) Fire departments outside of Williamsport are running 300-500 calls fire side unknown on EMS.
Good luck and I'm sure some luck fire department will grab you up.
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