1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Default Looking for some advice...

    Hello all,

    My name is Patrick and i'm a 3rd year at UCLA studying psychology. I am very determined to get into fire. I plan on going back up north to the bay area to try and find a department that will hire me. I was wondering if you guys could give me some advice on my path:

    Right now i am an EMT-B working for an ambulance company, and i am also a ski patroller at mt. high in the San Bernardino mt's.

    This summer i am appling to the CDF. Is the CDF a hard department to get hired in? This upcoming Fall, i am planning on attending a fire academy (Butte, Palomar, El Camino, Modesto). After that, i will finish my BA in psych and graduate in the spring.

    After that i am going to start applying to all departments up north that do not require medic training.

    My question is, do you guys suggest going to medic school right after college? I feel that i will be wasting too much time, and that i should try and get into fire with an emt as soon as possible. What do you guys recommend? Is my planned route to getting hired adequate, or is medic school a must in california?

    Thanks alot guys, i really appreciate the help.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
    btrotta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Enfield, CT

    Default Do whatever you have to....

    If you really want to get on a department, you want every advantage you can possibly have. And a big one is having your medic. Think about how many guys you know that are trying to get into the fire service who have their EMT. Now compare that to the number who have their medic. I'll bet the EMT's outnumber the medics by at least 5-1.

    Why would you want to compete against all of those people? It makes it harder for you to stand out. Think about it. If you can eliminate 80 percent of your competition with just one certification, why wouldn't you do it?

    I'll give you an example from my own experience. A large city department was hiring 15 guys last year. That's a big hire in an area where cutbacks, unfilled positions and hiring freezes are the norm. They required only an EMT, and they got more than 350 applicants. That's 32 applicants for every open slot. Not very good odds.

    Another large city was hiring two firefighters last year. They required all applicants to have their medic in hand to apply. They got 8 applications. That's a 1 in 4 shot of hitting the lottery. You have to like those odds.

    The department that hired me required you to have your medic or to be in school. They got 22 applications for what ultimately turned out to be 3 positions. That's a 1 in 7 shot. Still better than 1 in 32.

    You're in school now, you're in study mode, so why not take the medic class? If you're not hired right away after to finish, at least you'll have a nice raise at your ambulance service.

    And if you do get hired, you'll likely be earning more than an EMT. And you'll be able to earn more if you work for the ambulance as a side job on your days off.

    ANd nothing says you can't test while you're in school. If you get hired as an EMT, you can just withdraw from the program and finish up after you complete the fire academy.

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