I'm a fire fighter - paramedic in a small town in Southeastern MA. I'm looking to relocate to southern California (I've always wanted to live out there, and now that I've just gotten hitched, I figured it was the perfect time) So I'm looking for information on the job forcast for the area, different requirements (residency, CA license, etc) as well as the possibility of lateral transfers state to state, and the process of transferring my MA state paramedic cert to a CA, or National cert...
The job market out here's been tough for several years now, but is starting to open up some due to many retirements. I know several of the larger departments (LA County, LA City, Orange County) and some of the smaller ones are or have been hiring recently. Not sure what its like up in the northern part of the state.
On the fire side, most departments require a CA FF1 cert or completion of a FF1-accredited academy (you can only get the actual FF1 once you get hired). Not sure what they'd do with out-of-state experience.
On the EMS side, most of the departments around here require a CA EMT-1 (Basic) as a minimum and prefer a Paramedic license. EMS certification/licensing is handled at both the state and county level with the county being the primary entity, so the best bet would be to speak directly to the county EMSA for wherever you're looking to move. If you go to the California EMSA website, they have links to all the county EMSAs. I've heard that it can be somewhat difficult to transfer a certification/license into CA, but I have no personal experience with that.
Additionally, many departments require a CA Class B driver's license, but may allow you to obtain that after hire. CA has both the full commercial Class B which allows you to operate commercial vehicles up to a certain size and a FF Class B which only allows you to operate fire apparatus (plus "regular" cars/trucks covered under the Class C license). Most departments allow the FF version, but some (like mine) require the full-on commercial version.
Hope this helps. If you have any other questions, or general questions about the area, feel free to contact me here or via e-mail.
Thanks... that was actually a huge help...
What is Californias stance on DOD department of defense certs? When I get out of the air force fire protection program would I have to go to the CA academy?
Lots of places in CA do lateral hires, and only require an EMT-P card, and 1 or 2 years of fulltime experience. Alot of FDs are hiring right now, and many of them only require EMT-P. If you've got your nat'l reg, you're all set. Most FDs in CA will send you through their own academy.
Since California has very firm guidelines they do not accept other states or DOD certs. For more infomation you can go to the CDF web site - www.fire.ca.gov - and look under the State Fire Marshall office for the training section.