1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Cleveland, Ohio

    Default Paramedic or Degree

    Should I get my paramedic certification or my two-year or four degree first?
    I’m interested in becoming a firefighter and I happened to read the letter, “You Want To Become A Firefighter, Should You become a Paramedic?” Should I get my two-year or four degree in Fire Technology first before becoming a paramedic? Should I get my EMT certificate before getting into a paramedic program?

    We strongly recommend that if you are deciding between a 2-year or 4 degree or your paramedic certificate, that you work towards your paramedic certification. Many municipalities are currently requiring applicants to either be certified paramedics or to be in paramedic school to take the exam. What good is having a four year degree and you can't even take the exam !!!

    Your goal is to have the credentials that cities are requiring to be able to take the examination, get your foot in door and to put yourself in a position to be hired. Less than 1% of municipalities across the country require you to have a 2 or 4-year degree to take a firefighter examination.

    Brent Collins is an Assistant Fire Chief with the Cleveland Fire Department and President of Don McNea Fire School. Go to www.fireprep.com or www.firemanEMTParamedic.com for more information on test taking strategy and advice.

    You can find more on testing secrets by Chief Collins in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.
    Last edited by dmfireschool; 11-25-2005 at 04:50 PM.

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    I hate to see people become paramedics simply to get hired on the fire department. If it is not your passion to become a paramedic, do us all a favor and don’t. You will be unhappy in the job and your patient care will suffer.

    I spent 9 years as a firefighter paramedic and I can truly say that it was one of the best times in my career. In fact, I haven’t stick a needle in a patient since I promoted 9 years ago. Even so, I still maintain my paramedic license.

    If you are passionate about being a paramedic then by all means I encourage you to pursue your goal. If you’re doing it simply to check a box…….don’t do it!

    There are plenty of jobs out there for squared away, dialed in people. Take fire science classes, learn about our trade, get involved with a volunteer department, become an EMT and most importantly, LEARN HOW TO TAKE A FIRE DEPARTMENT INTERVIEW!

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Cleveland, Ohio


    If a fire applicant is unhappy about becoming a paramedic they usually drop out during the paramedic program. I would bet 98% of individuals who become a paramedic have a sincere desire to help people. My point is this, what gets your foot in the door to be hired more than anything else, being a paramedic.

    Take a look at the job announcements these days what is the glaring requirement, is it being a volunteer, EMT, having a fire science degree ?? None of those. Its being a paramedic.

    Brent Collins is an Assistant Fire Chief with the Cleveland Fire Department and President of Don McNea Fire School. Go to www.fireprep.com or www.firemanEMTParamedic.com for more information on test taking strategy and advice.

    You can find more on testing secrets by Chief Collins in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    metro Washingon DC

    Default Battle of the subject matter experts!

    Hi guys,

    Since the adoption of the 1999 DOT National EMT-Paramedic Curricula most training programs for paramedicine have been forced into the community colleges, teaching hospitals or universities. The National Association of EMS Educators were contracted by the Department of Transportation (NHTSA) to update the curricula and that was one of their goals.

    A paramedic program that is accredited by CoAEMSP (http://www.coaemsp.org) represents about 28 semester hours of a 60 semester associate degree.

    Add four to six semester hours to obtain EMT-Basic and CPR.

    Add four to eight semester hours for Anatomy and Physiology (Science with Lab) - required class for the paramedic program

    Add six semester hours for English Composition

    Add three semester hours for a math class

    Add three to nine semester hours for social science and humanities

    And you have accumulated 45 to 53 semester hours of a 60 semester hour associate of applied science.

    Passion and dedication aside, firefighter candidates with a National Registry EMT-Paramedic certification will receive preferential consideration.

    In some departments it is a mandatory pre-employment requirement. In many other departments it will trump all other preferential employment considerations or mandates. The only exception is when the preferential consideration is a component of a court consent decree.

    My recommendation: Obtain an EMT-Paramedic certfication if it significantly improves your attractiveness to the employer of your choice. Obtaining the associate degree is generally not as critical.

    Passing the mandated paramedic and science classes completes more than 60% of the work to get the degree. Be aware that some colleges will not allow you to sit for the national registry paramedic exam until you have completed all of the associate degree requirements.

    This is what I posted for the northern Virginia firefighter candidates:

    Michael Ward is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at The George Washington University, where he runs the undergraduate distance education programs for Emergency Paramedicine and EMS Management. http://www.gwumc.edu/healthsci/Programs/EHS/ehs_bs.htm

    A retired firefighter/paramedic from a large urban county fire department, Ward also has twenty years experience as a community college educator, including five years as the fire science program head. http://www.nvcc.edu/home/mward/index.html

    Ward is the primary author of Fire Officer: Principles and Practice that was published by Jones and Bartlett for NFPA and IAFC in 2005. http://www.nvcc.edu/home/mward/hmtl%...ook%20info.htm
    Last edited by MikeWard; 11-26-2005 at 08:22 PM. Reason: spelling, editing for clarification

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Which Path

    Two friends, Dave and Scott were volunteers in their city. Dave had been convinced that he needed to get a degree in order to be hired. Scott told him to stay, become a medic and they would get on. Dave went off for six years, got his BA degree in business and still couldn’t get hired.

    Scott became a medic and was hired by his volunteer department. He now has 6 years seniority, made more than $100,000 each year with OT ($140,000 last year---that’s real money) and enjoys the good life, more toys than you could imagine and has traveled everywhere.

    Guess what? Dave finally figured out he needed to become a medic (yes, he enjoys the medic side) to get hired. He just got hired. Where you ask? The department he was a volunteer for. But he had to figure something else out first.

    Dave’s dad is one of the guys I work out with at the gym with. Dave had been trying to get a fire job. He has all the usual credentials. Firefighter 1, BA degree, 3 seasons with CDF, rode ambulance yada, yada, yada.

    He has been testing for over 6 years. His dad gave him a coaching session just prior to his oral for his dream department. Dave had been practicing with a tape recorder. During the coaching session, Dave expressed his burning desire, passion, “my life won't be complete until I get a badge” compassionate longing, agonizing story.

    One problem. Dave sucked big time! Even after testing for 6 years, he wasn't ready for any oral board. His answers were garbage. This should be no surprise, because most candidates are not ready either. Coaching usually takes about an hour. We ended at 2 hours. His closing was a dog and pony show (I wished this candidate would just end and get out of the room) pathetic mess.

    I asked Dave how he expected to get a badge when he hadn't spent the time to get ready for an oral. He said, like most candidates, (a big clue here), he thought he was. This is what most candidates think. Does this sound like you? Captain Bill Long is an oral board rater. He said you knew which candidates were really prepared. Those prepared candidates caused you to straighten up in your chair.

    The important point to realize is it doesn't take much to improve your situation and separate yourself from the clone candidates. Dave only had a couple of days to review his coaching tape and redial his approach.

    He called me the day after his interview. He sounded like he didn't step on any land mines, wasn't stumped and was able to put it together to make a real good presentation.

    A few days later, there was a message on my recorder. A guy was yelling, Captain Bob, you are the man. It was Dave. He had just received the call that he was going to the Chief’s Oral. His first in the six years he had been testing. Not only was he going to the Chief’s Oral. He was number . . . 2! They were interviewing 30 candidates for 5 jobs. How do you like those odds?

    When you are going for all the marbles, you want to make sure you’re riding the winning pony!

    As my son Rob says, “There's an oral board in your future, you just don’t know when.” Do you want to be telling yourself ‘I suck’ coming out of your next oral and you will do better next time. Or, have that feeling that you knew ‘I smoked it’ and it was going to get you that badge?”
    Dave got the job. His dad pinned his badge at graduation. Lots of tears.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:

    Fire "Captain Bob"


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