A few days ago I got an e-mail from a person asking about medic school. He said he had his A/S, EMT, F/F1, and years as a volunteer F/F,but was wondering if medic school would be a waste of time and money. His thought was that he knew there were departments hiring EMTís and so was it worth the bother. Here was my reply:

Go for medic school. It is something you will never regret. The benefits are numerous.

If we were hiring people off of the street with no education and putting them through a F/F1 academy we would hire people with a F/F 1 before someone without one. A department that has medics would like to hire people with one, it saves them money and they can put you right to work.

Enroll and keep testing when you can, if you wish, worse case scenario is you get the job you wanted in the first place. Even if you are only part way through and get hired you still have a leg up on the competition for the job and then going through the departments program.

It also allows you to work as a medic and gain experience in the field. This not only looks good on a resume, but also helps you in becoming a good medic. I donít think you can take a city firefighter and ever get them to the point where they are anything more than adequate. If they donít do transports, they donít get the call volume and in most cases the ambulance is minutes away and then they transfer care. People that have the potential of being great medics never get the time and stresses that help to mold the best. Metal sharpens metal. Whatever doesnít kill me can only make me stronger. Etc, etc.

It allows you to test for departments that are having a medic only test and having fire experience will give you a leg up there. On the west coast, it is my experience that there are 70 people applying for every F/F position, but only 6-8 for the medic spots. We are having a challenge in hiring because we get these medic that have 4-5 years on the streets and then realize they canít retire from an ambulance and so get their F/F1. A lot of times these guy donít make good firefighters, they are also part of the reason that some departments are hard on the medics. They donít fit well into the culture of the fire department. Most chiefs are looking for a firefighter that is a medic, not a medic that got their F/F1.

Money wise there is probably no better investment you could make. I figured it out, for my department for a guy that started at 23. If he worked until he was 53 he would have made an extra $190,000 over their career, and then would receive an extra 10% all through retirement, and that is if they stayed a firefighter their whole career.

Lastly it is knowledge you can use for the rest of your life. Knowing about anatomy and physiology will help you forever. I donít know anybody that has gotten their medic, that latter on hasnít found a relative who was taking drugs together that werenít supposed to be.

I hope posting this will help some of you with making your decisions. This is just my personal opinion; the views expressed here do not reflect the views of this station. No animals were harmed in the production of this posting. Driver is on a closed course. Any similarities between people mentioned herein and real persons are completely by chance. Objects are larger than they appear. The decision of the judges are final.

Good Luck, Captain Rob