1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default just starting out - need advice

    i just registered with this forum after reading it for the past several months. i need a little advice and some insight on my situation. i will begin emt school at the end of the month and have begun to think about where to go from there. i would like to potentially get a job as a firefighter in a larger city but know that it is a possibility that that might not happen right away. my question is whether it is better to move and go to school (for firefighting) in a larger city with the hope that employment opportunities will be better in the surrounding areas or stay and go in the area that i am taking my emt-b? i would like to maximize my chances of getting hired after school and i don't know if staying in a smaller town to go to would make a difference. i do live in florida, and hear that many departments are on a hiring freeze. my thinking is based on the possibility the tax problems (preventing additional hiring) over here will be taken care of in a year when i will hopefully be done with school (emt-b and firefighter 1&2- part time) and looking for employment. basically, am i better off going to school in the area i would like to work and live or does it not make a difference?

    another question i had was does a college degree help in getting a job more quickly or would most departments rather see paramedic? my degree is in nothing related to firefighting (bs legal studies/ minor criminal justice). would it be wiser to attempt to complete the paramedic certificate prior to looking for a job? i know there have been many posts about college courses but none that i have found touch on this exact issue. i know many people have gone to school part time to get their certificate but staying in school for the additional year or two to complete the paramedic cert seems very difficult when working full time (not saying this whole process won't be difficult). any help would be greatly appreciated with these questions.
    Last edited by flrsp09; 08-18-2007 at 09:46 AM. Reason: need some responses

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
    rpferry's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004


    I wouldn't worry about the hiring freeze to much. My understanding is that any kind of change that happens won't effect the teaching/fire/police side of taxes. I think there are a few places that had a knee-jerk reaction to the initial talk of it. As far as college degrees go, any education you bring to the interview table will help, regardless of what it is. My personal recommendation would be for you to get your EMT-B and see if you like EMS. This is the bread and butter of the job now and if you don't like/can't handle this part you'll have a hard time. If you enjoy it, get your FF1@2 and start applying. I wouldn't worry about a medic cert until you get some field experience. Just my advice though. If you have other questions, feel free to send me a private message.
    Greater love has no man than to lay his life down for a friend.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Pacific Northwest


    To improve your overall chances, I would suggest you move to a location where there is a fire school and also multiple career departments within easy reach. Get your EMT-B, get on a volunteer or small POC department to gain experience for your resume, and start applying everywhere you can, even places you don't necessarily want to work, just for the experience of going through the process. I wouldn't even wait to finish the fire degree before you start applying, get into the process right away. A fire degree is not always required for employment, and you'll be more experienced with the application/testing process if you start in right away versus the guys who wait until they get a diploma before they put their foot in the application waters.

    Being in a school with many career departments around it means there will be various students in school with you that have varying levels of connections with these agencies. Classmates are usually good about sharing info about what they know about the testing processes of the agencies around them, who is good to work for, who is not, etc. Pick where you hope to work, and go to the school closest to that employer.

    I agree with the previous reply. Don't fret over your medic cert until you are sure you enjoy EMS enough to get it. It is a lot of work and not everyone requires or necessarily even employs medics. Once you get familiar with where you want to work you will be able to determine if getting a medic cert is a good idea to help your chances with that agency, but make that your last priority for after your degree is done.

    Good luck, and good questions.
    You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently
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    When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution
    and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy. - Dave Barry.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Default do what you have to

    get your emt b first, see if you like the ems side of this job. try to get onto a volley department and train, train, train. get your ff 1 and 2 if you can but the best advice is to test everywhere and anywhere you can because you will gain experience from each test/interview. the most inportant thing is you better put 110% into getting hired on because everyday you take off from studying, reading articles online, working out and training, someone else is doing that and getting closer to getting the job you want. it took me 2 1/2 years to get hired on but i never gave up and now i am writing this in my firehouse while im studying my probie book. good luck and keep at it-its worth the sacrifice and patience.

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