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College Grad, Division 1 athlete thinking of becoming Paramedic, have so questions


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I played football at Fresno State and graduated almost a year ago now with a degree in Liberal Studies. I have not really made up my mind on what i would like to do for the rest of my life. I was always going to go into coaching at the college level but I have a 4 year old and my girlfriend and now that I have my little family started being a coach and moving around a ton just is not somthing I want for my family.

Somone suggested being a fire fighter and that sounded good to me. As I was looking into it alot of jobs here in CA are firefighter/paramedic (seems silly to me) so I started looking into paramedic stuff and I think id like to just be a paramedic. Iv also thought about Parole officer and police work. I basically would like to do somthing were im serving my community and helping people. Paramedic seems to be exactly that.

Was wondering if anyone knew around what id make in Fresno as a paramedic? I know may seem shallow but CA, even Fresno, housing is expensive. And what about some other areas like Los Angeles and surrounding areas and the Bay area?

My girlfriend is going to be aplying for nursing school this next semester so once she is done she will make good money, she can be my sugar momma.

Another thing is retirement for firefighters and police seems to be really good in CA but not sure about Paramedics. Anyone have any info on this?

Thanks you guys.

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Somone suggested being a fire fighter and that sounded good to me. As I was looking into it alot of jobs here in CA are firefighter/paramedic (seems silly to me) so I started looking into paramedic stuff and I think id like to just be a paramedic. Iv also thought about Parole officer and police work. I basically would like to do somthing were im serving my community and helping people. Paramedic seems to be exactly that.

Undecided? California? Something even more silly than FF/Paramedic? How about this job:

http://www.sunnyvaledps.com/recruiting.htm

The Money:

http://sunnyvale.ca.gov/Departments/Public+Safety/Recruiting/

Public Safety Officers have had their place in history and there are still several communities throughout the U.S. that utilize them.

Edited by VentMedic
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Undecided? California? Something even more silly than FF/Paramedic? How about this job:

http://www.sunnyvale.../recruiting.htm

The Money:

http://sunnyvale.ca....ety/Recruiting/

Public Safety Officers have had their place in history and there are still several communities throughout the U.S. that utilize them.

How can one person be proficient in all those rules? Is that even possible?

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How can one person be proficient in all those rules? Is that even possible?

That is the great debate. Most here seem to agree you should be able to be one so you can be excellent rather than just good as when you are divided you can not focus. Based on what I have seen to be a Paramedic only and make a decent living you will have to leave CA.

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Right now the jobs are competitive and the better positions have always managed to attracted over 1000 applicants and now with this economy, that number is very high.

San Francisco FD were just hiring for FF. It was rumored they got close to 10,000 applications. Of those, and this is from their HR website, 6,196 took the test, 5,200 passed.

They also had a few vacancies on the EMS side and I don't know how many applied and tested for that but I would imagine quite a few since there is no shortage of EMTs and Paramedics in most of California.

A couple years ago Oakland FD had open hiring for 20 FF positions and 10,000 people showed up for applications.

Even with the Private ambulance companies, finding a job is very competitive. There are not many services that are strictly 911 EMS. Even for IFT, the Paramedic is not always utilized as the RN is on the Critical Care Transport trucks with 2 EMT-Basics in several counties.

The ER Tech positions get over 200 applications for each position and they may also require additional certs such as CNA (Cert. Nursing Assistant) and Phlebotomy (requires around 140 hours of additional training).

However, not all is lost as there are some counties such as San Mateo and San Joaquin that may have opportunities for a Paramedic but again the competition will be very competitive. Many parts of California are Fire based EMS and the FFs are Paramedics. For those who want to be a Paramedic only and not a FF will be flocking to the areas where that is available and there will be an abundance of applications there as well.

Another thing to consider with some private ambulance companies is contracts are won and lost. Hiring and layoffs are a way of life in some parts of California (Bay area) and other places in the country where there are several ambulance companies competing with each other for even a nursing home contract. Those that land contract with the big hospital systems for their IFT are good until the contract is over and the goof balls they hired as EMTs and Paramedics lacked professionalism to where it is not renewed. Private ambulances that have 911 service contracts also face renegotiations and there is always the possibility of another private service offering something better or the FD waiting for a take over.

To see if you really have an interest in medicine to be a "career" Paramedic somewhere, sign up for Anatomy and Physiology over the two summer sessions if they are available. You girlfriend can help you pick the classes that she needed for nursing school. Actually, I would recommend all the prerequisites and other science classes she had to take for nursing school. You might decide you like it and may even want some profession that requires much more than just the little over 1000 "hours of training" it takes to be a Paramedic. The Paramedic certification requirements are listed as "hours of training" as no degree is required (although available) and it is considered a "tech trade" that can be taught at a trade school. However, I would recommend a community college for your Paramedic education to save money and obtain transferable credits toward future endeavors.

You might also decide you don't like it but those science credits will not be wasted as they might be useful for a wide variety of professions or just a better understanding of your own body. With your background you might also find an interest in Physical Therapy or Exercise Physiology. Both require a Masters degree but with your previous college background, your have a great start. Becoming a Physician's Assistant could also be within your reach. Although, I will say in California those jobs are very competitive but that doesn't mean you have to stay in California.

Heck you might even like nursing and there are programs designed to people who already have a Bachelors degree. Don't stereotype nurses as there are many different opportunities including Critical Care Transport, MICN (Mobile Intensive Care Nursing), Flight, ED and trauma centers, ICUs, OR, outreach clinics etc. Of course right now the job of your choice might be hard to find but that will change or again, you can go to where the opportunities are. Of course don't expect your girlfriend RN to make what California nurses make in other parts of the country. Even the wage difference from the Bay area to San Diego varies with a difference of over $30/hour.

There are many health care professions, although not as "glamorous" as the Paramedic and/or FF are made out to be, but they do serve the community they live and work in. Some professionals will actually see many more patients each day than a Paramedic might see in 2 - 4 shifts or more. There are also professionals who will be at the patient's side for the long haul after a traumatic event such as a car wreck or stroke. Ever wonder what happens to the athlete who breaks his/her neck or gets hit with a fast ball or bat? How about the recovery process of all the soldiers wounded in war? Ever think about the whole process from the ball field to the ED, the ICU, step down units and the whole rehab process which may start while the patient is still in the ICU? If it wasn't for the many different health care professionals involved who care, there would be many young people placed in nursing homes rather than participating in life with their families. In California, unfortunately, your role as a Paramedic may be to provide a speedy ride to the hospital without alot of protocols for intervention and those you have may be read to you by a MICN at the base hospital. However, again you can go some place where the Paramedic can excel at being a professional with a quality department.

One more thing, don't sell the idea of being a coach short especially in an area like Fresno which has way too many gangs for young people to get involved in. While your dream opportunity might not come along nor would the big money, your coaching skills could definitely be put to good use. You may prevent many young people from ever needing a Paramedic or seeing what other health care professionals do. I can't think of anything that could be more giving when it comes to your community then stirring someone from a path of harm to themselves and others.

But then there is the retirement plan issue and California has no job security anywhere in any occupation. California was in failure long before the economy crisis across the nation.

Edited by VentMedic
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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it's wonderful that you are considering a career in EMS!

As much as I like being a paramedic, I would suggest to anyone considering EMS vs. fire vs. police that the best job may be in police work It is much easier to get a job as a cop than it is to get a job as a firefighter. Once the economy improves, it won't be difficult to get a job as a paramedic for a private ambulance company, but you will never make much money. To become a paramedic also requires more education and experiences, and you'll have to support yourself for a year while you're in paramedic school.

As a cop, you'll have great pay and benefits, not to mention a great pension, and if you work for a big department, you'll have many chances for advancements or doing various jobs within the departments.

Corrections pays great in CA, and I know a few people who've done it. But is that really the job you want to be doing for the rest of your life?

I should state to obvious which is that right now no one is hiring cops, firefighters, and even private ambulance paramedics. It may take a few years for the CA economy to turn around, but once it does there will be a great demand once again.

Vent makes an xlnt suggestions about taking an anatomy/physiology course first. I would suggest that you also take an EMT course afterwards. This will give you an idea of whether you find medicine interesting, and once you get your EMT cert, you may be able to find a job working on an ambulance, though most likely it will be only doing non-emergency interfacility transports. If you find that you don't like medicine or you don't like working on an ambulance, you can consider becoming a cop, and your experience as an EMT will be well regarded. I would also very strongly suggest that you finish your bachelor's degree as that is now sought after by most police departments.

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