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I'm sixty tow years young and I've been a a volunteer EMT for 34 years, an instructor for 30 of those, and an IC for 15 of those.

I recently retired from my full time career as an engineer to pursue my dream of becoming a paramedic. I'm less than a week from my state certification, and less than a month from my regional certification. I'm at the top of my paramedic class. I've been applying for jobs, mostly as an EMT with hopes for an upgrade and with all my years of experience, I've been running into brick walls. I'm beginning to face the fact that perhaps my age is being held against me. I'm in the best shape I've been in in 20 years and many tell me I look 10-15 years younger than my age.I'm in the gym every day lifting and running.

I see some of the younger EMT's on the street and the shape they're in, some are MI's waiting to happen, and their skills as EMT's are meager at best. I wonder how someone like that has no problem getting hired and I can't seem to get anywhere.

Am I fooling myself thinking that I can start a new career at this stage of the game ? I love being an EMT and I love even more what I've learned and experienced as a paramedic intern.

Anyone have any encouraging experiences ?

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I'm sixty tow years young and I've been a a volunteer EMT for 34 years, an instructor for 30 of those, and an IC for 15 of those.

I recently retired from my full time career as an engineer to pursue my dream of becoming a paramedic. I'm less than a week from my state certification, and less than a month from my regional certification. I'm at the top of my paramedic class. I've been applying for jobs, mostly as an EMT with hopes for an upgrade and with all my years of experience, I've been running into brick walls. I'm beginning to face the fact that perhaps my age is being held against me. I'm in the best shape I've been in in 20 years and many tell me I look 10-15 years younger than my age.I'm in the gym every day lifting and running.

I see some of the younger EMT's on the street and the shape they're in, some are MI's waiting to happen, and their skills as EMT's are meager at best. I wonder how someone like that has no problem getting hired and I can't seem to get anywhere.

Am I fooling myself thinking that I can start a new career at this stage of the game ? I love being an EMT and I love even more what I've learned and experienced as a paramedic intern.

Anyone have any encouraging experiences ?

I'm willing to guess that, if all that you've expressed is true, that being to old is not the issue, but being to mature may be. EMS is often looking for young ignorance that they can run into the ground working a gazillion hour/wk and not complain when they're treated unfairly. If you are in shape, represent yourself well, did well in school and are not full of bluff and bluster then stop looking for work in a the shitty places and look for the places that have severely high standards. They will likely love you.

Well, also, how many calls/mo have you been running on your volly service? Many people hiring won't like volly experience as it tends to produce a lot of false feelings of grandeur (Something that the 'doctor' in your user id leads me to believe may apply) as well as many bad habits when considered for a professional organization.

Having said that, some managers are going to be afraid of hiring someone that can see through their bullshit, but other than fire I'm not aware of any really good ones that wouldn't welcome a well conditioned mature practitioner. I was 40 when I graduated medic school and the oldest member of our class was 60 and we have both been employed full time as paramedics since graduation.

Good luck brother. I'm curious to see if you are going to continue here, and participate. If you don't, you'll be cheating yourself, honest to goodness.

Dwayne

Edited to correct spelling. No contextual changes made.

Edited by DwayneEMTP

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I'm inclined to agree with Dwayne on this one.

You've spent how many years as an engineer? That alone demonstrates to potential employers that you are 1) smart, 2) smart, 3) possibly smarter than they are and 4) possibly smarter than they are which they deem to be a threat because you'll see right through their BS. Add to that the fact that you take care of yourself and look better than many of their current, younger employees and it could be part of the reason for the cool reception you've been receiving.

Another part, unfortunately, could be your age. Proving that, however, would be tough to do.

I don't know what opportunities are available in Levittown. However, don't give up.

One thing I will suggest is to stop applying for EMT jobs and start applying for paramedic jobs. If you are this close to paramedic certification applying for an EMT job in the hopes of upgrading when the time comes will not do you any justice in the job market. You're a week away from your state certification. Don't apply for jobs that you'll be overqualified for in a weeks time.

Lastly, as Dwayne noted, please stick around. This is a good place to be as you continue to learn and grow as a medic.

Good luck! Please keep us posted.

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Dwayne and Mike,

Thanks for the words of encouragement.

To add some clarity, I volley in two seperate ambulance corps in NYC. Over the past 33 years I've averaged about 250 calls per year.

Compared to the fire based and hospital based ems services, the standards of most of the vollies have been notably on par and better. In fact, most of the leadership of these services are either former or current vollies and many of my colleagues in the vollies also work for these services.

What's frustrating is that many of our younger members with one tenth the experience and background seem to have little problem landing these jobs. The ems community here is smaller than you'd expect and I'm well respected by my peers as both an instructor and a provider. I seems I have all the right references. That's probably why I'm convinced age is the issue, but as you say, it may be the perception of maturity rather than age that's the problem.

I doubt that my passion will allow me to give up.

Thanks again for the encouragement, and I certainly will keep you folks posted.

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I worked for the North Shore LIJ Center for EMS for nearly five years. Their HQ is on Jericho Tpke, next to Syosset Hospital, right near you. I liked it there. The people there are more serious about their jobs/careers than what you'll find at the average private employer. They're infinitely expanding. They were getting into Staten Island when I left in 2007, they run out of Lenox Hill now, I believe, as well. They've been acquiring numerous MD's office contracts throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, so their IFT has a consistent 911 "flavor" to it. They also have three NYC 911 buses, and six or seven BLS, IIRC. They need medics and EMT's. Just e aware that it's not like the vollies; it's oftentimes just you and your partner that are humping the pt on a stair chair down 3-4 stories, taking the equipment with you. You may be removing a pt that passed out in the bathtub, or one that is wedged between the bed and the wall in a cluttered room where moving the bed isn't an option. If you feel you're up to the task, then go for it. Just be sure to get out of the bus and do some stretching and mobility exercises now and then, since you'll spend your downtime sitting in the bus on the street corner.

In 2003, a 52 y/o lady was hired along with me. She was a multi trauma MVA victim, and wanted to become an EMT after retiring as a teacher as a way to give back. She did well, but quit after 7-8 months due to the pressure and fast pace of working NYC 911. We also had one of the Health System's BOS ride as an EMT now and again because he enjoyed it. He was in his 50's or 60's, I can't remember.

There are people who join FD's in their 40's; there are people who retire from police, fire, or EMS, and join another dept in their 50's, and work into their 60's. Try out NS-LIJ and see if you like it. That's the only way you'll know for sure. I'd avoid the private companies in the city and on the island.

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Age doesnt matter, but your engineering background may be a problem. I hired 6 retired engineers over the years and all of them flopped as medics, as they can not think in grey, only black and white. Maybe I picked the wrong 6, but it was weird that all of them had issues. Otherwise I would hire an older person over a younger person every day of the week.

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I'm going to bet that age is the issue!!! You won't be able to truly prove it but I'm going to bet that age is.

Keep your chin up, keep looking and eventually you will have success. You may have to move out of the area to get a job.

It will come. Have faith.

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I concur that age discrimination is a huge possibility here. The unfortunate thing is going to be trying to prove it.

CrazyDoctorBob, you mentioned you used to be in 2 different Volunteer Ambulance organizations in the NYC area. Which ones were they? PM me with the names if you wish to not reveal their names to the group.

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Go for it! I respect your years of service to EMS!

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I'm a bit late on this post... But if you can still handle it physically and mentally go for it. I'm 21 and I know EMTs and medics in their 60s that can run circles around me lol Dont let your age discourage you at all :)

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