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My understanding (and I might be wrong) is that at Boston EMS everyone starts a basic and you have to be promoted from within to being a paramedic. I'm not really sure why they do it like that, but it's what I have been told more than once about how they do things. I'm not sure that having your medic license will help you out if you want to get a job with them. The best way to get a 100% correct answer would be to call them and speak to human resources.



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Boston EMS no longer utilizes those who are certified at the Intermediate level. There was a breif period in the 80's where they did, but this is no longer. I replied previously on this subject in the Help wanted section and you can read more here::


You first need to get hired. No matter your level of cert. You will need to work as a Basic for them for approx 1-1/2 years before being eligible to internally apply for a medic shift. It should be noted that I know people that had to work BLS there for 4 years and some times even longer before medic slots opened up and H@H ran another medic class...

But until then here is the place for all your official Boston EMS info.


Hope this helps, any other questions fee free to post them,


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Okay, so like... help me understand this hiring system. If you are already a medic, you still work an EMT slot until promoted. I get that much. It's a good plan, so long as you have enough medics to pull it off.

My question is, if you are a medic working an EMT slot, do they not allow you to use ALS skills? Or are you simply paid and scheduled as a basic, with another medic being senior partner, but you can still practice ALS skills?

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You are not permitted to perform ALS interventions on a Boston EMS bus. You operate as a Basic until you go through their internal training/testing program. I have a friend in Middleboro, MA who is a paramedic. He's always wanted to be on Boston EMS, but when he found out how it worked, he went and joined FDNY EMS. He said that it was taking, on average, 2-3 years for a paramedic slot to open up in Boston. He did say that some of the medics were working in hospitals and other local squads to keep up their ALS skills.

That being said, I have never applied for Boston and this is second hand information. However, he is a rather credible source. I'd take his word for it.

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Wow, that's pretty weird. I know systems who hire medics into EMT slots, where they will always be scheduled as an EMT with a "senior medic." But I have never heard of one who actually prohibited those junior medics from utilizing their skills. I find it incredibly hard to believe that any progressive and intelligently designed system would allow their people's skills to deteriorate over a 2 to 4 year period, and then put them into a senior medic slot. That's just beyond moronic. It is a disservice not just to their personnel, but to the citizens they are paid to serve.

They better be paying $80k a year for an EMT, because between the NE cost of living and being crapped on by your own agency, that's about what it would take to get any medic with a brain and self-esteem to work there.

Not that there is any shortage of agencies who crap on their medics. :?

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Hi All,

I'll try to post some more info to help clear this up some for you. This is how the Boston EMS hiring/Academy/street EMS system works. 1st you stand a good chance of getting hired if you have/complete the following: a 7 year clean driving record, no criminal history, 3 interviews, a written, and a practical, then a final "grilling" interview by the "management", live in the city ( You have 6 months to move into the city, after date of hire, then the dept. aggressively investagates you to be sure that you actually do live in the city limits) and will stay there, and a strong dose of area knowledge. Regardless of your level of cert. you will first be hired as a EMT-B as I previously posted. They have some Medic-(PA's, RN's, etc... about the only exception thus far has been their medical director, and he doesn't "run calls" all that often) that first started as basics, then waited untill a medic slot and "medic academy" were being run, then moved to an ALS shift. The process works something like this.

A bunch of the written test questions are which streets to take in certain areas to get to a certain facility the quickest and without their provision of a map. If you don't know the city that well, you lose points in that. These types of questions are also repeated in the oral interview portions as well. Then you go to their training program ( about 3-6 mos. and essentially a rerun of your EMT-B with PHTLS, etc...)you need to maintain an 80 or better. The cadre also has to decide if they like you and would like to work with you. If you make it through their "academy" then you go to 3rd ride training shift for 3 mos., where they do their best to wash you out, make you feel unwelcome, and let you know if you meet their standards. It is at this point which they decide "how many trainees they'll keep", and start forcing those who aren't connected know or someone out. Once some Paramedic slots open up, they will run an open internal promotion application process where you do essential the same stuff you did as part of their "Basic-training academy" except ALS. Both are essentially repeats of the core Basic/medic class we all would have already completed with some extras thrown in. The dept does this so that everyone there is trained to do it the correct "Boston EMS way."

After all of the above you have 6 months probation before you get Union membership and or a secure job slot. They work 2 basics together for a BLS truck on which you may only do BLS skills regardless of your level of cert. On their Paramedic trucks it's 2 medics together. Having said that it can be a good place to work if you like 5, 8 hr shifts a week and once your done with their classes and are out of "probation", it's not a bad place to work. Also they are part of the Boston Police and Patrolmens union, so once you've been there awhile it'll take the management some serious effort to fire you, in that respect you'll have alittle job security. If my memory is correct they run the following

BLS: 10-14 BLS ambulances per shift.

ALS: 7-10 ambulances per shift.

2 supervisors in Suburbans per shift.

their pay starts at about $18/horu and maxes at about 28/hr for a maxed out senior Medic.

I hope this helps clear up some of the confusion...


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SALARY: $637.96 per week

HOURS: 40 hrs/ wk, various shifts/days

^Directly from their employment website.

I duno about all that. Are they the only company that handles 911 calls?

Edit: Didn't see Ace's post about salary.

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I actually like a lot of what they do. Their process is nothing if not thorough! Three months as a third-man? Now THAT is thorough! And 8 hour shifts rock. Yeah, it kinda sucks that you can't take one shift off and have a five-day vacation, but short shifts go a long way in preventing -- or at least delaying -- burnout, so they are better for the career.

By living "in the city" do you mean they have to actually live within Boston city limits, or could you live in a suburb like Cambridge or Brookline?

I like the area, but man... I just can't see living any sort of decent lifestyle there on less than $48k/yr.

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