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Getting into management advice


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I hope I'm posting this in the right spot for maximum reading. I am looking for advice on how to move into management. I love field medicine, but I'm 52 and I know things are going to become harder physically. However, more than that, I've seen too many instances of bad management driving good EMT"s and medics away and I want to do something where I have good skills. I have 8 years in EMS, 2 as a medic. I know my experience is short compared to other training officers, directors, etc. Is there any path I can take to get into management? I have a lot of management skills but every FTO, or training officer or administator seems to have 20 plus years of experience. By then I'll unfortunately probably be retired. So please advise and if you think it's not possible please tell me that too. I'm very willing to move to make it happen, and I plan to later this year. I just got my CPR instructor and that's it for any training experience.

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It really depends on the system you work in. Some places would look favorably at you if you were to pursue a management degree. Others would be scared off by the degrees as they prefer the good old boy system where change is a bad thing. There are EMS management specific degrees but that may be to narrow and limit you from other opportunities.

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I responded on your blog, but I will reiterate some of what I said here, and offer a tip or 2. Since your experience is lacking, I would try to differentiate yourself from other management candidates with education. As spenac says, whether or not an area "appreciates" a degree or education is highly variable. Look into management and leadership courses- specifically ones that provide you with theories in various types of management and leadership styles. Ideally a degree would be best, and it does not need to be specific to EMS- management is management- but again- make up for your lack of practical experience with education. As I mentioned, the trick is being able to apply those principles to EMS problems, and for that, you may need some help- depending on what you have experienced so far in your career.

I have known a couple folks who had very little practical experience, yet managed to find office gigs within the EMS system. Rare-yes. Also consider taking classes that you could apply to more than one situation- maybe branch out into Homeland Security or public safety in general.

Good luck.

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A good basic Management class would be something like Organizational and Leadership Behaviour. It's a masters level class taught at Keller Graduate School of Management but it will have close cousins in the undergraduate level education realms as well.

A good Business Administration School would be a good start to look into.

There are EMS Management programs out there but I would be surprised if they are much different than the Graduate level courses I had but the stories in the books and the topics were copied to make them specific to EMS. You can easily translate those non-ems specific management courses to your life in EMS, it's what I did.

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Thank you all for the advice. I'm surprised there was no one that recommended getting instructor credentials in any EMS (BLS, PHTLS, AMLS, etc) related field. If I hadn't asked that's probably the way I would have gone. Interesting.

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What does being an instructor have to do with being a manager? They are two completely different beasts.

Education, as has been noted, is what you need to distinguish yourself. Management courses or business courses will help. A degree will help you even more.

This isn't a matter of earning as many EMS alphabet courses as you can. That's not what is going to make you a good manager. Having good leadership skills combined with a solid degree based education is what's going to serve you best.

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Are you looking at training, education or management? There are different focus areas. For example, if you are looking at management of scheduling, employee policy and procedures, AMLS instructor credentials may not be as helpful as say a business degree. Education and training are potentially different animals. Particularly if you are looking at collegiate derived education.

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If you are looking at being a manager in a small service having instructor certs might help but again it could scare off the good old boy club that would worry you are going to change things.

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I took the advise here and I'm looking around at what is being offered academically. Is everyone referring to a good old general management or BA type program, or the EMS degree information that keeps popping up on the side of the screen?

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