JTEMS

Paramedic vs. Firefighter/Paramedic

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I'm an EMT Student trying to decide what path to follow. I know for a fact that I want to do EMS, and nothing else, but the best paying jobs in my area are for FF/EMT-P. There are ambulance districts around me, but pretty much all but one pays less than $15 an hour. I really don't have any desire to go putting on turnout gear and climbing up ladders, but I have heard that many firefighters are on the ambulance majority, if not all the time. I wouldn't even mind doing medical calls on the fire truck and extrications. The FD jobs are very hard to get, but is it worth it? I don't want to be stuck on a fire truck all of the time.. Should I just stick to EMS? 

Thanks,

JT

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I hate to say this but If you are not planning on moving out of your area, I would strive for the FF/EMTP jobs.  More upward mobility and better pay.  

have you thought about finding out why the EMT-P only jobs only pay 15 or less in the majority of places, I'll bet it won't take you very long to find that answer.  I would tell you what my thoughts would be but I'll let you figure it out on your own but I will bet that my answer will be nearly exactly what you find out.  

 

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Hi JT,

Welcome to the City.

Is it worth it?  That's a good question.  The jobs are, indeed, hard to get.  If a FD job as an EMS provider is your best bet locally for a stable, well paying job then you should probably go for it.  If your local department is anything like departments commonly discussed here and with which many of us have experience you probably won't have much trouble getting plenty of ambulance time.

Should you stick with EMS?  That depends on you and what you want to do.  If you want to be an EMS provider you can make it happen.

If the FD is the best option for an EMS job in your area then you should at least go for it.  The worst they can tell you is that they don't want you as a FF.  The best they can tell you is they want you on the ambulance so all the other guys who really don't want anything to do with EMS can be on the engine.

There is plenty of discussion here about fire based EMS.  If you're looking for some light reading take a look through the forums.

 

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What Mike said

it seems that many times, if you read between the lines of mikes and my post, the ambulance on many fire departments is where they put people who they don't want to be FF's or who are in trouble. 

If you don't fit the list above and you just want to be a medic and not really a fire fighter, then let them know that when you get hired, but NOT before you get hired, and I'm sure you will get put on a medic unit.  you will still get the title FF/EMT-P but just not the experience putting out the fires.  

But if you want both worlds, then don't tell em you want to only be a medic.  

But in all honesty, many places in the U.S. you gotta do both to make the good money and have advancement. That's just the name of the game.  Sucks if you aren't really interested in being a smoke eater but you do what you have to do to feed your family and put a roof over your head.  

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Thank you both for the prompt replies. 

My main issue is paying $5000 for the fire academy. The academy ain't free in St. Louis County. I'm also pretty afraid of heights.. Doesn't really help xD. Hopefully I can get on at one of the higher paying Ambulance Districts.

Thanks again guys!

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You have to pay to attend fire school?  Are you guaranteed a job upon successful completion of the training?  I knew places in Florida required people to pay their way through fire school without guarantee of a job.  However, Florida is a bit of a mess in more ways than one

 

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Well, my brother in law just paid to go through police academy but he has a job coming out of it though, but he had to pay for it so yes I know of several fire programs in my area that they have to pay and NO they are not guaranteed a job.  

As a matter of fact, only 50% of the graduates of my brother in laws academy program are employed.  

The draw of going to fire school on your own dime is that when you are out and looking for the job, a fire department can say "hey, we won't have to spend the money to send him to class".  

 

And now that I know where you live, I understand what you mean by the best jobs are in the fire sector and not private ems.  

Edited by Ruffmeister Paramedic
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Yeah, there is NO guarantees here.

SCCAD pays the same as FDs in the area, but I'm trying not to be attached to one agency.. I want more than one option. Christian Hospital EMS is cool too, but then I'd have to work in Ferguson.. -_-

I'll figure it out. I'm just glad I've found my calling at 20! 

 

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Hi, thank you for your discussion post.  I greatly appreciate it a lot.  It sounds like you are deciding on a great career path.  My advice would be to choose a career path that you enjoy and that makes you get out of bed every morning and want to go to work everyday.  To me, that is the key thing when you want to go to work everyday and you love what you do too.  Thank you for your post and I wish you the very best in the future.  Mhays38

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I made an account just to say this; are you friggen crazy?

I can't think of ONE PERSON who "wants" to be a paramedic. Trust me. After 3 years of bullshit calls and a thankless horrid "career" you'll be furious that you are forced to do the majority of the work while the guys on the truck get to enjoy sleeping all night and playing ping pong all day.

 

This job is so lopsided it's not even remotely funny. It's a job full of buddy fuckers one minute and then there's a circle jerk going on the next.

 

If you truly wish to be a paramedic, prepare for a life 20 years shorter than you would have had and expect to be miserable for the entirety of your underpaid career.

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