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How did you get through Medic Class?

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by jlw_84, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. jlw_84

    jlw_84 General Glocker

    Nov 8, 2002
    I'm debating on entering the medic program. I've been a EMT-B for 4 years now.

    Here's the situation, I work full time, as do most people. But the idea of maintaining my full time job and going through the Paramedic Program scares me. I want to devote myself to the Medic class 100%, but again I still have bills to pay.

    I tried this before with the Police Academy, but as it turns out going to class full time 5-6 days a week and working 5 nights a week is not that easy. It was a disaster.

    Did you keep your full time job and attend class and work in clinicals on your days off or what? My volly dept will pay for the class btw.
  2. hotpig

    hotpig IAFF Local 4766 CLM

    I can hardly remember my class. It is just a blur in my mind because I was so tired. I worked full time at the Fire Department and full time running a County ILS Ambulance Service. If I had not had 15 years as a EMT, 10 of them as a EMT-I/D I would not have been able to make it.

    I was able to skip the first part of the class and a boat load of clinical time since I was a I/D as they used to call them here. I did not have to do sticks and intubations since they are basic level and Intermediate level skills in my System.

    I did take vacation time and cram my clinical hours in so that I could take the first test date after my class had finished. I could not imagine taking the class and working as many hours as I did at the time now.

    The Fire District had sent me to the Police Academy three years before that it it was a lot easier. I did not have to work on the week ends when I came home. I took vacation time and a leave of absence from my Ambulance job. My income from both jobs were not effected while I was gone so I had not outside stresses to worry about.The fun that I had at the Police Academy was a 1000 times greater than the Paramedic Class.

  3. N2DFire

    N2DFire Who Me ???

    Apr 29, 2003
    Ferrum, VA
    The way classes were/are offered in VA you can find a 1 night a week program somewhere. I did all my certifications like that. The last of which was my Cardiac to Paramedic Bridge Class.
    It met 19:00-22:00 every Wednesday from Sept. to April.

    I worked 08:00 to 17:00 every M-F & went to class Wed. Nights. Once clinical rotations started I did a few week-enders and for one a couple I had to take a 1/2 from work to do (O.R. rotations). The vast majority of them I did 18:00 to 00:00 after work each night (and up at 06:00 to go back to work the next day). FYI - I work an office/desk job so being groggy from lack of sleep wasn't a (very) big deal. If you work in any type of field that requires a lot of alertness (factory, truck driver, etc) then I wouldn't recommend such long days for you.

    It damn sure ain't easy to go to school & work a full time job I can promise you that, but if it were easy then everyone would do it.

    To quote Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) from "A League of Their Own" - "It's supposed to be hard, it's the hard that makes it great"

    My g/f is currently enrolled in a 2 year degree based Medic program and there is just flat out no way anyone could do that and hold a job (full or part time). Class & clinical schedule aside - it's just too much homework and studying to do and still try to do anything else (As an aside - this is the first year that anyone can remember where they didn't have anyone outright drop the program after the first semester).

    I'm not too familiar with OH and how they deliver programs but if you can do a night time EMT-I program now & "bridge up" to EMT-P in another program later (as VA is offering now) and a full time program is not an option - then that's what I'd do. If the programs there are like the police academy where you'll be in school all day every day & working at night - I can pretty much guarantee you the same outcome.

    Wish you the best whatever you choose. I know exactly how you feel. I'd LOVE to go back to school (getting credit for all the Certifications I have now) and just do all the "book work" to get the EMS Degree but there's no way I could swing it and still hold my job because of the college class schedule (not enough night classes).
  4. I am currently a fulltime college student. I have taken my Firefighter I and II last year. I also started an EMT- Enhanced (a Virginia certification between EMT- B and EMT- I) back in Sept. I did not take all of these certifications at the same time. I am not that loco with a full college coarse load. It was not easy doing my college work and these certifications. To top all of this I also had a part-time job. The way that I was able to get through all the classes was the fact that my Firefighter and Enhanced class were twn nights a week. If you can get a class that is one or two nights a week then go for it. If it is more nights a week then forget it. The only other advise that I can give you is make sure you have good friends to help you through. If they are Paramedics and Firefighters then they can make you life easier. (Just bring them cookies) ;5
  5. jim2037


    Mar 5, 2005
    Well I guess I got kind of lucky. I went through an Academy style class that was offered by my employer. We went 5 days a week 8-10 hrs ad ay for 9 months and recieved the 18 month class training curriculum. It wsa nice to be able to devote my self full time to class and still recieve my regular hourly wage but class 4 days a week and clinicals on the 5th gets old really quick.

    Anyway Good Luck if you decide to pursue your Paramedic, Its very rewarding after the hell of class and I wouldnt trade it for the world.

    Jim Manning
  6. Alpha752


    Aug 16, 2002
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I havnt read all of the responces, but my 2 cents is, to be successful at Medic school, you need to dedicate a year of your life to school.

    I started Medic school in September. We were scheduled to take the registry in May. I just withdrew 2 weeks ago. I am like you, I work a 40/hr a week job, have a girlfriend, on top of teaching CPR class's and other projects. I ended up falling so far behind in clinical hours that I would not be able to finish by the end of class so I had to withdraw and take the second half over in the fall. (Mine is a college style course, 2 semesters totaling 32 weeks.) We have some guys that were able to quit their jobs, or were on FD's that took them off active duty to attend class. They are excelling.

    I wont blame all of my problems on schedule, a lot of it is just my fault, however you need to be able to set aside 35-40 hours a week (if you are in a 9 month program like mine, we had class 5 hours 3 times a week). It takes up a year of your life but in the end its worth it.

    Withdrawing is the hardest thing that I have ever had to do, and I am trying to keep my head up and not fall into a depression over it. I know that soon I WILL go back, and I WILL finish, I just learn lessons the hard way. I dont want to scare you, and I definitly encourage you to further your career and go to medic, I just wanted to share my experience.

    I dont come on GT every day, but if anyone had questions or comments, feel free to email me .

  7. DaleGribble

    DaleGribble Sandwich!

    Mar 20, 2003
    Land of the toothless!
    Russ, sorry you had to drop the course.

    But I want to address something you said. And before I start, let me preface this by saying that this is only my opinion and we all know what they say about those...

    I have come to the conclusion that a paramedic patch is simply not worth the hassle, at least not for me.

    You have to go through a killer program and work your ass off to become a paramedic that has a tremendous amount of responsibility and then get paid a pretty sorry salary, work crappy shifts and get treated like the red headed step child of the medical community.

    One of my fellow coworkers is in paramedic class right now and she is working her ass off trying to get her clinicals done. She's been busting her hump to get through this class and all she will get in return is about a $1.00 dollar an hour raise and she is now tied down to this agency for three years because of a contract.

    I've also noticed that of the three fifty+ year old medics that we have, every one of them is pain from doing this job and they are all on prescription pain killers due to back injuries.

    If you think it's worth it, more power to you and I wish you all the luck in the world. But the sacrifice just isn't worth what little reward comes at the end of the rainbow, at least not for me!
  8. Glkster19


    May 12, 2001
    Lansing, MI

    I agree with most of what you said Dale. It is a lot of hard work. Some people just like the challenge, some get bored at the EMT level.

    $1.00/hr, you're right there. Not worth it for that.

    I'm 37 and not on pain killers, but there are some days I'd kill for a Flexeril or 2.

    Get in with a gov't agency upon getting that license. I know there isn't an abundance of these jobs out there but they can be found. The pay isn't too bad, the benefits are usually pretty good. I know I won't be a 50 something riding the ambulance taking painkillers, the gov't retirements will generally let you retire somewhat young providing you started somewhat young. We have a 25/50 plan where I work. I will have my 25yrs in at 47 but will have to work until 50 unless they go 25 and out.

    Anyways, good luck on whatever you do.