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Need info about becoming a paramedic

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by M_Dail, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. I am interested in becoming a paramedic. I live in a rural area and there are no paramedics in the western half of our county; only three in the entire county as is. The rest are EMT's but none that can administer any medication so they are often severely limited. I live in central KS but it seems the people I ask aren't sure whom to refer me to nor what it would take for me to reach that level.

    Currently I have a bachelor of science degree but it was in economics. I'm sure some of the curriculum will count but obviously not all of it. What I'm looking for is the requirement needed to reach this goal so I can assess if it's something I want to commit to right now.

    Thanks for any help!

  2. mkh100


    May 17, 2006
    Central Florida
    try this: list.htm

    requirements vary considerably from state to state.

    Some of your education may count if you seek a degree......but typically the Paramedic curriculum is for "certification" and its not dependant on all the other typical college courses. Here in Florida EMT-P (Paramedic) is taught through technical schools or Junior College and it takes approx. 3 semesters (1 year) to complete.....there are other options like accelerated courses, but they where way to costly for me.

    I don't recall for certain but I think its a DOT requirement that you be an EMT Basic was required at my school.

    YMMV.......States get to regulate this stuff, so how its taught may be very different in your area. Someone from your area will hopefully chime in with better info.

    Good Luck,


  3. 4095fanatic


    Oct 12, 2006
    3 paramedics? Start practicing saying "This is Unit ____, I'm upgrading ambulance xxx for a Priority 2 pt." lol.

    On a serious note, as far as college, while your current courses might count towards a degree, few will count towards the requirements to take the course itself (things such as A&P, organic/inorganic chem, biology, etc.). Some programs don't even require those as pre-req's. Even if you find an uber-fast track, you're looking at 6 months full time. Fewer and fewer places run those; most likely, you're looking at a 1 year program.
  4. hotpig

    hotpig IAFF Local 4766 CLM

    If you ambulances are licensed as BLS your Paramedic license is no better than any of the Basics.You would not be able to function as a medic.

    I encourage anyone who thinks that they want to be a Paramedic reassess their goals. It does not take much longer to get the RN. Pay starts off at about double medic pay. Working conditions and benefits are generally better. Plus there is a well defined career path.
  5. I don't want to be an RN & I'm not looking at it for the $. My wife is working her way through nurse practitioner school & my family runs a ~10,000 acre farm here in central KS so that is my career path. This is something I want to do because I hate being in bad situations and not knowing what to do. We had another code blue last night along with two code reds (single car accident). I was two minutes from the crash scene but couldn't go help because I don't know anything past the fire dept side of things. So, instead of responding direct & being one of the first on scene, I helped set up the LZ for the bird. To me, that is frustrating.
    I guess my point is that I know basically everybody in my community & there is a severe shortage of qualified emergency personnel in this area. I feel that I have the ability to do this & I know it is something that would be of great benefit to my community.

    I contacted KS EMS board this am & they said I need to be and EMT-B before I can pursue paramedic training. Next phone call, I found out there is an EMT course that will begin soon about twenty miles from me so I plan to get enrolled. Also, I contacted a local community college regarding their paramedic program & they are supposed to get back with me this afternoon regarding specifics on what I'll need since I already have a BS.
  6. hotpig

    hotpig IAFF Local 4766 CLM

    Sounds like you are on your way to the glamorous world of EMS.
  7. DaleGribble

    DaleGribble Sandwich!

    Mar 20, 2003
    Land of the toothless!
    As someone that is current;y wrapping up paramedic school I have to second Hotpig's original post.

    Definitely reassess your carer choice before you make the commitment that is required to become a paramedic. After working in EMS for the last three years I can tell you that it's not glamorous, the pay sucks and you can only go so far with a paramedic patch.

    As a current paramedic student that's almost done with class I can tell you that paramedic school is no bed of roses either. I can't speak for other paramedic programs but mine has been pretty tough for some of my class mates. We've had students with marriage problems, students flunking out on purpose because they can't take the stress and we've had students go on HTN medication.

    Paramedic school involves lots of long hours and lots of studying. I've had to do a total of 400 clinical hours on top of three eight hour days of class time a week in addition to my full time job with a 911 EMS service. I personally haven't found it to be very stressful but I'm the only one in a class of 50 that says that. I don't think it's that stressful because I knew what I was getting into, but I've also been very tired since the second month, which was about six months ago.

    Now I'm sure you're asking yourself why I'm doing it and telling you not to. That's a good question. When I started this class I was looking for a challenge. Every paramedic I work with has talked about how hard paramedic school is and I wanted to know if I could measure up and if I could hack it, plus at that time I actually wanted to be a paramedic.

    Paramedic class has taught me a couple of things about myself. I've learned that I can do just about anything I set my mind to if I really want to and I've learned I can push myself a lot farther than I previously thought I could.

    When I started paramedic school I thought being a paramedic was gonna be it as far as my career goes but now paramedic has become nothing more than a stepping stone to me. Working in the OR as part of my clinical rotations was a great experience and now I've set my sights on becoming a CRNA.
  8. FirNaTine


    May 20, 2006
    You should know the pay discrepancy is not universal. Where I work (Baltimore/DC region) the pay starts over 40k/yr for base pay, plus about $2600/yr in bonuses as a paramedic. The top pay over the next couple years is going from about 80k/yr to 89k/yr. That is on a 42hr workweek, 24 on 72 off.

    Overtime can easily add 20-30% on top of that if you are willing to work it. And first line supervisors will be topping at about 97k/yr (plus bonuses) in the next couple years.

    I have about six years in and will probably make around 55k base and another 15-20k in OT this year.

    And we are not the best paid department in the area, in fact our starting pay is significantly lower than some here.

    I had similar experiences with that type of stress in one program, but not at all for another. I got my emt-i first and then my emt-p (not much change in scope, just a lot more training and and a little more pay.)

    Some programs are more stressful than others, it seems to be associated (to me at least) with how well organized the class is. Better programs clearly define expectations and need to know information versus nice to know information.
  9. hotpig

    hotpig IAFF Local 4766 CLM

    Region to region it does change dramatically. Starting pay is not much more than minimum wage with some services.A Paramedic in my area working for a Private Service and had kids can collect welfare.

    Hospital based services pay much better than a private service but still less than Government services.
  10. urfavghost


    May 5, 2007
    Not to jack the thread but, some ppl just like being in the back of an ambulance Hotpig. I took emt in highschool, have spent the last couple years in an ambulance, and am enrolled in a paramedic course right now. Will I stay a medic forever, probably not, but it is a job that needs to be done and I(along w/ everyone I've worked with)get great satisfaction from it.
  11. I guess something that may clarify this for you guys is the fact that we are all "on call" but not at the station. Much like on the vollie FD that I'm on, we respond when paged as opposed to sitting around waiting. The flexibility of being pseudo-self-employed makes this much more feasible for me. Plus, it pays something like $15/hr when on call. I know that's not much to you guys, but it's better than not getting paid at all plus I'll get to help people.

    Plans got derailed a bit because I called about the emt class & it is an emt-I class. I'll have to wait till another one comes around.
  12. D25

    D25 The Quick

    Jan 26, 2003
    As far as the money thing goes, just like everything else in the world, you can write your own ticket. Study hard, work hard, keep studying and working and then start flying. You don't make minimum wage doing lifeflights. School shouldn't be a get rich quick scheme-there would be too many accountants that way.:supergrin:

    Also, the schedule of EMS is hard to beat, and certainly better than any RN schedule I've seen, and there is no such thing as a FF/RN.
  13. I'll offer the same advice a paramedic offered me 15 years ago.(I really wished I had followed it too!):

    Don't waste your time unless you have an offer of full time employment from a city or county fire department or EMS agency.
    Do not bother working for private ambulance services.

    No truer words were ever spoken to me.
  14. Glkster19


    May 12, 2001
    Lansing, MI

    CRNA--Great career choice. If I was in my 20's I'd seriously look hard at it. You think you have long hours now, wait until your CRNA residency, HTN meds here I come :supergrin: :supergrin: :supergrin:
  15. glockster96

    glockster96 Moderator Lifetime Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Cowley College EMS Education

    Feel free to call us anytime. I would be glad to speak with you about EMT-B or MICT (paramedic) courses.
  16. Matbe I am missing something but it seems to me that the OP is a financially secure individual who is not interested in being a paramedic as a career but to be able to provide a higher level of care to the citizens of a rural county. It sounds like you are in a unique position to advance your service more than anyone else in the county ever has. I don't know how things work in KS but even if your current units are BLS you still have to practice under a medical director. That would be a good place to start. Sit down with the physician medical director and EMS director and discuss the possibililty of upgrading a unit to MICU. Without this support your efforts are hopeless. If you do receive support in this area, prepare for a lot of hard work just in preparing standing orders/protocols for your system. Then start working on recruiting additional paramedics and creating an all MICU service. Also, being the first paramedic in a system, get ready to learn many hard lessons on your own. I encourage you to pursue this if you can.

  17. G21FAN

    G21FAN Useless loser Millennium Member

    Apr 23, 1999
    Pell City, Alabama
    Friend, Listen to us who have been there and are still there. Do not look at Paramedic for a career. As a volunteer, I would say yes go for it because you can always choose not to run the call. I spent 15 years as a Paramedic and lost 2 marriages and my health to it. Ambulance companies treat employees with what can only be described as contempt and loathing in order to bully you to run more call for money. I'm glad I have the experience, but won't do it anymore unless as a volunteer. In fact, I mailed my license back to the state and told them to shove it up their collective asses untill they can straighten out the bull**** that Alabama EMS systems are. They continuly call and mail me wanting me to reconsider and PAY THEM LATE FEES to reactivate! The nerve!

  18. I'll second that. I have been doing this crap for 14 years. Thankfully I have not lost a marriage to it, but my health is on the way out. I sit here typing this at 0500 at work going on my 23rd hour with no sleep. This happens every third day and I am getting too old for this B.S.(old at 34 mind you). This company I work for is fascinated with stuffing overtime down people's throats. Instead of giving crew members something to look forward to like a kelly day(I would be satisfied with an unpaid kelly day) every third week, they just stick us with the overtime. The only thing to look forward to is getting hammered into the ground every third day. To top it off, they attempt to force people to come in on their days off because they are to cheap to hire more staff. Unfortunately in my area private service is about the only job avaliable. The other services in this area aint much better either, I have worked for several and their attitudes are all the same:you are a piece of company property, a non human with zero value and no rights.
    I used to love this field, but private ambulance service has sucked the compassion right out of me.

    I am serioosly considering going to work at a fast food joint to get out of this.
  19. DaleGribble

    DaleGribble Sandwich!

    Mar 20, 2003
    Land of the toothless!
    This post is a perfect example of why I will never work for a private service.
  20. G21FAN

    G21FAN Useless loser Millennium Member

    Apr 23, 1999
    Pell City, Alabama

    Not always a choice. Some small municipalities and rural counties contract a private service to do the 911 services. Either it's private or you don't work as a medic.