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Help Starting my Career Answered

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I am a sophomore in high school and i am planning to go into the paramedic field. My dad tells me if i am going to do that i should start now so i can get a job right out of HS. How do i start? Where do i begin? Who do i talk to? What kind of classes? How long?


Soooo many questions...

----------other info-----------
- I am not squeamish or blood shy. i can handle anything you throw at me.
- I have no idea what i need how to take the class or anything
- can i do anything to help now?
- Any info is appreciated.
- Live in United States in South Dakota In Aberdeen.
- Just a 15 year old looking to jump start his career and who doesn't want to end up flipping burgers trying to pay off debts...

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gmoon (author)2011-08-24

I wouldn't want to discourage your ambitions, but I'd like to expand them a bit...

In our area, many (most?) paramedics are off-duty firefighters. Why not? The training is required, and they usually have 4 days off a week (three days of 24 hour "on call" service for the department, per week--a three-day shift that's often only eating and sleeping).

So why not become a firefighter?

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I3uckwheat (author)gmoon2011-08-24

Firefighters can be easily trained and you don't have to have much knowledge of medicine to be one. and they arent looking for them around the country.

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gmoon (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-25

First, I suggested becoming both--for one thing, the department will likely pay for your paramedic training.

Otherwise, you're misinformed about the issue. While some FDs require only basic EMT training, some require parametric certification. I'm thinking that will requirement will only increase.

We personally know more than one paramedic / firefighter. They are more common than you think. (my wife was a PD dispatcher years ago, and more recently served on the LEPC for our county for several years).

And as others have suggested, you might want to correct your attitude--because as a paramedic you'll often be riding the same vehicle with paramedic / firefighters...

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I3uckwheat (author)gmoon2011-08-25

"In our area / the Midwest and most of the rest of the US, a paramedic will be employed immediately and they will train you to be a firemen. My dad knows many paramedics in our area who are offered jobs out of state all the time to meet the requirements of the new standards that are in place. In our area paramedics are very hard to come by, certified firemen are a dime a dozen. Most departments are so desperate they higher an EMT with the understanding they will become a paramedic through classes in X amount of time to gain permanent employment. And if you are in doubt look in back of all the firemen magazines (fire chief, and so on...) and see the ads."
-My Dad a nationally certified firefighter and has been the following; Chief, assistant chief in a volunteer fire department for 25 years.

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gmoon (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-25

So your Dad says exactly what I wrote: they will train you to be a paramedic.

Proficiency in TWO skills is better than one.  It's plain silly to argue about the order in which it's done--firefighter first or paramedic first. It's your choice, and your circumstance.

Look--do what you want. If you don't want to be a firefighter like your Dad, fine. Again--your choice. But now that we know your father's a firefighter, your attitude is even more surprising. If you ask for advice, don't be surprised if you get it. And it lacks class to be rude to someone who responds to your query.

I'll reiterate: in our area (also the Midwest) paramedic / firefighters aren't the rule, but they aren't uncommon, either. They've also got a good thing going on many levels. I really don't think typical paramedics have a promotion path--other than hospital administration (kinda doubtful without a Masters) or maybe buckling down and becoming an RN.

So if you really aspire to the medical profession, then becoming a nurse is a good career choice, too. Pays more than a paramedic as well...

But if you know what you want to do, don't let us stop you.

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I3uckwheat (author)gmoon2011-08-26

I have asked my dad about it and he is the kind of guy that doesn't give the best answers... he told me i would have to get EMT training but not how or where. And i didn't think i was being rude. sorry if i offended anybody.

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caitlinsdad (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-27

Ah, one of those "Learn to trust the Force" kinda guys. Good answer.

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I3uckwheat (author)caitlinsdad2011-08-27

i practically have to read his mind when trying to work for him. (doing chores, moving rocks, tin houses ect... odd jobs.)

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caitlinsdad (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-27

then your dad is truly a master...learn to trust the Force...

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gmoon (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-27

I'm sure your Father's advice is valuable. It's good to consider career guidance from school counselors, family friends, etc, also. Get as many opinions (and options) as you can.

Good luck on the path you choose.

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I3uckwheat (author)gmoon2011-08-25

that's fine. i just want to help people. i have no problem with the firefighters in the same vehicle. just around here you see more ambulances than firetrucks,

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gmoon (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-25

Huh. Is it just me ...or did you just say you'd have no problem sharing a vehicle with someone who's more qualified than you?

(I.E., a paramedic / firefighter is fully trained in both disciplines..)

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I3uckwheat (author)gmoon2011-08-25

no i did not say that i said it would be fine if I was both. But that's farther up the ladder i just was talking to my dads friend and he said that the longer you are there the higher you climb the ladder to get better jobs you start riding then you drive ect. more experience gets you a higher point of the ladder eventually becoming the fire chief. (if you get lucky)

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caitlinsdad (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-24

I hope that was just a naive comment because of your youthful ignorance on the topic of firefighters. Hopefully, they will let it go at that.

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I3uckwheat (author)caitlinsdad2011-08-24

My dad is a volunteer firefighter...

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Lithium Rain (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-25

Volunteer firefighter !== professional firefighter. I have tremendous respect for both, but the simple fact remains - they are not the same. Professional firefighters go through a ton of training to do what they do - training that volunteers generally don't.

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I3uckwheat (author)Lithium Rain2011-08-25

they have to go through the same training to do what they do. if not my dad did the prof training anyway.

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Lithium Rain (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-25

Are you really asserting that volunteer firefighters are simply more altruistic people volunteering their time free of charge, in contrast to their counterparts who collect a paycheck?

Training overlaps, but it's just not the same for both groups (broadly speaking; I'm sure one can always find the exception to the rule and perhaps your father is one of those exceptions).

It's laudable to want to help people, and I don't want to discourage you from that at all. It's a really cool goal to have. I do think you need to do some deeper research on these subjects first - read everything you can get your hands on, talk to people who work in the field (at this stage, preferably those currently working in the EMT/paramedic or firefighting field, as those who used to but no longer aren't always up to date on recent developments and requirements) to educate yourself. Asking online is a great first step - follow up on the leads it has given you. And remember Google Is Your Friend. :)

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I3uckwheat (author)Lithium Rain2011-08-25

Like i said my dad's friend IS a paramedic and he doesn't fight fires. Maybe we should just agree to disagree....

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Lithium Rain (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-25

I'm not sure what you're talking about...?

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I3uckwheat (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-25

and he is nationally certified firefighter

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Kiteman (author)Lithium Rain2011-08-25

In the UK, the only difference between volunteer firefighters and professionals is the pay packet.

The fire station in my home town is manned mostly by on-call volunteers.

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caitlinsdad (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-24

If you are ever in NYC, I'll introduce you to New York's Bravest.

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I3uckwheat (author)caitlinsdad2011-08-25

Ok sounds good but i don't know if i will ever be in NYC

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Lithium Rain (author)caitlinsdad2011-08-24

No kidding. That's just dumb, and incorrect on all counts.

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I3uckwheat (author)caitlinsdad2011-08-24

but yes there are paramedics that can become firefighters to fight the blaze and help people instead of just ride the ambulance and take calls that way.

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Kiteman (author)2011-08-24

As Lira says, it is unlikely that you will get a job as a paramedic straight out of school.

You should talk to your school's career advisor, but this is what I've got:

Are there any volunteer medical organisations you can join? In the UK, we have St John's Ambulance which provides first-aid training to all ages, and stand-by medical support to public events such as sports matches.  I believe the American Red Cross will also offer classes?

Many hospitals and medical centres accept voluntary help of many kinds - go and talk to them.

For official paramedic training, it seems you need to talk to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Oh, and you'll need to learn to drive.


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I3uckwheat (author)Kiteman2011-08-24

can already drive in South Dakota at 14. 15 now for restricted 16 for full.

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Kiteman (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-25

You'll need a full licence, but you probably have to wait until you're 18 or 21 to drive an emergency vehicle, and probably also need extra emergency-vehicle lessons as well.

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I3uckwheat (author)Kiteman2011-08-25
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I3uckwheat (author)Kiteman2011-08-25

yes i know that when i said right out of high school i ment minimal training left out of school.

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Lithium Rain (author)Kiteman2011-08-24

(For official paramedic training, s/he needs to go either to community college or a university that offers the courses (as I understand it, the NHTSA designs the curriculum, but doesn't offer classes or anything).)

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Lithium Rain (author)2011-08-22

IIRC, you can't be a paramedic straight out of high school.

You have to get your EMT certification - this requires college-level courses (although in thinking about it, it could be possible to do those while in high school; you'd have to check your local community college or regular college to see). I think they generally require a high school diploma to even start the school, however. You also need to decide which level you are going for - there are different levels of training for EMTs/paramedics (you have to go at least through EMT-B training before going through the training to become a full paramedic).

You could check to see if your local fire department has any kind of program to pay for your certifications if you get your basic certification and work as an EMT/firefighter, or even just scholarships (whether through the fire department, school, or 3rd party) for being a plain firefighter - there are a lot of programs like that available. Maybe the local fire department/ambulance company/volunteer emergency services/similar would let you ride along or shadow them to get a taste for what it's like. Never hurts to ask, anyway.

TL;DR - unless you can get college-level credit and get some special dispensations from school(s), doing it straight out of high school won't work. You'll need to go to school, and will probably need scholarships, work-study, loans, and/or a job - look into all of those things, the sooner the better. Also don't take my word for it - I looked into the requirements for getting paramedic certification not too long ago, but do your own research because everyone online is lying. :D

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I3uckwheat (author)Lithium Rain2011-08-23

I might just join the military and try to go the paramedic route there. would that be a good idea or should i just go to school like people say. I just found out my dad has a friend that is a paramedic maybe i will have to ask him when i get a chance.

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Lithium Rain (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-23

You should most definitely ask your dad's friend about it; he would know. I personally would not join the military to attempt to become a paramedic (and frankly do not think it is a terribly good idea to join the military at all unless your aim is to be a professional soldier), but I can't tell you whether choice is right or wrong for you.

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I3uckwheat (author)Lithium Rain2011-08-23

im thinking of joining the military because then i wont get drafted if something horrible goes down. i will get it out of the way.

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caitlinsdad (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-23

If you haven't noticed, we are still at war. Thanks for volunteering though.

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I3uckwheat (author)caitlinsdad2011-08-23

yes i know but it could be worse like going to war with someone worse and more advanced thats what i want to avoid. like another country wanting to collect some debts...

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caitlinsdad (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-23

I don't know what's worse, being skewered with a bamboo stake or getting radiation burns, it's all kinda bad.

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I3uckwheat (author)caitlinsdad2011-08-24

my mind has been changed.

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I3uckwheat (author)caitlinsdad2011-08-23

but lets not make this a politic war.

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Lithium Rain (author)I3uckwheat2011-08-23

A) The draft has not been reinstituted
B) Ummm, your plan makes the chance of serving in the military 100% - even if the draft was reinstated, much higher than they would be if you did not sign up. You wouldn't be drafted because you would already be going to war!

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I3uckwheat (author)Lithium Rain2011-08-24

well you changed my mind!

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caitlinsdad (author)2011-08-22

16 is the age where youths can get working papers to do actual work in NYC. If you can, maybe volunteer at a local hospital or nursing home. Become a camp counselor/aide so that you can become a junior lifeguard. Try to find a place where they give CPR courses and see if you can take it, maybe a babysitter training course. Is there a volunteer ambulance corps or volunteer fire dept? They may have some training to get you involved. See if you can get a part-time job as a pharmacist's assistant or even manning the register, you will learn about medicine somewhat. Even ROTC, or military will teach you a lot about first aid. Your gym teacher might have some ideas on learning phys ed. Just ask around. Good luck.

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