Career change....FF/Paramedic or Paramedic

Recently, I have enrolled in a community college that offers both Fire Science and Paramedic degrees at night. It works perfect with my current work schedule until I complete both degrees and make a career change back into Fire/EMS full time. Although I am stoked to do this, I just found out that the F.S. program does not include the IFSAC FF1 certification. I have long debated whether I wanted to go just into EMS first and later add Firefighting if that's where I fel I needed to be. The nice thing about the Fire Science program is that I can establish myself with the instructors that teach in the Paramedic program before I apply because it is a very close nit program. However, I do wonder if it's a waste of time and money to sit through the FS degree if I will just end up being sent to an academy once hired by a FD, if that is where I want to go.

Previously I understood that most departments will accept a FS degree in lieu of academy time but I also heard that it even if you went through an academy in a FS degree, you would still be sent to an acadmey the department wants you to attend. I wouldn't be able to attend an accredited FF 1 program until I was hired or there is an online program that later sends you to a 2 week intensive hands on course that is offered by a Texas college. My heart will always be in EMS but I won't shy away from an opportunity to run into a burning building. What do you guys think?

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Comment by FETC on December 11, 2010 at 1:26pm
Kate, in the area where I work, paramedic's are so highly sought after in the Municipal Fire Department run EMS services (ALS Transport Agency) that a medic can pretty much write their own ticket. BUT in other city fire departments that do not run an ambulance, (fire only) paramedic means nothing to them.

So each and every department has a different way they hire, for instance they may hire just a certified paramedic and then send you to rookie school at the fire academy if they need and want a paramedic hired. If I were you dependant upon how close you are to your current degree, I would speak to someone about converting your finished degree credits, and apply what you can toward both a fire science and/or paramedicine degree. Pretty much just need to complete the electives.

Look at your area and seek if a Paramedic is sought after in the fire based ems world then ask a medic how to get on the job.

Bill (FETC)

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