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Looking for Some Career Advice...

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  • Looking for Some Career Advice...

    This is my first post. I'm hoping to bounce my thoughts off you folks to see if my career goals are realistic. Please take a moment to read and any honest opinions would be appreciated...

    I'm 35 years old and looking for a career change. I have been a project manager in the construction industry for several years and have done relatively well financially, however, the industry isn't what it used to be, and I'm ready for a change--even if it involves a pay cut. My wife and I are fortunate enough to have a little money saved up, so I could be in a position to go back to school for a bit and start over with something new. There is an accredited local college that offers a two year A.S. degree in EMS. I already have an A.S. in another field, so several of my academic credits would transfer over. I'd only need to take the technical courses.

    From what I've read online, being over 30 limits my options in terms of becoming a firefighter. However, I am considering becoming an EMS Paramedic instead. I like the idea of helping people, and the "firefighter schedule" (24 on/48 off and similar variations) appeals to me. I could see myself working for a police or fire dept as a paramedic.

    I have heard of the difficulty & waiting lists for rookies looking to become firefighters. Is the same true for paramedics looking to work in fire rescue?

    I live in an urban area midway between Fort Lauderdale & West Palm Beach right on the county line. The two counties together have a population of 3 million. A commute though either county could be realistic.

    Does this sound realistic for a 35 year old in good physical shape? How feasible would a Paramedic Fire Rescue job be? Would it be easy to break into with an A.S. EMS degree?

    Any advice would be helpful...

  • #2
    Find a department which are taking applications and provide all the training for you once you are hired. Plus you'll be getting paid and have the benifits as well.

    No since in spending your money for the classes when larger department pay you and the give you the classes....
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers


    • #3
      Capt is 100% right. While being your age CAN be a barrier to getting hired, it is not impossible to do. Do some research of departments and find out which ones do not have an age requirement (or have one above yours). Above all else, do not give up....it may be a relatively long road to getting hired. The only other suggestion that I can give is to go out and get your paramedic certification on your own... this will basicly give you a "gold card" when it comes to applying to the Fire Service. Good Luck!


      • #4
        Your goal may involve a long road, but it is not out of the question. I used to work for corporate america at the age of 34 (2008). I lost my job, invested in myself...became certified as a wildland firefighter, worked for the state as a wildland firefighter part-time for three springs, attended a fire academy, got on with a good vollie dept., got some experience, added some more education including EMT-Basic, 'ramped up' and revamped my workout, got a job part time as an inspector and an emt for a private agency. I did plenty of application processes. Fast forward to today. At the age of 37 (38 in January), I am on the cusp of a chief's interview, and am involved in the hiring process for three full time depts.

        Get some experience, put your time in, and network with others. Best of luck!
        "If the ladder goes up, the building goes down."


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies! In retrospect, I'm wishing I had mentioned my location in the title of my post. I get the idea that options vary greatly depending on where one lives.

          There are no volunteer depts around here that I know of. They are all paid positions. I get the idea that the competition for FF jobs is ridiculous in SE Florida. Hundreds of applicants for a few positions...

          In a situation like that, are paramedics hired independently from firefighters, or are firefighters hired first and then encouraged to obtain paramedic training? I'd really like a job responding to 991 calls. That concept appeals to me more specifically than simply "fighting fires" per se. But it seems that the two go hand in hand in this area...


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