Sep 26th 2016 by AOx3 • 16 Questions • 308 Points
I am a Paramedic working in California, USA, serving a large area that covers everything from desert, to mountains, to cities. I've been doing this job for 5 years and I look forward to coming to work every day.
My job is far from routine. I start off the day like any other, checking the ambulance and the equipment. After that, all bets are off. It could be car accidents, medical aids, or cliff rescues.
It's occurred to me that many people don't actually know what we do on scene, or in the ambulance. We are much more than just a ride to the hospital. Health care starts the second I walk up to you.
I know there are good questions out there so AMA!
Side note: Don't ask "what is the worst thing you've ever seen." I won't answer that.
This is a repost with adequate proof.
This job almost certainly is not what you think it is. We work terrible hours for mediocre pay. You will almost certainly sustain at least one serious injury while working here. You almost never run calls that are "worthwhile." You rarely respond to calls where people actually need the skills you went to school for. It's almost always the drunk who has wet their pants and their friends didn't want to deal with them any longer. You're personal relationships will be strained, often past the breaking point. Your eating habits, your health, will most likely fall by the wayside as you suck down whatever gas station hot dog you could grab in the moments between calls. Large portions of the populace will look down at you like you are some sort of servant they are entitled to use as they see fit.
You can try this job, but it's a near certainty that you won't make it. Then all you are likely to have for your trouble is wasted time and unpleasant memories.
I love the job. Do some ride along and see if you like it. It's guaranteed to be different than you imagine. Training is minimal at the entry level.
What was your post secondary schooling like, furthermore how much from school do you use on a day to day basis?
Paramedic education is the US is lower than many parts of the world.
The requirement is only a high school diploma prior to entering vocational training. Training requirements vary by state. In California EMT Basic training is generally about 500 hours, and Paramedic is a minimum of 1,090.
There is currently no widespread degree requirement, however it's becoming more mainstream. The college I took my school from has transitioned to a degree based curriculum and several of us are going back to apply for the credits to get the degree retroactively.
13 year medic here. Job is stressful and does have a high turnover rate. I had to leave since my knees and back were starting to hurt. People are getting heavier and my knees aren't any younger. I also got burned out with being held over 1-3 hours after my off time!!! I loved the job, not the pay and holding over. Most people leave for other jobs or wonder into firefighting jobs. Here in California paramedics don't get paid well since most are private ambulance medics. The real money and benefits are in the government sector working as firefighters and medics.
I'll stay here as long as I can. I love my job, however you're right, it's hard to retire in. I expect that once I'm older I'll move into an administrative or educational position.