AMR Santa Barbara or Gold Coast Oxnard (AKA AMR Oxnard)?


Forum Ride Along
Hi all,

I am a newly licensed paramedic trying to decide which job to go for. From what I have heard, Santa Barbara has significantly higher pay (including a nice sign on bonus), they have 12 hours shifts so I wouldn't have to be gone from my wife as often, they have less than average call volume, better work culture, and overall a better quality of life. I also live in Santa Barbara so depending where in the county I am stationed, it could be closer.

Alternatively, Oxnard has a very high call volume, 24 hour shifts, very low pay, and would likely lead to more burnout. The only reason I am considering Oxnard is because as a new medic, I want to make sure I am getting the experience that I need to be good and to grow and I am worried that Santa Barbara might be too slow for that. I ultimately am trying to get into fire and am not sure if being at a busier station could make a difference there as well.

I would appreciate any advice or insight, especially if you happen to be familiar with EMS in these areas. Thank you!


Forum Captain
I worked briefly at Santa Barbara (left due to unable to relocate and financial problems at the time)
The division is awesome. Wasnt to busy. Mostly BLS fire departments. They make you feel welcomed and part of the team. I would definitely recommend Santa Barbara over Oxnard ( don’t know much about Oxnard though)


Forum Crew Member
Santa Barbara county has a decent operation (as far as AMR goes). If you're looking for call volume, the north side of the county has more call volume (Lompoc and Santa Maria mainly). Both of those area have mostly BLS fire so you'll be the only medic on scene which is cool. We also fly a lot of our trauma patients out of the north so we use CALSTAR fairly regularly. Just like most of California, the protocols are fairly restrictive, but we are encouraged to think and not do the "cook book" stuff. Coming from other areas, it's also refreshing that we don't use MICNs, if we need orders (which doesn't happen often) we talk to a doc. If you get to know your local base docs they're pretty open to giving you what you ask for.

As far as work culture, from my experience north county is chill- people are pretty down to earth. Management doesn't mess with us unless you create issues. We play nice with fire and PD , and even the ALS departments generally kick the medicals to us the second we show up. We do run IFTs, and there are occasionally long distance transfers (not uncommon to go to San Francisco or LA).


World's Okayest Paramedic
I formerly worked for AMR Santa Barbara before I moved to Texas to take a job with a county third service. In terms of AMR divisions, it's better than most, but still AMR. Manageable call volume, descent pay, good mix of calls. Management and supervisors are meh, but it's AMR soooo... yeah. LD's suck, and they tend to hit the early morning and night cars pretty hard. Overall, there are much worse AMR divisions to work for, but there are also better (non AMR) places as well. Santa Barbara county will be going out to bid at some point in the future, so that will be something to consider as well.