Could I be disqualified from becoming an EMT with a Military BCD?

SmilingShark

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I was just discharged from the Marine Corps with a Bad Conduct Discharge (although possible to upgrade to at Other than Honorable), and would like to turn my life around. I am currently seeking for a part time job for the short term and am enrolling in community college for this fall.
Aside the obvious court martial, I have been a proficient and productive Marine in the short time I was in (almost hit my 2 year mark).
The court martial was for article 112a of the UCMJ (Heroin use).
I realize it was an obvious bad decision and have learned and been treated for my impulsive decision, but now just want to make something out of my life and help people.

Will this undoubtedly disqualify me from EMT? Or would it just be a drawback and make it more difficult to get?
Thanks.
 
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rescue1

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Depends on the agency and how long ago it was. Since it's not a felony, I don't think it prevents you from getting your EMT certification.

Unfortunately, its unlikely you'd make it through a fire department's background process with that on your record, but private, 3rd service, etc, EMS agencies differ wildly in what they will accept or not. The only way to know is to apply.
 

BASICallyEMT

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I would think having the discharge may limit you on where you could work. As far as getting your EMT, the program should have a list of what would disqualify you from obtaining certification.
 

SmilingShark

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Further details

I currently live in the San Diego county area (CA)
But am willing to move if another county if state is more flexible on that.
I just don't want to attend the course if its an automatic disqualification. However If I do take the course and provide further evidence that I am a productive individual in society and have made the best of my situation (such as I am continuing volunteer service on my free time as I used to be very active with that), would you all advise that as a feasible option?


Also this occurred 8 months ago, and just got recently discharged last month
 
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NomadicMedic

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I'm curious if any county would allow med control with the history of use/abuse of a controlled substance. Perhaps a CA provider can weigh in and provide some info.
 

Leatherpuke

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First of all, disregard all the rumors you heard about upgrading discharges after 6 months. It doesn't happen.....ever......for anybody. So you might as well wrap your mind around that. I have 19 years active duty, including 4 years in the Marine Corps and 15 years in the Army. Also have 4 years as a Recruiter. I have NEVER seen a discharge successfully upgraded. Sorry, but thems the facts.

Secondly, you can count on your discharge hurting you as far as employment goes, but things are not hopeless. Your attitude, what you've done since your momentary attack of stupidity, and your qualifications will help to make up for the black mark on your record. Get as much training as you can. Get on with a volunteer FD if possible and take every training course they offer. The more you can pad your resume, the better off you will be.

Third, don't give up. You will most likely get more than a few doors slammed in your face. Don't let it get you down. Keep trying, keep applying, keep training and eventually things will work out.

Good luck
 

Remi

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First, I'd like to thank you for your service. Regardless of the mistakes you made while you were enlisted or the what type of separation you had, you took the same oath and made the same commitment when you signed that all of us did. For that you can always be proud.

Second, I'd echo what everyone else has said: it all just depends. Before you enroll in a course, talk to the college, talk to the state board, and talk to all of your potential employers. The policies differ everywhere. Right or wrong, every college, every state certifying board, and every potential employer will ask about your veteran status and about past controlled substance abuse charges. This will likely follow you forever, unfortunately. It doesn't mean you can't have a career in EMS, but it will be harder to secure jobs.

Thirdly, I'd say that if you are more interested in healthcare than public safety, look into nursing. Not that it'll be any easier to get into - you'll have to ask and answer the same questions, and it will still all depend on the school/state board/employer's requirements - but if it works out for you, in nursing you'll likely make more money, have more advancement options, and have a better chance of making a career in one place than you will in EMS.

Good luck.
 

MrJones

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Depends on the agency and how long ago it was. Since it's not a felony, I don't think it prevents you from getting your EMT certification.

Unfortunately, its unlikely you'd make it through a fire department's background process with that on your record, but private, 3rd service, etc, EMS agencies differ wildly in what they will accept or not. The only way to know is to apply.
Actually, it is the equivalent of a felony. Any Court Martial conviction for an offense with a maximum penalty in excess of 1 year is considered a felony, and in this case the maximum penalty is at least 5 years, and possible up to 15, depending on the specific circumstances.
 

RocketMedic

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I will be honest with you: you probably don't have a chance of being a paramedic. The instant you say "bad conduct discharge for heroin abuse" you are going to be effectively lamed in any interview.

I wouldn't hire you...too much at stake. You might be the greatest guy in the world, but you committed one of the unforgivable sins.
 

DesertMedic66

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I'm curious if any county would allow med control with the history of use/abuse of a controlled substance. Perhaps a CA provider can weigh in and provide some info.
We have EMT and paramedic certs revoked for DUIs, so it will probably be unlikely to get a certification or employment as an EMT or Medic.

You can always call your counties EMS office and see what their official policy regarding this is: http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/hhsa/programs/phs/emergency_medical_services/

EMS/Fire is still considered a trustworthy career/job. So a use of that heavy of a drug is likely to make people not trust you around patient belongings and medications (considering some of our calls we are around heavy drugs on scene).
 

joshrunkle35

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Probably pretty hard to get hired in a line of work where narcotics are a snip of a tag away and you have a narcotics conviction.
 

rescue1

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Actually, it is the equivalent of a felony. Any Court Martial conviction for an offense with a maximum penalty in excess of 1 year is considered a felony, and in this case the maximum penalty is at least 5 years, and possible up to 15, depending on the specific circumstances.
Well in that case, the NREMT won't give you a certificate until 5 years have passed, and even then could still deny you one. Otherwise it would obviously vary by state.
 

SeeNoMore

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I don't have anything new to add to the information already given, but I want to applaud you for having the courage to make a change and wish you the very best of luck.
 

Drax

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I was just discharged from the Marine Corps with a Bad Conduct Discharge (although possible to upgrade to at Other than Honorable), and would like to turn my life around. I am currently seeking for a part time job for the short term and am enrolling in community college for this fall.
Aside the obvious court martial, I have been a proficient and productive Marine in the short time I was in (almost hit my 2 year mark).
The court martial was for article 112a of the UCMJ (Heroin use).
I realize it was an obvious bad decision and have learned and been treated for my impulsive decision, but now just want to make something out of my life and help people.

Will this undoubtedly disqualify me from EMT? Or would it just be a drawback and make it more difficult to get?
Thanks.
Does it say somewhere on the discharge or paper work 'heroin use' or just 'controlled substance'? Because I was doing some reading up on 112a and it lists a slew of drugs to include marijuana.

You know, I just don't know what I would do if in your shoes. I'd probably find a way to leave the country.
 

Chewy20

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I will reiterate that getting your discharged changed is nearly impossible. They gave you that discharge because they have facts proving its true. You would need hard evidence saying they were wrong. Your best bet to fight it was before you were discharged.

Military service does not show up on a simple background check unless you committed a crime during service. So every employer is going to see that and question you about it. Some companies may give you a chance (people make mistakes), others will steer away from you and also may have no choice due to policy to steer away. Can't get hired if you don't try.
 

Akulahawk

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I was just discharged from the Marine Corps with a Bad Conduct Discharge (although possible to upgrade to at Other than Honorable), and would like to turn my life around. I am currently seeking for a part time job for the short term and am enrolling in community college for this fall.
Aside the obvious court martial, I have been a proficient and productive Marine in the short time I was in (almost hit my 2 year mark).
The court martial was for article 112a of the UCMJ (Heroin use).
I realize it was an obvious bad decision and have learned and been treated for my impulsive decision, but now just want to make something out of my life and help people.

Will this undoubtedly disqualify me from EMT? Or would it just be a drawback and make it more difficult to get?
Thanks.
Be very grateful that you didn't get the maximum for that... a Dishonorable, forfeit of all pay/allowances and confinement for up to 5 years. The fact that you "simply" got a BCD is most likely a blessing as a Dishonorable Discharge is most definitely considered analogous to a Felony and results in a loss of firearm rights, for instance.

If I were looking at hiring someone who earned a BCD and another person who had a relatively clean record, I'd almost always go with the person with a clean record.
 
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