McCormick vs AMR/AMR vs McCormick

Tony Maximilian

Eternal Optimist
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Forgive me if this has been covered elsewhere on the forum... I'm interested in learning more about AMR & McCormick, specifically how they compare in terms of starting pay, benefits, availability of 911 work vs mandatory IFT, 24-hour shift availablity, employee satisfaction, reputation, uniform allowance, length of orientation/field training period, etc. Reps from AMR spoke to my class but none from McCormick. I know things like 24s/911 work tend to be seniority based...

I recently completed a four-month EMT program at a local college in L.A. County and just last week passed the NREMT. Currently awaiting my LA Co license. My ultimate goal is medic school sometime in 2018. Any info or suggestions on where to look for answers would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

CALEMT

The Other Guy/ Paramaybe?
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If end goal is paramedic I'd go AMR. At least you can reclass and transfer to a different county and work as a medic.
 

Jim37F

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McCormick starting pay is currently minimum wage. I got a 3% pay bump after a year (works out to 30 something cents) for having a good eval, apparently, the 3% was the max yearly bump, but we'll see how that changes with the changes to the county and state minimum wage laws.

However, despite the low pay, the biggest draw for new EMTs coming to McCormick over places like AMR or Care is the fact that everyone runs virtually 100% 911 calls. There is some IFTs, but it's more like one once in a while. We have no IFT only units. Even the medic units are in the 911 rotation (where they run as a BLS unit due to the County EMS politics we all know and love:rolleyes:). Even as a new employee on a day car, you'll still run tons more 911 calls than IFTs.

New employees typically start off on 12 hour "Day Cars" (though roughly half of them are actually 11 1/2 hours long and the rest are a full 12 hours, with no apparent rhyme or reason I've ever been able to figure out for the difference), though there's always openings on the station based 24 hour units. Once you clear training you can pick up overtime at any opening at any station to your hearts content essentially.....if you manage to catch the schedule as it's posted, you may even be able to snag an OT shift on one of the coveted Malibu units! (though openings on those are......less rare than down in busier areas such as Willowbrook or Lynwood or Hawthorne lol). They've changed the rule recently but I do believe it's currently after 3 months you can start to bid on stations. (Just be aware that while you can bid on Malibu stations 19 and 20.....you're bid will be in the back of a loooonnnggg line of other bids for those coveted spots, you'll have much more luck bidding somewhere like Ladera Heights, less busy then down in Inglewood, but still not known as a "vacation station" lol. I have a shift bid in for our West Hollywood station (Station 4), I placed that one maybe 6 months ago now? Word is there's still a couple people in line in front of me for when openings there occur)

You don't really hear too much of people leaving for other ambulance companies. Unless you're talking about people who get their medic then leave for somewhere like AMR Ventura or Rancho or the like. So I guess there's not much of any widespread dissatisfaction problems. Now, of course, you get a room of us together we can ***** and gripe and complain about the company all day long if you let us lol, but honestly, that's really gonna be true no matter where you go. After being here a little longer than a year I only know of one person who left for another ambulance company (Care) who wasn't fired first and everyone else I know that has plans to leave, those plans all involve either going Fire, or Police or Nursing or PA or Med school....so unlike some other companies I've worked for in the past, there's not really any exodus of people getting hired than fleeing for other companies after a few months lol

New hire orientation (at least at the time I went through) is 5 days long, mostly classroom stuff with a skills day, then you get assigned to an FTO and you work 5 shifts (12 hours) on their shift as a third rider doing Field Training. Then you have to pass a policy test and a mapping test. Pass those and you get assigned to a shift, wherever they need you at that time. You'll be an "Attendant Only" i.e. not allowed to drive for the first 3 to 6 months until they have an EVOC class (classroom plus cone course) then you find an FTO and do 3 drivers training shifts before you're allowed to drive.
 
OP
Tony Maximilian

Tony Maximilian

Eternal Optimist
38
13
8
McCormick starting pay is currently minimum wage. I got a 3% pay bump after a year (works out to 30 something cents) for having a good eval, apparently, the 3% was the max yearly bump, but we'll see how that changes with the changes to the county and state minimum wage laws.

However, despite the low pay, the biggest draw for new EMTs coming to McCormick over places like AMR or Care is the fact that everyone runs virtually 100% 911 calls. There is some IFTs, but it's more like one once in a while. We have no IFT only units. Even the medic units are in the 911 rotation (where they run as a BLS unit due to the County EMS politics we all know and love:rolleyes:). Even as a new employee on a day car, you'll still run tons more 911 calls than IFTs.

New employees typically start off on 12 hour "Day Cars" (though roughly half of them are actually 11 1/2 hours long and the rest are a full 12 hours, with no apparent rhyme or reason I've ever been able to figure out for the difference), though there's always openings on the station based 24 hour units. Once you clear training you can pick up overtime at any opening at any station to your hearts content essentially.....if you manage to catch the schedule as it's posted, you may even be able to snag an OT shift on one of the coveted Malibu units! (though openings on those are......less rare than down in busier areas such as Willowbrook or Lynwood or Hawthorne lol). They've changed the rule recently but I do believe it's currently after 3 months you can start to bid on stations. (Just be aware that while you can bid on Malibu stations 19 and 20.....you're bid will be in the back of a loooonnnggg line of other bids for those coveted spots, you'll have much more luck bidding somewhere like Ladera Heights, less busy then down in Inglewood, but still not known as a "vacation station" lol. I have a shift bid in for our West Hollywood station (Station 4), I placed that one maybe 6 months ago now? Word is there's still a couple people in line in front of me for when openings there occur)

You don't really hear too much of people leaving for other ambulance companies. Unless you're talking about people who get their medic then leave for somewhere like AMR Ventura or Rancho or the like. So I guess there's not much of any widespread dissatisfaction problems. Now, of course, you get a room of us together we can ***** and gripe and complain about the company all day long if you let us lol, but honestly, that's really gonna be true no matter where you go. After being here a little longer than a year I only know of one person who left for another ambulance company (Care) who wasn't fired first and everyone else I know that has plans to leave, those plans all involve either going Fire, or Police or Nursing or PA or Med school....so unlike some other companies I've worked for in the past, there's not really any exodus of people getting hired than fleeing for other companies after a few months lol

New hire orientation (at least at the time I went through) is 5 days long, mostly classroom stuff with a skills day, then you get assigned to an FTO and you work 5 shifts (12 hours) on their shift as a third rider doing Field Training. Then you have to pass a policy test and a mapping test. Pass those and you get assigned to a shift, wherever they need you at that time. You'll be an "Attendant Only" i.e. not allowed to drive for the first 3 to 6 months until they have an EVOC class (classroom plus cone course) then you find an FTO and do 3 drivers training shifts before you're allowed to drive.

Thanks, Jim! This was incredibly helpful. I actually know the Inglewood/Ladera/Windsor Hills areas quite well owing to family nearby. Given that my ultimate goal is medic school, I'd ideally like to work in an area where I'm busy and have the chance to use as full a range of my skills as postsible, so no "vacation stations". Incidentally, how would you rate the relationship between McCormick EMTs and LA Co medics?
 

VentMonkey

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Haha. Relocating won't really be an option for at least the next couple of years.
I did not go to school here, and am from the greater Los Angeles area as well. It's still a remarkable opportunity if you can get in. @NPO can elaborate, but get experience for the next couple of years then apply.

For what it's worth, I did my time with "The Borg", and while it certainly beats most any other place, this has to be as good as it gets for California privates, let alone, single-roles and those striving to pursue the art of the clinician in this state.

Our East Kern units seen plenty of AV AMR folk in and around AVMC and PRMC, and they're typically every bit the stereotype of the "salty", and often slovenly-looking crews.
 

VentMonkey

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how would you rate the relationship between McCormick EMTs and LA Co medics?
@Jim37F can clarify if it's changed or not, but having lived in, and around Los Angeles for ~30 years of my life not much ever changes.

I have worked every area Jimbo is telling you about with a few exceptions (Inglewood, and Hawthorne specifically). There was a time when AMR literally had the entire county in the palm of its hands in regards to LACoFD EOA's. In typical AMR fashion they mucked it up.

The relationships vary from crew to crew, division to division, day to day, aura to aura, etc., etc., etc. I just saw an AMR crew with a county squad at Mayo our last rotation and they looked every bit as thrilled as ever, so ya.

That said more often than not the squaddies weren't the nicest people to be around, or directly learn from; indirectly I learned way more. And yes, this would include guys in Athens, Ladera, E. LA, Pico, South Gate, Malibu, Calabasas, WeHo, Carson, La Mirada.

We even had every non-transport fire contract (Santa Monica, Vernon was staffed with our paramedics, SFS-FD, Long Beach had a BLS contract with AMR pre-AO program). It used to be fun because you could work any division in any of their areas from Glendale to Irwindale, Carson to Cerritos. Do a coveted Dodger stand-by for OT, or learn another divisions area (this was fun to piss the squads off with at 3 a.m. when you didn't know how to get around).

The AV, and Santa Clarita divisions have always kind of kept to their own though since they're sort of the vestigial part of LA County. All in all it made for a lot of good "stories", and what and how I never wanted to be as a paramedic. Like my buddy @gonefishing likes to say- those were way different times...
 

gonefishing

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If relocation is an issue, PM me. I know plenty with extra rooms or couch space they would rent. Tread lightly with the borg army aka AMR. They are treading on very thin ice as seeing Envision health who is the owner behind the curtain is looking to offload AMR. McCormick no offense to any one like Jim and a few others ive met over the years, is full of jr fire fighters. Doing the job waiting to get their number called while making minimum wage. Yes you are getting great exposure but their are a few bad squaddies out their that do not play nice with their emts. Alot of great teachers in the league and those you tend to find in the deep south of LA. If you want exposure, great pay, a great boss, a great ems system, paramedic school sponsorship go North young man, go Hall. Times in LA county have changed from once they used to be.

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Nick15

Forum Crew Member
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I currently work in the San Gabriel valley division for amr, but have worked a few times in AV. Its definitely a different atmosphere up there and more of a team aspect from the other employees to even the fire guys. In the few shifts I worked there I learned more and did more skills with fire or as an emt than I have in a little over a year in San Gabe. I'm not giving SGV a bad rap, but you can become a victim of complacency. I've had to catch myself at times because of it and you can get tired of running on so many bogus calls and always having to transport. So if you want to, go to AV I recommend it. I think that's one of the better divisions that AMR has in la county right now. Otherwise look at Ventura county. Not sure if they're hiring emts right now, but it's a better system than la and amr is the primary care provider on scene.


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VentMonkey

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I currently work in the San Gabriel valley division for amr, but have worked a few times in AV. Its definitely a different atmosphere up there and more of a team aspect from the other employees to even the fire guys. In the few shifts I worked there I learned more and did more skills with fire or as an emt than I have in a little over a year in San Gabe. So if you want to, go to AV I recommend it. I think that's one of the better divisions that AMR has in la county right now.
When you say San Gabe do you mean Irwindale? No doubt AMR still has halfway decent divisions, none of which are in Los Angeles, and here is why: LACoFD.

Are their good apples? Absolutely, but the bunch sure seems to spoils even them. Their general approach to "medicine" is deplorable, their lack of empathy is atrocious, their habits leave much to be desired. You will pick up their habits, and culture, I did...then had to grow up and unlearn much of it. I had to re-learn to be a better provider.

When you're division bends over backwards to keep an EOA for a service that shows no sense of promise, improvement, or EBM, let alone desire that speaks volumes.

Again, this is regardless of the LA division you are in. You don't know what you don't know until you know it, often by living it. If you want an AMR division in SoCal--> Santa Barbara (more Central California), Ventura, RivCo, and if you're desperate San Bernardino. Riverside was a lot of fun, and I would have been ok working there but it wasn't in my cards.

This whole "AMR is in charge of the scene in such and such other county" isn't exactly true, regardless of the policies, or protocols. You're still running with ALS departments, some of whom have their own modus operandi.

Honestly speaking, if relocating is that big of an issue, CARE is probably your better option. McCormick seems ok as well, but just go in knowing you will mostly see things that has no real purpose in any other part of the EMS world of medicine other than in Los Angeles.

I will say this, OP. I very much miss the laxed environment of my area, and the amenities, but as a career paramedic I have no regrets. So yeah, you can drive the same amount of time it will take you to get from the SFV to the CARE or McCormick areas/ stations that it would going north on the I-5 to the 99. What I am saying is it's a no-brainer, IMO.

-VM
 

gonefishing

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When you say San Gabe do you mean Irwindale? No doubt AMR still has halfway decent divisions, none of which are in Los Angeles, and here is why: LACoFD.

Are their good apples? Absolutely, but the bunch sure seems to spoils even them. Their general approach to "medicine" is deplorable, their lack of empathy is atrocious, their habits leave much to be desired. You will pick up their habits, and culture, I did...then had to grow up and unlearn much of it. I had to re-learn to be a better provider.

When you're division bends over backwards to keep an EOA for a service that shows no sense of promise, improvement, or EBM, let alone desire that speaks volumes.

Again, this is regardless of the LA division you are in. You don't know what you don't know until you know it, often by living it. If you want an AMR division in SoCal--> Santa Barbara (more Central California), Ventura, RivCo, and if you're desperate San Bernardino. Riverside was a lot of fun, and I would have been ok working there but it wasn't in my cards.

This whole "AMR is in charge of the scene in such and such other county" isn't exactly true, regardless of the policies, or protocols. You're still running with ALS departments, some of whom have their own modus operandi.

Honestly speaking, if relocating is that big of an issue, CARE is probably your better option. McCormick seems ok as well, but just go in knowing you will mostly see things that has no real purpose in any other part of the EMS world of medicine other than in Los Angeles.

I will say this, OP. I very much miss the laxed environment of my area, and the amenities, but as a career paramedic I have no regrets. So yeah, you can drive the same amount of time it will take you to get from the SFV to the CARE or McCormick areas/ stations that it would going north on the I-5 to the 99. What I am saying is it's a no-brainer, IMO.

-VM
Better times......


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Nick15

Forum Crew Member
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When you say San Gabe do you mean Irwindale? No doubt AMR still has halfway decent divisions, none of which are in Los Angeles, and here is why: LACoFD.

Are their good apples? Absolutely, but the bunch sure seems to spoils even them. Their general approach to "medicine" is deplorable, their lack of empathy is atrocious, their habits leave much to be desired. You will pick up their habits, and culture, I did...then had to grow up and unlearn much of it. I had to re-learn to be a better provider.

When you're division bends over backwards to keep an EOA for a service that shows no sense of promise, improvement, or EBM, let alone desire that speaks volumes.

Again, this is regardless of the LA division you are in. You don't know what you don't know until you know it, often by living it. If you want an AMR division in SoCal--> Santa Barbara (more Central California), Ventura, RivCo, and if you're desperate San Bernardino. Riverside was a lot of fun, and I would have been ok working there but it wasn't in my cards.

This whole "AMR is in charge of the scene in such and such other county" isn't exactly true, regardless of the policies, or protocols. You're still running with ALS departments, some of whom have their own modus operandi.

Honestly speaking, if relocating is that big of an issue, CARE is probably your better option. McCormick seems ok as well, but just go in knowing you will mostly see things that has no real purpose in any other part of the EMS world of medicine other than in Los Angeles.

I will say this, OP. I very much miss the laxed environment of my area, and the amenities, but as a career paramedic I have no regrets. So yeah, you can drive the same amount of time it will take you to get from the SFV to the CARE or McCormick areas/ stations that it would going north on the I-5 to the 99. What I am saying is it's a no-brainer, IMO.

-VM

I agree with you vent. I'm not defending amr at all with anything. Right now I feel a tad embarrassed to be associated with the area I work at at times because of what they're trying to do to keep the area without any different promises at all.
Yes the problem is la county fire, and I honestly am thankful every day I pull into work because none of my family lives in la county at all. I would be very worried if they did.
But you are right, some of the amr operations are leaps and bounds better than others.


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Nick15

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But to get back to the topic for the op, get hired wherever you feel is best for you. We are just here to offer you suggestions haha. I know when I was in your place when I got hired I used this forum to look for the best possible place to get hired at that fit for me.


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OP
Tony Maximilian

Tony Maximilian

Eternal Optimist
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I'm very much appreciative of all the insight and feedback shared here. Tricky waters to navigate indeed, but my first priority is (and hopefully always will be) providing excellent, compassionate patient care. That said, yeah, some companies do seem slightly 'better' than others, at least from the perspective of a newbie EMT still on the outside looking in.

To clarify, I'm not above relocating, despite being a dyed-in-the-wool big city urbanite. I do, however, have some unwell relations which is why I need to remain in or near LA Co for the next couple of years. I'm certainly open to relocating out-of-area if I can find a company willing to invest in me; sponsorship or subsidisation of medic school is something I am VERY much interested in (especially given I have absolutely zero interest in ever becoming a firefighter).

I asked about the working relationship of LA Co medics with various companies' EMTs given my relatively few personal observations. I'm well aware that people can be and are quite different. And in the course of two 14-hour ridealongs, I was treated to displays paramedic professionalism and deportment that ran the gamut from compassionate to patients/respectful to EMTs/helpful to ridealongs to the complete opposite extreme -- rude to patients/dismissive to EMTs/visibly & vocally annoyed by the mere presence of a ride-along. Still, I refuse to let a few arrogant and dismissive LA Co medics dissuade me from becoming a paramedic myself or from working for certain companies or in certain areas. I used to work in the performing arts; I know how to deal with prima donas. But I still think back to some of the disgruntled scuttlebutt I've heard over the past few months: 'Medics hate Care EMTs because they just stand around waiting to be told what to do', 'medics working with EMTs in the AV are far more patient and helpful than medics in Santa Clarita', etc, etc. Hard to know what to filter out and what to investigate further...
 

CALEMT

The Other Guy/ Paramaybe?
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I'm certainly open to relocating out-of-area if I can find a company willing to invest in me; sponsorship or subsidisation of medic school is something I am VERY much interested in

AMR Riverside, Hemet, and Palm Springs divisions are offering scholarships for medic school at NCTI, Moreno Valley College, and Crafton Hills College.
 

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