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Medic School Advice (Contract of the Devil)

Discussion in 'ALS Discussion' started by RickyRescue562, Nov 22, 2018.

  1. RickyRescue562

    RickyRescue562 Forum Ride Along

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    So I work for AMR as an EMT in California, when I signed on they told me they'd sponsor me full-ride for 2 years. Which I am ok with, until they changed it to 5 years. Is it worth it to just pay for Medic school out of pocket on EMT salary, or should I sell my soul to the devil?

    By years I mean contract, i'd have to work for them.
     
  2. DesertMedic66

    DesertMedic66 Forum Troll

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    2 years I would possibly consider however 5 years would be a solid pass from me. At my part time gig we have some EMTs who just started medic school and are on the 2 year contract.
     
  3. NPO

    NPO Forum Deputy Chief

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    I did a 2 year contract. It may not seem like much time, but it is (especially in busy California systems). 5 years would be a very long time.

    I never imagined I'd leave my company. But here we are not only not at that company but half way across the country.

    Things change. 5 years is a long time. 5 years is a really long time in EMS.

    (Also, might help to look around. How many co-workers do you have with 5+ years of tenure?)
     
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  4. mgr22

    mgr22 Forum Asst. Chief

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    RickyRescue, what are your impressions of AMR? How do they compare to other employers you've had? Have they treated you fairly? If medic school weren't an issue, could you see yourself being there for another five years? Those are questions I'd ask myself if I were in your position. If your experience has been positive, maybe a five-year commitment isn't so bad.

    On the other hand, I once worked for a company that offered mortgage assistance to their managers (this was outside EMS). Once employees accepted those offers and got used to someone else paying a chunk of their bills, it was easier for the company to take advantage of those workers. That's exactly what happened.
     
    EMT Rookie likes this.
  5. DrParasite

    DrParasite The fire extinguisher is not just for show

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    questions i would ask:1) what happens if you complete the class, get your paramedic cert, but don't get credentialed as a paramedic with AMR?
    2) if you leave early, how much do you owe? simply the cost of the course? is it prorated by years?
    3) what happens if you get fired during the 5 years?

    friend of mine went to nursing school, and signed a contract with her employer that she would stay for 2 years. They paid for all of her schooling. and after she graduated, and passed her boards, she left for another job. she broke her contract, and simply paid the cost of school from her savings, and now has a much better paying job.
     
    Gurby likes this.
  6. NPO

    NPO Forum Deputy Chief

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    This raises an interesting question.
    When I was under contract I inquired about the legality of it. Being under contract MAY make you a non-at-will employee.

    A lawyer in the family (not experienced specifically in labor law) agreed.

    But anyone with specific knowledge or experience, I'd be curious to know.
     
  7. Tigger

    Tigger Dodges Pucks Community Leader

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    AMR does three years here after you clear your three month FTO period. It is prorated however, so some people (I think rightly) treat it like a zero interest loan.
     
    NPO likes this.
  8. hometownmedic5

    hometownmedic5 Forum Asst. Chief

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    Two I would do. Five is a hard no.
     
  9. CCCSD

    CCCSD Forum Crew Member

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    You either want it free, or not. Your choice.
     
  10. DrParasite

    DrParasite The fire extinguisher is not just for show

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    other questions to ask:

    1) how many people do yo know are still working on getting hired as paramedics? Paramedics (like nurses) are always in demand; however, many places won't hire new grads. At least with the contract, you're guaranteed a job at the paramedic level once you finish, and should end the contract with 3 years of experience (and will no longer be a new paramedic).

    2) How much more money could you make working as a paramedic elsewhere? is it worth missing out on that money and staying at AMR, knowing you are going to have to work several years for low pay and no pension? Assuming you plan on staying local, do other agencies that hire paramedics pay more?

    3) lawyers aren't free, so it's possible you can weasel out of the contract. But you still need to dedicate time and energy to do so, provided there isn't an escape clause in the contract itself. and AMR can sue you, which will result in you needing to hire an attorney to defend yourself.

    4) What does this contract involve? Just tuition? tuition and books? tuition, books, and your hourly wage while you are in class, plus all your clinical shifts?

    5) I'm assuming they will handle all scheduling conflicts if you sign the contract; if you don't go through the contract, how will you handle getting coverage when you have class? Will you have to find your own coverage, or will they work with you? Will you be able to use PTO, or only if they can find a part timer to cover? will they let you off and move you to another shift so you don't need to take PTO?

    Like you said, it's a deal with the devil.... lots of pluses, but there area costs. there are also negatives to going to school without the support and assistance from your boss. it's all based on what you are willing to do to become a medic.
     
  11. Remi

    Remi Forum Deputy Chief Premium Member

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    I would not sign a five year commitment for ANYTHING if it was something that I couldn't get out of if I had too. That is way too long. Especially at EMS wages, but really for almost anything. Think about what can change in a couple years. The job might look great now, but what if it starts to suck really bad? What if you decide you really want to move - maybe for a better opportunity, maybe because you meet a significant other, maybe because you just decide you really want to live in Texas or Colorado or North Carolina. What if another agency nearby offers you a great opportunity making more money with a better schedule?

    On the other hand, if all you have to do to get out of the contract is pay them back the tuition that they paid for you - which is probably all they can do to you - then there's little risk in taking the deal. I wouldn't take the deal planning on leaving early, but if you are reasonably sure that you will want to stay the full 5 years anyway, what do you have to lose?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  12. CCCSD

    CCCSD Forum Crew Member

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    Guess most of you never served in the Military. Four year (or more) contracts for specialized jobs are standard... what if you got that FF job? Going to sue because you have to work 24s? it’s astounding how much self centered “All about ME” is going on. You think the company just has $$$ sitting around to waste on employees? You ever think about WORKING and EARNING things? They are offering to PAY your way, yet most people on here are concentrating on how to get out of a contract, not having any morals.

    Man...the Waaaambulance is full here.
     
  13. Remi

    Remi Forum Deputy Chief Premium Member

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    I know, right? I mean, weighing the pros and cons and possibilities surrounding a 5 year commitment before signing it is just so whiny and selfish. Seriously, whats wrong with kids these days? Don't they know they should just SIGN THE CONTRACT WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN!?!? Didn't their parents ever teach them the importance of unquestioning submission to corporate authority?? In MY DAY, we understood the importance of allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. These damn millennials these days just don't get that.
    <end of the hopefully obvious mocking sarcasm >

    Look, I spent 6 years in the military and did plenty of thinking and analyzing before signing that contract, weighing my options as a smart, healthy 18 year old kid who could have done lots of different things. Are you suggesting that I shouldn't have? Does that make me self-centered? Why is a contract with AMR any different?

    And what do morals have to do with anything? You think AMR isn't writing these contracts in a way that makes it easy for them to get out of? You think AMR (or any other company - including the military) wouldn't terminate the employee's contract before the 5 years is up, if it were to AMR's advantage? Of course they would. They do it all the time. The contract has provisions for that, so they aren't "breaking" any part of the contract by doing so. That's the whole point of a contract. It lays out the conditions and provisions under which certain actions can be taken, and both parties agree to it.

    It's the same for the individual who signs on. If the contract has provisions for leaving early - and I guarantee that it does - then as long as you honor those provisions, you've honored the contract.

    Pretty cool how that works, going both ways and all, huh?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  14. DrParasite

    DrParasite The fire extinguisher is not just for show

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    Most contracts are written by one party, often to their advantage, so only a fool signs a contract without knowing what it contains, and understands the risks and rewards of doing so.

    Besides, working for the military is vastly different than committing to work for a private ambulance service. you're comparing blueberries and watermelons.
    did you know going into the job that you were going to work 24s? or were you hired and told you would only have to work Monday to Friday 8 to 5, and on your third day in, you were told you were being moved to 24s, at a station 2 hours away from home, where you will have to work more hours a week for the same amount of pay? You might not sue, but your working conditions changed, and with a contract, you are now unable to see employment elsewhere, unless you break the contract. But most fire departments don't have employment contracts, so it's a moot point. A FD union, however, can and often does sue a department, especially when changes to working conditions are made that violate the signed contract the union has the management.

    If you are talking about military firefighters, sure you can sue; but it's likely the suit would be tossed immediately, as you were informed about the conditions of the positions when you applied (remember that whole informed consent concept?)
    you're damn right it's all about me; the only person guaranteed to be looking out for your best interests is YOU. Your employer is only looking out for your best interests when they line up with their best interests; if the option is look out for the company's best interests or the employee's, the company will chose their best interest EVERY TIME. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a FOOL. And if you think AMR is offering this employee something to benefit the employee, out of purely altruistic reasons, than I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.....
    You mean training budgets? I think MANY companies have $$$$ that they could spend on employee investments, ones that sometimes directly benefit the company, and other times directly benefit the employee (and then indirectly benefit the company); all too often companies refuse to spend that money, because it would cut into their profits, because they are failing to see the return on that investment....
    [​IMG]
    Hence the contract with the devil. You sell your soul (or yourself into servitude) to AMR for several years, a company with a, how shall I put it, less than stellar reputation for doing what is right for their employees, and hope that the benefit you get doesn't end up costing you most in the long term.

    I understand the ROI from the company perspective, but if get their paramedic certification and then immediately bolt, what does that tell you about the company? If AMR was a great company to work for, they wouldn't need a contract to force people to stay 1, 2 or 5 years after they completed medic class.
    [​IMG]

     
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  15. Rano Pano

    Rano Pano Forum Lieutenant

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    Hahaha what?
    Comparing working at AMR to the military or a FF gig? I think you jumped the gun on the post.
     
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  16. Tigger

    Tigger Dodges Pucks Community Leader

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    Have you considered avoiding hyperbole in your discussions? Really assists with the discussion.

    It is about "me." I am not going to lock myself into an untenable employment situation, nor should anyone else.
     
  17. RocketMedic

    RocketMedic King of the Improbable

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    If you're committed to SoCal, that offer (even to five years) really isn't terrible, it's essentially the only ALS 911 game in the region that's not Fire and successful completion of that period is a de facto prerequisite to getting onto a fire department.

    If you're not locked to SoCal, my strong advice would be to move. Plenty of great places across the country need paramedics, and the relationships are far less manipulative.

    Also, taking on a reasonable amount of student-loan debt and locking down college education (AAS-Pmed, then a Bachelor's) is ALWAYS a good decision.
     
    akflightmedic likes this.

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