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Older but new EMT working IFT in Dallas, is this bad for my career? Can I have a career?

Discussion in 'BLS Discussion' started by Tunnel Cat, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. Tunnel Cat

    Tunnel Cat Forum Probie

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    Sob story time: I'm a 36 year old whose life slowly fell apart over the last decade (lots of family illness one after the other and me trying to keep them out of the nursing home while going to school and work and... etc). I got curious about being an EMT while taking care of my family and since my grades collapsed with everything else I have no real prospects (that I'm interested in, anyway) using my degree. I thought EMT school be a good place to start putting things back together. Sorry, this entire paragraph has been mostly me needing to justify why I'm just now starting something most people do in their late teens/early 20s. All the youngsters make me feel a bit apprehensive about it.

    I graduated with the top grade in my class, passed the NREMT at 70 questions, and really enjoyed myself all the way. During rotations it was exciting to work calls that were actual emergencies, and I didn't mind dealing with the majority who just needed some reassurance and a ride to the hospital. I like to think doing home care for my family helped with that.

    At the time I went on the market I couldn't get anything with the 2 major 911 services out here (MedStar only occasionally hires EMTs, AMR requires past 911 experience, most other areas have FD run 911) so I grabbed a job at an IFT company that said it also runs 911 (technically true, but only for one isolated area that they only keep one truck active at a time for). They have me on a BLS ambulance doing dialysis runs, doctor's appointments, and hospital discharges all day.

    I don't hate this work. Like I said I'm used to dealing with elderly, frail people that just need someone friendly watching over them while they go from A to B. I still learn something every day. I also screw up something every day but never the same thing twice and never anything that put the patient in danger. The hardest part has been keeping track of all the paperwork.

    But I'd hate for this to be my whole career. I'm too old to be running full speed all the time but I do want to handle real emergencies too. Those do happen sometimes in this service because the nursing homes prefer to call us instead of 911 and downplay the symptoms to our dispatchers, but it's exceedingly rare and mainly reserved for ALS trucks (I did get to run one during FTO ride-outs on an ALS rig, woman in severe respiratory distress).

    So I'm asking, am I too old to make something of myself at this? And do I need to leave IFT ASAP or will I benefit from staying here awhile? Would it be a bad move to stay here until I move on to medic school? I was told over and over by medics and EMTs during rotations that people who work as an EMT first do better as medics compared to the ones that go straight to medic school, but will getting that experience in IFT make that null?

    Sorry I'm dumping this here, I'm just not comfortable voicing these doubts my coworkers and they're the only people I know that might have any insight.
     
  2. Chef

    Chef Forum Crew Member

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    Give me a shout. I work 1900-0700 fri-mom for AMR Arlington EMS.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2016
  3. NomadicMedic

    NomadicMedic formerly DEmedic

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    1. You're not too old.
    2. Go to paramedic school as soon as possible.
    3. Yes, you can make a career out of EMS, although lots of people here will say "no you can't".

    I decided to go back to school and become a paramedic at 38, quit a high paying corporate job and went for it. You can too.
     
    fredell31, FireWA1, Remi and 3 others like this.
  4. akflightmedic

    akflightmedic Forum Deputy Chief

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    I know you must feel beat up when you say 36 years is old....I used to say that too when I was 15. Then I hit 30, then I hit 35 and that number keeps getting pushed. I am amazed at the people I bump into who are 50, 55, 60 and doing work (sometimes better than me and usually smarter than me) at an age when I thought a rocking chair was in my daily calendar.

    As cliche as it is, age is a number and is what you make of it. You are not too old. There are plenty of services which would be glad to have you. As an employer (which I am), I actually like adults who have life experiences and responsibilities. You will bring professionalism to the job on a daily basis, you are less apt to call out or be a no show, and you have a genuine desire to hunker down in one place and try to make it better (loyalty)....all of these things save me money as a business and improve overall image. So you see Sir...you have a LOT to offer to the right place.

    Do not get fixated on a place which clearly does not want you or is unwilling to recognize your value. Be prepared to move if needed. But in short, the others are going to give you plenty of advice on current opportunities, I just wanted to weigh in and say WTF??!! Where do you get off calling yourself old and dropping the pity me card? :) You got a lot of time to make things better, just need to make a plan and then make it happen. Who cares what is around you (youngsters), only focus on what is in front of you. And as for the IFT runs...yeh you might need to suck it up a year or so more while getting paramedic school under your belt...but that is minimal pain for the life time reward which will come after for you.

    And I said "Sir" not knowing your gender...if you are not a Sir, my apologies. :)
     
    Tunnel Cat, NomadicMedic and Gurby like this.
  5. Remi

    Remi Forum Deputy Chief Premium Member

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    Where on earth did you get the idea that at 36, you might be too old to start a new career?

    Go to paramedic school ASAP, and keep looking for a good job. They are out there. Be willing to relocate.
     
  6. Tunnel Cat

    Tunnel Cat Forum Probie

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    Thanks guys. Sorry I dumped all that here, I swear I wasn't looking for pity. I was feeling the need to justify myself while I asked for some advice. It's kind of scary starting over again, and even though I'm not technically 'old' I feel like I'm still way behind where most people are at this age.

    Is it worth it to go for an Associates or even a Bachelors in Emergency Medicine? Maybe it's my upbringing but I trust a degree more than a certification.

    I actually want to relocate at some point. I'd like to live somewhere near the ocean and for that ocean to be blue which means leaving Texas. But with so many other changes I've decided to move slow and get a better idea of what I'm doing first.

    PS: Yeah I'm a dude, but you don't have to call me 'Sir.'
     
    Remi likes this.
  7. StCEMT

    StCEMT Forum Deputy Chief

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    I went to school with multiple who were doing a career change and some were your age. Families, jobs, etc. Included, you are by no means the first person to do it. You are in a good state to work in from what I hear.
     
    Tunnel Cat likes this.
  8. VentMonkey

    VentMonkey Crackpot Premium Member

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    You're never too old to start new, the gulf coast of Texas has Galveston EMS (health district), yet another reputable EMS service for career-minded folk; just ask, @TransportJockey.

    Either way, I vote go for it, maybe it's because we're the same age? Good luck, sir.*

    *you totally had that coming:D.
     
    Tunnel Cat likes this.
  9. hometownmedic5

    hometownmedic5 Forum Captain

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    Both of my parents waited till their middle thirties before establishing their careers, both in nursing. They worked in insurance prior to that. So yes, you can start fresh at your age.

    I concur with the previous statement regarding medic school asap. While I'm always an advocate for increasing your education early and often, for you its doubly important. You need to begin laying the foundation for advancement with alacrity so that when you wake up one day and know your back is toast or whatever ails you, you have somewhere to go. Sadly, this might be sooner in terms of years of service for you than if you'd gotten your ticket at 18 and were now in your thirties. So i say make hay while the sun is shining.

    As for career prospects, I can't speak to that for you as I am unfamiliar with the local nuances that apply to you.
     
  10. Remi

    Remi Forum Deputy Chief Premium Member

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    FWIW, I started CRNA school at 37 and graduated the month before I turned 40. It was a huge investment of time, energy, and money. I couldn't be more glad that I did it.
     
    Tunnel Cat and NomadicMedic like this.
  11. CALEMT

    CALEMT The Other Guy

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    I went to EMT school with a 62 year old, so I'd say you're not to old. I would however ditch the dialysis gig as fast as you can, you will get burnt out of that job pretty quick. Like others have said go to paramedic school, make yourself more marketable to ambulance companies, 3rd services, county services, whatever... Luckily you're in Texas which is like the King of EMS as far as good services.
     
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  12. StCEMT

    StCEMT Forum Deputy Chief

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    Texas is like the king of everything....good food, good guns, and good women.
     
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  13. Old Tracker

    Old Tracker Forum Lieutenant

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    I took the EMT course at 66 years old. Been on the job in a rural agency, here in Texas, for a little less than a year. You can do it if you set your mind to it.
     
  14. Never2Old

    Never2Old Forum Crew Member

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    After a career in IT, went into EMS. I started as an EMT at 48, just got my Medic at 53, and am going strong at a very busy 911 service! The only regret I have is waiting so long!!!
     
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  15. Operations Guy

    Operations Guy Supreme Overlord

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    You are still young enough to have a long career. AMR is very big in Texas. You have Greenville county EMS which is AMR and 911. Arlington which is 911 (AMR). Plus a ton of other options. I know the area very well and can tell you that there are tons of opportunity in the surrounding counties of Dallas. You are in a very good spot in the country for EMS. Progressive protocols and good pay.
     
    Tunnel Cat likes this.
  16. Operations Guy

    Operations Guy Supreme Overlord

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    Also Medstar just had a hiring round for EMTs and do so every year. There are way better options then inside the metroplex just within a short drive. Also a lot have sign on bonus and if it's a county system they are on the Texas public safety retirement that can be taken to a lot of third county systems so if you want to go work in another county you don't lose it. Just keep an open mind and look around. Go to medic school ASAP as a lot of the county third systems have started or are already duel medic.
     
    Tunnel Cat likes this.
  17. Kevinf

    Kevinf Forum Captain

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    It's gonna be EZ-IOs at dawn!

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. TransportJockey

    TransportJockey Forum Chief

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    Galveston County, Harris County, and Fort bend County all have some good government third service agencies that are great places to make a career out of EMS.

    Sent from my SM-N920P using Tapatalk
     
    Tunnel Cat and VentMonkey like this.
  19. E tank

    E tank Forum Captain

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    Ironically, looking 36 and not 19 is an advantage here. Training folks 20 years older than me became a little humiliating when everyone from the engine company to the ER staff ignored me and paid attention to the guy I was trying to teach.
     
    Tunnel Cat and akflightmedic like this.
  20. akflightmedic

    akflightmedic Forum Deputy Chief

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    E Tank....that is funny. Back in 94-96 era, I was working part time at an interfacility company who was always short on help (they sucked but it was extra money)....I convinced them to hire my dad who had just retired from the Air Force. It was fun working with pops...I was a paramedic, he was a driver and then the father/son dynamic...anyways, everywhere we went the staff would direct their comments to my dad. Look at him, speak to him...hand him the papers.

    I was constantly correcting people and then to throw them for an even bigger loop, I would call him Dad. I never could get used to calling his first name. They were so confused!!!
     

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