Questions from a high school student


Forum Ride Along
Hey all,

I'm a HS student in Arizona and it's nearing that time where I need to figure out what to do with my life. My dad was a FF/EMT for years before I came along and is pushing me to go the EMS route instead of law enforcement. Through my county I can get my EMT-B by the time I graduate for free, the alternative being I also have the opportunity to get my state guard card along with various law enforcement related certs if I stick with the law & public safety class I'm in currently.

What is your take on the current state of the EMS industry and it's pay? Is it a rewarding enough career that it will make me feel like I'm doing good in my community?


Forum Asst. Chief
I like that as a healthcare person, you are always "the good guy". People are usually happy to see you. Probably not the case as an LEO.

You'll feel like you're doing good in your community to be sure... but the money is definitely worse in EMS unless you become a firefighter, or go into more hospital-based things like nursing/other allied health, PA, MD, etc. I think the average career length of a paramedic is like 5 years... most people end up abandoning ship to more lucrative and safer careers.

See if you can do some ride-alongs with both police and EMS/fire and see what appeals to you.

Something to think about is that the barrier of entry to an EMS job is really low. You could go get your EMT-B cert in a month, get a job, and work part-time while getting a bachelor degree to set yourself up for a police career. You don't have to make a decision right now and have that be set in stone for the rest of your life. You're young and have lots of time.

E tank

Caution: Paralyzing Agent
Good advice ^^^^....I'd just add that genuine interest in any "vocational" field (law, medicine, nursing etc.) is very important. You need to be interested in it because it gives you intellectual satisfaction. This should be a test that you ultimately apply to your decision later on when entering a field in which the existential well being of people depend on the decisions you make on their behalf.

You need to enjoy what you do because folks are depending on you....