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Old 02-07-2010, 03:50 AM   #1
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How to get an EMT Job

Weíve seen countless threads over the past year or two from EMT-Basics and Paramedics looking for advice on how to get hired in this tough economy. The belief that graduating with a certification and a smile will guarantee you a job doesnít hold true these days, and gaining employment is a tough job. Ultimately your perseverance and determination will help determine how quickly you find employment in EMS.

Using the wisdom and guidance of the EMTLife community, Iíve put together this guide on how to gain employment as an EMT or Paramedic.

  1. Go to a good school. One thing that we all agree on is the importance of a good EMS education as the foundation of being a good EMT. While an Associates degree is great, and a Bachelors degree is fantastic, itís important that you make the most of your education and attend a school with a rigorous curriculum. The Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs also provides a list of nationally accredited Paramedic programs. The general consensus is the more school you attend; the more appealing you are to a prospective employer.
  2. Obtain your National Registry. This simply provides you more options and opportunities, as many employers seek EMTs who have passed the NREMT. Sure, all states donít require it, and some states require more, but itís a good starting point.
  3. Gather your Papers! Itís important that you anticipate what youíll need for employment, and that you have copies and originals readily available. Youíll most likely need:
    1. Your driverís license and Social Security card
    2. Your EMT license/certificate
    3. American Heart Association BLS Healthcare Provider certification
    4. Your FEMA NIMS courses that may be taken entirely online
    5. A resume and cover letter
    6. Some states may require a background check, Live Scan, finger printing, ambulance drivers license, etc. Check with colleagues and your EMS institution to see what they suggest.
  4. Create a Resume and Cover Letter. Create a simple one or two page resume and cover letter for perspective employers. After youíve edited it for spelling and grammatical errors, print it on fancy resume paper. The extra investment up front will help you stand out when HR is sifting through hundreds of resumes.
  5. Make a List. Go online or check the yellow pages to make a list of all of the local ambulance services in your area that interest you.
  6. Call ĎEm! In this digital age itís so easy to simply send off an email or attempt to apply online. As someone who has created websites for employers, including ambulance services, I can tell you that rarely do they update their job postings. Call each perspective employer and inquire about job opportunities. Beyond asking a simple question, create a conversation and inquire as to what you can do to gain employment at the company.
  7. Follow up with Email. Now that youíve made the call, follow up with a professional email thanking the person. I always call my colleagues over when I get a really serious email from hotstuffXOXO@whatever.com, and it sure doesnít make you look professional. Register a professional email address (jsmith@gmail.com) if you donít have one already.
  8. Keep Calling and Visit. Keep calling and following with your contact, and it may even be appropriate to stop by the station. You want to be persistent and seem ambitious, but not annoying.

You got an interview? Great! If not, go back to number six. There are hundreds of posts on EMTLife about interviews, interview questions, and almost everything else about interviews. Weíve probably already answered your question. Just a few reminders:
  1. Show up on Time (or early)! There is nothing worse than showing up late to an interview. Even if you have to wait in your car for half an hour before you go in, itís important that youíre on time.
  2. Dress for Success! Your first impression means everything, especially in a difficult job market. Dress nicely and conservatively. If possible, remove any excessive jewelry or piercings, and try your best to cover and tattoos.
    1. Men: suit, shirt, conservative tie, nice shows, and a professional haircut.
    2. Women: suit, nice pants, and conservative shoes. This is EMS.
  3. Answer the Questions. There are some questions that I can almost guarantee youíll be asked:
    • Tell us about yourself.
    • Why do you want to work for X service?
    • What separates you from the other applicants?
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    • Where do you see yourself in x years?
    • Answer the questions honestly and confidently.
  4. Ask Great Questions: Usually at the end of the interview youíll be asked if you have any questions. Now is not the time to ask all 100 questions youíve saved up. Those should have been asked via email, phone, or in person prior to the interview. Now is a good time to ask when you can expect to hear back from the person regarding the position, or any other general question you might have regarding the process.
  5. Thank the Person with a Shake & Letter. Now that youíve finished the interview, thank the person by name and a firm hand shake. Iíd argue that one of the most important steps is the thank-you letter youíll send at home following the interview. When you get home send the person a thank-you letter thanking them for the interview and their time. It really makes a great impression and will help to separate you from the masses.

If you get the job, congratulations! If not, go back to step five and start again.

Getting a job isn't easy, but with persistence and a willingness to adapt you certainly will be successful. It's only a matter of time.

I'll continually update this thread with suggestions. What do you suggest?


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Old 02-07-2010, 06:31 AM   #2
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Be confident in yourself and your abilities. Thats the weakest part of applicants I see all over.
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:58 AM   #3
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Being an ambo is 98% people, reasoning and communication skills, 1% common sense patient care and 1% advanced patient care.

You can teach a rock about cardiology but you cannot teach life skills, maturity, how to interact with people and solve whatever problem they present to you.

With that in mind, differentiate your people management, maturity, problem solving and communication rather than "oh I got 100% on my Technician course"
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:17 PM   #4
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Volunteer somewhere to gain hands-on experience if you're having trouble due to lack of experience.

Be willing to work a job somewhere besides the street or an ED. Think amusement parks, dispatch, other clinical settings, etc. Even if it isn't your ideal job, it will build experience so you can work your way up to that job.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:37 PM   #5
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This is an Amazing Guide! Now my adversaries are going to be better equipped!
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:59 PM   #6
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Can this become a sticky?
*My statements are my opinion and do not reflect those of my employer*
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Old 02-07-2010, 10:03 PM   #7
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Wonderfully written. Like Lucid said, volunteer. Not just to gain experience on the job but to make contacts with other people and get your foot in the door. You'd be surprised who you could meet while volunteering... I became friends with a district fire chief and a fire captain by simply raising money for the Firefighter's Burn Treatment Society, Edmonton Chapter.
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Old 02-08-2010, 01:09 AM   #8
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Know how to speak proper english, slowly and clearly. Keep eye contact with your interviewer as well.
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Old 02-08-2010, 01:50 AM   #9
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This is a true story:

I applied to a bunch of private ambulance companies towards the end of December 2009 and the beginning of January 2010. I only received 1 call back for interview which I had last week. I was told there was 12-16 spots available; however, the company was interviewing 82 candidates.

So I started calling back up all the ambulance companies where I had submitted an online application and asked if I could come in and drop off copies of all my credentials. Only 1 ambulance agreed to allow me to come in but they told me they weren't hiring.

As I was about to walk out the door in my sneakers, jeans, and t-shirt I made a last minute decision to put on a full suit. I even polished my dress shoes. I dropped off my paperwork and was told that when hiring resumed it would look favorably that I was proactive to bring in copies of all my credentials.

I walked to my car and was getting in to leave. A man followed me out and told me he was impressed with the fact that I suited up just to drop off my paperwork. He also liked my proactive approach and told me he would pull my file.

The next day, I got a call for an interview which I have tomorrow. I still don't have the job but I learned in these times going the extra mile can make a big difference. Employers want to hire employees who are dedicated and motivated. Keep that in mind!

I will let you know how the interview goes tomorrow.

Last edited by Tonester; 02-08-2010 at 01:51 AM.
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Old 02-10-2010, 12:13 AM   #10
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can we get a Sticky on this?

yeah ive had about 4 interviews and lemme say, DONT BE NERVOUS
and make sure you have an answer ready to the most common questions
Write it down and practice it
Especially the question "Tell me about your self?"
"Whoever Kills an Innocent Man, is as though he Killed all of Mankind, Whoever Saves a life is as though he Saved all of Mankind" Holy Quran 5:32
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