Enrolling in EMT-B cert soon - advice for noobs?


Forum Ride Along
Hi - I'll be making a career change out of working a corporate desk job to EMS as a 27 year old. I'm nervous about my pay getting slashed 50% (I know, not the end of the world if you do something you love) but also, what if I don't like it? I'd love to hear some of your stories of fellow career hoppers, your hesitations and how you've progressed in the time since.


The fire extinguisher is not just for show
1) you can always go back to the corporate world
2) you can work EMS part time, and go back to the corporate world
3) OT is all too common, and can help make up the difference
4) full time is only 3 or 4 days a week, so you can pick up a second job.

I worked IT from 2003 to 2005, than EMS full time from 2005 to 2015ish, and now I'm back in IT, working full time in InfoSec, making more than I ever made in EMS with better hours, and I play on the BRT a few times a month. Don't get me wrong, I might love what I do, but love doesn't pay the bills.

I will also caution you, that it is tough to take a 50% pay cut without a change in lifestyle, or a sugar momma/daddy who is giving you extra $$$. it will be an adjustment, esp going from bankers hours to days, nights and weekends. But it's definitely doable, and life is too short to be in a career where you are unhappy.


Forum Deputy Chief
I started transitioning from full-time corporate management into EMS when I was 39. By 48, I was full-time EMS. Along the way, I worked part-time as a self-employed systems consultant and began writing for EMS media. At 60, I couldn't ride anymore due to back injuries, but I continued writing and consulting part-time. That's still what I do, although this is likely my last year as a medic.

You expressed concern about not liking EMS. The best way I found to hedge my bet was to volunteer for a couple of years before leaving my corporate job. Even after that, I found it harder to work in the field than to volunteer (no surprise); plus, the major cut in salary required more careful budgeting. The injuries were no fun, either, but most of the time, I preferred to be in EMS. I'm still glad I had those 30 years in this business.

I've learned a few lessons:

1. Money may be necessary for happiness, but it's not sufficient.
2. Success in EMS is more about little things than big things.
3. Working 911 helped me feel better about myself than I did behind a desk.
4. Try different kinds of work until you find what suits you. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself.

Chris EMT J

Forum Lieutenant
Advice for becoming a EMT. I have been EMT-A for 5 years and EMT-B for 1 year. I personally think the best thing to do is learn every road around you. Learn the hospitals around you and what they are best at. Learn for favorite fast food restaurants because your diet is going to become hard to control. Learn a source of caffeine or energy because EMS will find a away to exhaust you. Try to watch your mental health because it really takes a toll on you. Otherwise EMS can be really fun hanging with partners you like practicing medicine you like.