Fire medics respond to all types of emergency medical situations, specializing in scenarios that involve fire suppression. Their help may be needed at house fires, industrial accidents and car crashes. The pairing of paramedic and firefighting expertise makes fire medics desirable for any emergency response team.
, especially considering the heated demand for paramedics in the Unites States.
Fire Medic Education
Your education as a prospective fire medic combines emergency medical technician and firefighter training, typically earned at technical or community colleges. Courses include firefighting principles and equipment management; paramedic medical classes; physiology; psychology; and sociology. The length of your studies depend on the type of degree you pursue. An associate degree as a fire medic requires two years of study, while an applied science bachelor of arts degree as a fire medic associate takes up to four years to complete. Graduates emerge from these programs ready for EMT and firefighter licensing exams.
Licenses and Certifications
After completing courses from an approved school, all fire medics must pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam to be licensed. Some employers require that fire medics complete EMT-paramedic certification rather than the EMT-basic certification. Certification as a paramedic demonstrates more advanced emergency medical skills and education. Some states require additional certification to operate as a firefighter and drive a fire truck. A variety of certifications designate your level of expertise as a firefighter and your readiness for an expanded role.
Fire Medic Responsibilities
When responding to fire emergencies, a fire medic may operate water pumps, drive firetrucks, manipulate hoses and operate other fire-extinguishing hardware. During medical emergencies, you may provide diagnose injuries and treat patients. Another important duty involves inspecting and maintaining firefighting and paramedic equipment; performing fire inspections in your community; and participating in emergency-preparedness training, such as fire drills.
Job Outlook and Opportunities
Because of their advanced medical training and responsibilities, fire medics are considered to be paramedics who specialize in supporting fire teams. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of EMTs and paramedics to increase by 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, greater than the 11 percent increase forecast for all occupations. Fire medic training can lead to employment in industrial emergency response teams, or specialized firefighter and paramedic equipment sales. Experience and additional training can lead to promotion as a paramedic supervisor, fire captain, and other roles with increased pay and responsibility.