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How to Become a Paramedic Firefighter

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If saving lives, fighting fires, intubating patients, administering medications, starting IVs and making meals for your fellow co-workers interests you, the career of a paramedic firefighter just might be your calling. As a paramedic firefighter, you will take an active role in fighting fires and saving lives.

Get the required education. Earn a high school diploma or obtain a GED (general equivalency diploma). The position of a paramedic/firefighter entails being hired to staff both the EMS (paramedic) and the fire apparatus for the fire department. This means the individual working as a paramedic/firefighter would work as an EMT as well as respond to fire calls. Usually this position is based at the fire station.

Attend an emergency medical technician (EMT) program. EMT programs are offered at nearly every junior, vocational and technical college around the country. The program must be accredited by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians in order for the student to be eligible to sit for the licensing exam for paramedic. In the EMT program, students will take courses relating to emergency skills, maintaining basic emergency equipment, managing respiratory emergencies and management of trauma.

Take both the written and practical exams. These exams will be governed by the state or National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, depending upon the state. Students must pass both exams to become licensed as a paramedic/EMT.

Complete the firefighter academy. These programs vary by state, but for the most part, an applicant is eligible to attend the academy as long as he is at least 18 years of age. Performance at the academy is one way to identify students who are not good candidates for a career as a paramedic firefighter and "weed them out" of the program population. In the firefighter academy, students will learn many skills including how to work with fire suppression apparatus, first aid and life support, emergency medical response techniques and activities, and how to respond to hazardous materials calls.

Become an EMT. Usually, an individual becomes an EMT, then a paramedic and then trains to be a firefighter. Moving from EMT to paramedic to paramedic/firefighter is considered a promotion.