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CNA vs MFR vs EMT - Situation Specific


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So I hate that I have to post this considering how many threads there are regarding CNA vs EMT, etc, but here goes...

 

I am applying to schools this summer for entry in 2013. Currently I have 250 hrs as a CNA (but my certification expired while I was studying abroad a few years ago), 100+ hrs volunteering on a First Aid response team and at a free clinic (both direct patient care), and 3000+ hrs as a procurement technician (I procure cancerous and normal tissue from organs fresh out of the ORs, process them, and distribute to researchers - awesome for A&P, no direct patient care though...I just work with their organs). I'm currently looking for a position that is more directly involved in patient care, but it's been impossible here in Michigan without a certification (besides phlebotomy, which barely counts). I'd like to get a certification over the summer to make the job search easier, but I'm not sure how pointless it is considering my application will be going out in late June/July. Here's the info for the different certifications, plus some pros and cons:

 

CNA - $526 - Course from 5/7-6/7 - Could help me get a position as a patient care tech in my area, but my current job may not accommodate as I would have to leave an hour early every day to attend the course.

MFR - $400 - Course 60 hrs in May - Helps me advance in my volunteer position, not sure if it would help with employment at all (Thoughts?)

EMT-B - $1500 - Course from 5/7-8/27 - Helps me advance in my volunteer position, but only employment in my area is merely transport - could maybe help get a position as an ER Tech. However, the time commitment prevents me from participating in my volunteer activities over the summer.

 

Cost is seriously important to me (I'm running on very low funds), and the amount of money I make is important (I need to be making at least $13 an hour to pay for student loans and living expenses).

 

Any thoughts? I'm having difficulty considering I know how much people on the forum value EMT work, but I'm not sure if it's worth it given my current position. I am, however, trying to consider what the best option is whether I get in this year or don't and have to apply again next year.

 

I feel like my situation is different from a lot of people asking EMT vs CNA, which is why I posted this. Sorry if it's redundant :/

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If you go the CNA route you would do well to get in as a PCT at a hospital, but be prepared to work elsewhere to get experience unless you know someone in the system that can get you in. PCT jobs are very competitive. EMT-B, like you saiid, is basically transport with little actual use of the "great experience" many talk about (in my area). ER tech would be great I you can get it but again, very competitive. Really, everything in health care is competitive in my area. I'm gonna PM you to tell you more of the rOute I went and where it has gotten me.

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I happen to come from the school of redundancy school. I think whatever gets you the most hce the quickest is where you need to look. I can't speak on specific employment possibilities in your area, thats something you'll have to feel out. Like mktalon knowing somebody in the system is a good resource. As an uncerted MA in a certified world, I knew nobody and applied to a ton of jobs. It only takes one to invite you in. The sooner, the more hce, the better.

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I happen to come from the school of redundancy school. I think whatever gets you the most hce the quickest is where you need to look. I can't speak on specific employment possibilities in your area, thats something you'll have to feel out. Like mktalon knowing somebody in the system is a good resource. As an uncerted MA in a certified world, I knew nobody and applied to a ton of jobs. It only takes one to invite you in. The sooner, the more hce, the better.

 

How did you go about getting your MA position? Was it a lot of cold calling and passing off resumes or did you apply through hospitals and the like? I have the experience necessary to be an MA, minus the certification - and minus any experience starting IVs. I guess I'll just keep sending out the resumes and hoping somebody somewhere likes what they see...

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How did you go about getting your MA position? Was it a lot of cold calling and passing off resumes or did you apply through hospitals and the like? I have the experience necessary to be an MA, minus the certification - and minus any experience starting IVs. I guess I'll just keep sending out the resumes and hoping somebody somewhere likes what they see...

 

I pretty much drove around and dropped off resumes to local clinics and applied online to one's that were required online apps (hospitals, bigger clinics, etc). The place I got invited to interview at, I didn't even remember applying to! They didn't require a certification (although I'm the only non-certed MA there) and they had previously employed a Corpsman and liked what they saw, so they snagged my app. As an urgent care we do all kinds of stuff as an MA...and now that the providers know I'll be starting PA school soon, they're turning every experience into a teaching opportunity (like reading x-rays, different derm cases, etc). Not sure if its just our clinic or if its the norm for everyone, but as an MA I've got my hands on virtually every patient, getting histories and running all the necessary labs/tests, shots, etc.

Like I said it only takes that one employer to see your app and say, "hmm...lets get this person in for an interview." Certified or not :)

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Crystal, I am currently in Michigan taking a EMT-B course and I can say eventhough it will take me 4 months to complete I feel it will be worth it. The first day I was in class the EMS administrators were giving us information on positions open through out Michigan for EMT and Paramedics. While I plan on taking the long route for my HCE by going through the Paramedic course, for me it will be worth it ("Going from a Biomedical Engineer to a Paramedic.").

 

My advice is to pick up something you wil honestly like to do while waiting on that invite to PA school, whether it be CNA, MA, EMT-B or Paramedic.

 

On a note, for salary, because of the hours that can be had for Paramedics in Michigan I have found several Paramedics stating that they are hitting the $50k mark with over time and are given a year and a half towards their nursing degree "ASN" (two positives).

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Is there a volunteer EMT squad that you can join? I already had my EMT-B when I joined my local squad, but I do know that they typically pay for people to get certified. Actually, there are at least 3-4 nearby enough squads that pay for their volunteers to get certs while they also gain experience riding as a third responder. Maybe see if there is a squad with a similar offer where you are...?

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Crystaltide,

 

You stated that EMT-Bs only do transport in your area. Did you verify your county protocols for EMTs? Some counties run Basic-Basic and others do Medic-Basic. If your county runs medic-basic, this would be awesome HCE.

 

I did a 6-week accelerated EMT-B program for only $970 (Michigan).

Edited by bigdude
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They are more common along the east coast, but not unheard of here in the west are programs called "sleepers" for fire departments. I was one for about a year. You're a volunteer, but your home residence is the fire house. Sleep, eat, respond to calls, getting training for free. They paid for my paramedic program. They worked very easily around my schedule allowing for a full time job plus a part time job while I went to school.

 

As for pay scales....as for a full time paramedic pulling a bit of overtime, I was bringing home 65-72,000 on years that I applied myself chasing some overtime. My all time high was 82,000 for a year. Of course I also worked well over 1000 hours in overtime and quality of life FREAKING SUCKED. Will be tickled pink to make that much money working a third of the time.

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