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Freshly-Certified EMT-B -- What Next?


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Hey everyone,

I just recently completed my EMT-B course, along with the NY State examination. I'm using EMT-B as my first foray into the medical world, and to gain good quality PCE. I am currently taking a short break before applying, since I have to get my driver's license (here in NY, the public transportation system is pretty good, so I've never felt the demand to get the driver's license). 
Just looking for some general advice, as to what I should be doing next, once I apply and get my first job as an EMT-B. How long would you recommend I do this for, to get a good number of hours under my belt? I just recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in biology, with a pretty poor GPA (terrible first few years, followed by a super increase in good grades of advanced science courses). I don't mind taking my time to do this right, even though I keep running into people like my fellow EMT-B students who are like "I know I'm only 18, but I want to finish EMT-B NOW so I can go right to PA school". I tried to rush things in my first couple of semesters of undergrad, and that killed my grades; it was only with self-reflection, and a complete rebuilding of my methodology, that I was able to turn my grades around. 
TLDR: Just graduated college, poor GPA, good upward trend in grades, would like to know how I should approach EMT-B.

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First congrats on finishing Your EMT course. Your next step is to obtain your driver's license. Then, once you're ready to apply for jobs, apply EVERYWHERE - private services, 911(although they might need experience), urgent cares, hospitals (pct, na, ER tech, etc), and privately owned clinics. 

I recommend continue working as an emt until you get accepted into PA school since that is the end goal. Do look at the opportunity as a learning experience and not merely a box checker. 

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1 minute ago, Diggy said:

First congrats on finishing Your EMT course. Your next step is to obtain your driver's license. Then, once you're ready to apply for jobs, apply EVERYWHERE - private services, 911(although they might need experience), urgent cares, hospitals (pct, na, ER tech, etc), and privately owned clinics. 

I recommend continue working as an emt until you get accepted into PA school since that is the end goal. Do look at the opportunity as a learning experience and not merely a box checker. 

Thank you for the reply! The two big EMT-B services that were pushed to us students was FDNY and SeniorCare, since our instructors mostly worked with one of those two. A ton of my fellow students got accepted into SeniorCare instantly. Upon talking with the SeniorCare recruits who were hanging outside the NY State examination location, they told me "Just apply, and you'll get in no problem". I don't know how reflective of reality that is...
So are you suggesting I should apply to PA school at the next possible opportunity, and just do that every year, while working as an EMT-B, until I get in? 

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an EMT-B cert without experience using it will not help your application. Save your money this year.  you need a few thousand hours of employment, especially with a poor gpa, to be at all competitive. look into ER tech jobs as well. Every hospital in NYC uses ER techs. 

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23 minutes ago, EMEDPA said:

an EMT-B cert without experience using it will not help your application. Save your money this year.  you need a few thousand hours of employment, especially with a poor gpa, to be at all competitive. look into ER tech jobs as well. Every hospital in NYC uses ER techs. 

That makes sense; I have had some people in my circle (people who aren't familiar with the whole PA career pathway) tell me to "just apply to PA school, who knows?" Many people don't seem to get how damn competitive it is to get into PA school; a lot of these people are, for better or for worse, coming from very different career paths that are not quite as demanding (at least, not in the same way).

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As EMEDPA said, an emt license without experience will not work in your favor. Work as an emt/ED tech for a few thousands of hours and then use that to leverage your PA application. 

Yes many people do not understand the competitiveness of the field but that's largely due to ignorance. Choose your battles wisely because it's hard to convince people who refuse to be convinced. Spend your energy elsewhere. 

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Another vote for delaying your application until you've racked up some hours. ER tech is a fantastic opportunity. You'll interact with PAs (who can then write letters of recs) but you'll also get to see/do more than driving the rig as is often the case for EMT-B gigs.

Perks of delaying:

1) it'll make you more competitive

2) it'll give you something to talk about in your essays and during the interview

3) an admissions committee looks at your application a bit differently when it's initial applicant versus re-applicant. Hold your cards close to your chest until you've got a strong application

 

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28 minutes ago, SDZayas said:

That makes sense; I have had some people in my circle (people who aren't familiar with the whole PA career pathway) tell me to "just apply to PA school, who knows?" Many people don't seem to get how damn competitive it is to get into PA school; a lot of these people are, for better or for worse, coming from very different career paths that are not quite as demanding (at least, not in the same way).

what is your current cumulative and science gpa? what does the rest of your app look like in terms of volunteer and community service, pa shadowing, etc. 

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32 minutes ago, EMEDPA said:

what is your current cumulative and science gpa? what does the rest of your app look like in terms of volunteer and community service, pa shadowing, etc. 

I haven't calculated my science GPA just yet, and I also am not sure what my final cumulative GPA turned out to be with my last couple of classes  before I graduated, but it's in the 2.7-2.8 range. Yes, I know that's poor, it's not competitive, my path is going to be difficult (I have accepted that reality). I had a tough first few semesters (different major, too many tough classes, absolutely zero counseling or advisement), but I really turned everything around in the last 3/4 of my undergrad years; I've gotten mostly A's in advanced courses like Evolution, Microbio, Orgo 2, Bioinformatics -- I took the advice of the Pre-Med advisor, and took about 75% of my college's advanced bio courses, and did very well in all of them in order to not only boost my GPA, but to display that "upward trend". While this is more of a personal note that a number's issue, I ensured I was one of the top students in every class, the professors got to know me, and I have some who would be willing to write glowing LORs for me. The same goes for my EMT-B course.
I have little to no volunteer, shadowing, or community hours. I planned to get my bachelor's under my belt, so to speak, so I could focus more readily on those things after graduation. 

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You need to plan to accumulate HCE while taking additional relevant science classes to get yous cGPA and sGPA up into the 3.2+ range.  HCE accumulates, GPA averages, so you need to get a 4.0 in every single class you take from here on out, and it still may take a couple of years to get there.

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6 minutes ago, rev ronin said:

You need to plan to accumulate HCE while taking additional relevant science classes to get yous cGPA and sGPA up into the 3.2+ range.  HCE accumulates, GPA averages, so you need to get a 4.0 in every single class you take from here on out, and it still may take a couple of years to get there.

Thank you for the reply! For upping the cGPA and sGPA, would you recommend me take additional science courses as standalones, or as part of a Master's Program? My Pre-Med advisor suggested that a Master's Degree in a related field, undertaken while I worked as an EMT-B, might be a good way to raise my competitiveness. I wouldn't mind that, actually; I have only been out of school for a few months, and I already miss it.

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If you can afford the additional degree it couldn't hurt, but it is not necessary. An MPH or similar degree or better yet an advanced health professional degree like Emt-Paramedic, LPN/RN, resp therapist, etc. an additional cert gives you a fallback if you don't get in for several cycles. 

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2 minutes ago, EMEDPA said:

If you can affors the additional degree it couldn't hurt, but it is not necessary. An MPH or similar degree or better yet an advanced health professional degree like Emt-Paramedic, LPN/RN, resp therapist, etc. an additional cert gives you a fallback if you don't get in for several cycles. 

Thanks for the reply! It's true, something like Paramedic training would have the benefits of more advanced PCE, and a higher salary. The concern, though, is that I not only want good PCE (like Paramedic training would provide), but I want to be able to take college credits that raise my GPA. Unless an advanced health profession degree would provide that...? 

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9 hours ago, SDZayas said:

Thanks for the reply! It's true, something like Paramedic training would have the benefits of more advanced PCE, and a higher salary. The concern, though, is that I not only want good PCE (like Paramedic training would provide), but I want to be able to take college credits that raise my GPA. Unless an advanced health profession degree would provide that...? 

there are degree programs for paramedic, RT, RN, etc that would improve your gpa.

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21 hours ago, SDZayas said:

...but I want to be able to take college credits that raise my GPA. Unless an advanced health profession degree would provide that...? 

 

An ABSN that's 11 months, 12 months, or even 15 months could provide that but these programs are costly. I recently graduated from an ABSN program that has a price tag of 47K for tuition for 12 months but only paid 27K.

I would vote for a clinically related second-degree program (RT, RRT, RN, Paramedicine) because not only does it award college credits but it guarantees a well-paid job upon graduation and passing the respective boards. Degrees like MPH or post-bac medical science programs do not do that. MPH should be used as a supplement for current medical providers who want to venture into public health/public health research etc.

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4 hours ago, Diggy said:

An ABSN that's 11 months, 12 months, or even 15 months could provide that but these programs are costly. I recently graduated from an ABSN program that has a price tag of 47K for tuition for 12 months but only paid 27K.

I would vote for a clinically related second-degree program (RT, RRT, RN, Paramedicine) because not only does it award college credits but it guarantees a well-paid job upon graduation and passing the respective boards. Degrees like MPH or post-bac medical science programs do not do that. MPH should be used as a supplement for current medical providers who want to venture into public health/public health research etc.

I definitely do NOT want to get into debt if I can avoid it. For the seven years I spent in undergrad, slowly repairing my failures and taking pre-requisites, I managed to only ever take out a loan once, for around $2000. All the other times, I had Financial Aid help, and paid the rest through a payment plan. Plus, PA school is expensive too!
I wouldn't mind doing something like a Radiology Tech, or a Paramedic. At least for a Paramedic, though, I couldn't just jump right into it; I'd have to work for a while as an EMT-B, from what I've heard.

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a bit down the line consider the part time PA programs too. I think there are still 7 or 8. I went to one and was able to work 24-30 hrs/week year 1 and 2. the format is didactics over 2 years then a regular full time clinical year. it was nice taking 3 classes at a time instead of 6.

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15 hours ago, EMEDPA said:

a bit down the line consider the part time PA programs too. I think there are still 7 or 8. I went to one and was able to work 24-30 hrs/week year 1 and 2. the format is didactics over 2 years then a regular full time clinical year. it was nice taking 3 classes at a time instead of 6.

That would be something I'd consider, although, at risk of sounding obnoxious, I would not be financially crippled by being unable to work during a full-time PA program. 
Truth be told, while I am looking forward to working as an EMT-B, I really love the didactic format of classes (as in a Master's Degree) as a possible way to make my resume look more competitive for a PA school, as opposed to just hunkering down and working for 5000 hours as an EMT-B. For example, if I need to get 2000 hours as an EMT-B to be eligible to apply to a certain PA school, I could technically be a terrible EMT-B who just barely scraped by in terms of performance. On the other hand, getting high-quality grades in courses to attain a degree demands that you do the course work, and do it well. In engaging with my fellow EMT-B students, I found that while these people could absolutely get a job and work hours as an EMT-B, many of them just displayed very poor work ethic, were lazy in their studies, were immature, or just had no willingness to learn. Again, without sounding obnoxious, I think I will be a rather good EMT-B, and PA, but I am weighed down by the GPA and poor grades I got early on. D;

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