Navy.mil Photo of Navy Seals

A few years ago an old friend contacted me. He began to explain that he had been injured at on the job and forced to retire. I asked him what he was going to do ? he said he was up for a job with Federal Government , but he would have to go back to school and finish his degree. I didn’t want to bring him down any more than he already was, but I thought it was unlikely he would get the job. Why would they wait for him to complete a degree for a job they obviously needed filled now? Why wouldn’t they just hire someone with all the needed qualifications now ? The time to prepare for an opportunity in the future is now.

I see young folks increasingly make this mistakes over and over again in pursuit of money. They sacrifice the future, where the really big pay offs are for what they perceive as an immediate benefit today. Dropping out of school or college to join the fire department is not a wise move. As I advance in age I am sure of only one thing and that is the world is not becoming a simpler place.

The EMS work force of the future will be more akin to Special Operators of the famed Navy Seals. Our future work force will rely more on college graduates with technology backgrounds. Simply having a paramedic license will not be enough they will be required not only to be outstanding physical specimens  but have much more training. Future providers will be experts at information gathering, data processing , Tactical Medicine, Haz Mat Operations, Critical Care Transport , SEMS Certified, and High Angle Rescue capable as a minimum. like Military Special Operators their schooling will never be complete.

The reason why this is the future is simply money! While it may cost more up front to find and train these operators the cost going forward 20 to 25 years with much smaller and better trained work force will afford jurisdictions substantial savings. The selection process will be rigorous to garner one of these coveted positions. This means no one will wait for you to become qualified, you must arrive first day over qualified. The great news for those ready for the future is that compensation will be substantial because there will be fewer people and they will be well compensated.

If that argument is not enough for young people to pursue as much education as possible before entering our field think about this, EMS and Public Safety is like professional sports. The sad truth is not many EMS providers make it to retirement and even fewer make it to retirement unscathed and uninjured. When I was with the fire department I was told the average career of a paramedic was 8 years. That meant like a professional NFL players I would need a second career after my playing days where over. Your playing days can end for a number of reasons and career ending injuries are not uncommon in the NFL or the Fire Service.

Remember two things the world is becoming a much more complex place,don’t fall into the trap of being an analog employees in a digital work force. Prepare for your future opportunity now.