One career, many options

For a lot of Illinois EMTs who are in Paramedic school, your first job as a Paramedic will most likely be at one of the private ambulance companies. This is an excellent introduction to being a Paramedic and if you are already employed at one of these companies, your transition will be much easier! Most of the private ambulance companies do special events, respond to urgent calls (lights and sirens) from nursing homes and other medical facilities, have critical care transport opportunities, and a couple even have flight Paramedic positions. There will be more on the realm of critical care paramedicine and flight Paramedics in future blogs. While these companies are a wonderful way to start gaining patient care experience, many Paramedics use it as a foundation for their ultimate Paramedic career goal.

 I would venture to say that most Paramedics would report that working on a fire department as a Firefighter/Paramedic is the ultimate goal. A lot of suburban fire departments require that their Paramedics are dual trained as fire fighters in Illinois. However, the Chicago Fire Department is unique in that the Paramedics that are employed there function in a single role capacity. That is not to say that some are not fire fighters. It’s just not required to be hired on the Chicago Fire Department as a transporting Paramedic. Lastly, contract Paramedic services also exist. For example, a Paramedic is hired by a private contracting service that will place them at fire departments when there is need. Many use this service as they explore their options for a full-time position on a fire department while gaining valuable 911 experience.   

The above examples are three fire department options; Firefighter/Paramedic, a single role Paramedic, and contract Paramedic for the entrant. But what if the non-911 private ambulance service is not what you had in mind and the fire department scene is not for you? Sometimes expanding your search criteria to look outside of your current geographical location may be beneficial. Some private ambulance companies, like American Medical Response (AMR), are 911 providers. For example, AMR is the 911 ambulance service in Portland, Oregon. When a citizen dials 911, AMR, Portland Fire and Rescue, and sometimes Portland Police are all attached to the call. All three first responder agencies, although independent, work together on calls.

If all this information is dizzying, do not be discouraged. That’s why we are here! We would love to connect with you and offer advice and guidance on how to get started!

Until next time,


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