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EMT vs. Firefighter: Which Path Is Right For You?

Firefighter vs EMT

If you are trying to decide which path to take, to become an EMT or a Firefighter, you will want to do some research on both courses and see which one may be the best fit for you.  Two factors you may want to consider is how long is training for each course, and what the salary is for each career.

How Long Is Schooling for EMT or Firefighter?

EMT – The time it takes to complete a program will vary depending on the level the EMT student wishes to achieve.  First Responder or EMT-Basic programs take the least amount of time to complete.  In an accelerated program, it could take as little as three weeks to conclude.  As a part-time student in a First Responder or EMT-Basic course, it may take up to eleven weeks.  An EMT-Intermediate course varies in the time it takes to achieve depending on the state where the EMT will be gaining his/her certificate.  This program can take anywhere between 30 – 350 hours of training.  Becoming a paramedic is the most advance level for Emergency Medical Technicians. This program could take as long as two years to complete, and students may obtain an Associates degree upon fulfillment.

Firefighter – Each organization will have different hiring requirements, but first many will require that prospective students are CPR certified, which can take as little as 3 hours to complete the CPR AED course.  In addition, a prospective firefighter would be a great addition if they had full EMT training.  Many fire academies head programs for certificates, Associate’s degrees and Bachelor’s degrees in fire science or fire technology that are associated with a college or university and the fire department.  Like any degree, you could get your Associate’s degree which will take about 2 years, or a Bachelor’s degree which takes about 4 years.

Firefighter vs. EMT Salaries

EMT – For the United States as a whole, EMTs make an average of $32,113 annually.  In New York, NY an average an entry level EMT can make is anywhere from $34,000 to $37,000 a year.  As a paramedic in New York City, someone with little experience could start off with a salary of $43,600 to $46,600.  For an EMT with a year or less of experience in Miami, FL, the average salary can be anywhere from $27,900 to $30,000 a year.  As a paramedic in Miami, FL an entry level paramedic can make anywhere from $35,200 to $37,700.

Firefighter – Salaries for a firefighter vary for a number a factors such as, level of education, years of experience and location.  As a new firefighter in New York City, fresh out of the academy, you can expect to make an annual salary anywhere between $43,700 to $50,900. The average firefighter in Miami is projected to earn anywhere from $35,000 to $41,000 a year.

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