Posts Tagged ‘firefighter’

Unaffiliated Un-uniformity

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

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There are plenty of informative sites, blogs, and other variants of social media out there for the already-employed-EMT, but what about those of us that have gone to school, have a license, but have not been hired yet…for two years?

OK, the two years part may not be the norm, but the rest of it might be, to more folks than you may think. I went to a small community college in North Carolina, enrolled in a six-month course, took the state exam, failed the first time, then retested. This was all shortly before moving to New Hampshire.


But did you know North Carolina does not require NREMT? I didn’t think it was a big deal. I heard of ‘reciprocity’ and thought that it might help. It seems that it does not extend very far. I looked into what was going to be needed for employment in NH, even though I knew I was not to be staying in NH for more than a year, but I desperately wanted to get my career started. I looked up websites, made phone calls, and knocked on office doors. Finally, I had to take a one-day ‘transition class’ for the state of NH. I was actually misinformed about this; the class had no bearing on my NH license.

Everyone tells me to get NREMT. Great, sure, have you read HOW to do this if you are “unaffiliated?” Excessively frustrating, not to mention, living paycheck to paycheck does not allow for it.

Now, I am facing the same thing in my new home state of Maine. There seems to be no ‘reciprocity’ between NC, NH, or ME. It has even been suggested that I may need to take the EMT-B course all over again!

Lack of uniformity

Now more to the point. Where is the uniformity? Hypothetically, if many states use the same detailed textbooks, specifically Brady Books, why is it so difficult for someone without NREMT to transfer to another state? Is what has been learned any different? Is the human body really any different from one state to the next?

I understand differences in protocol, which is why I took the $150 one day ‘transition class’ in NH. Should it really be this difficult (and costly) to transfer credentials from one state to another?

A possible solution

Here is an idea that has worked for me in EVERY other career field I have been in: hire me conditionally, with the stipulation that I get fully-licensed in said state within a specified number of months. This would solve MANY issues.

The issue of not being able to afford the process (as it would be a second income) and also would put me in direct daily contact with people who can steer me in the right direction. I have asked three different people about how to do this. Simply put, I have received three different answers.

So, have I done what is required educationally? Yes. Do I have a valid EMT-B license? Yes. Can I get employment? No.

There must be some sense of uniformity in the education process that could eliminate some of this hassle. How about a simple solution of offering to sit for NREMT along with state exams after completing a class in every state? Why not, if a majority of the schools use the SAME textbooks, right?  

Uniformity, in a career where we wear uniforms, where is it?


Eric Carlson is a dad, husband, (unemployed) EMT, volunteer firefighter, writer, and fire protection systems specialist. Visit his blog: