My Friend Told Me I Don’t Need To Be A Paramedic To Be A Firefighter.  Is That True?

My Friend Told Me I Don’t Need To Be A Paramedic To Be A Firefighter. Is That True?

June 28, 2022 By: Donna Weiss

Many young people grow up playing with toy medical kits, dressing up as firefighters, and imagining themselves driving ambulances while saving lives.  It can be overwhelming and confusing trying to figure out where / how to start a career in EMS.  We hear it all the time, “My friend told me…..”

If your friend is not a Firefighter / Paramedic in the St. Louis or St. Charles area, we should chat.  Let’s go right to the source for the correct information.

There are 43 different fire departments and fire protection districts in St. Louis County and 38 Fire Departments in St. Charles County, Missouri. Each agency does its own hiring and has its own individual hiring requirements.  Do some hire EMT’s?  Maybe. Sure, a small percentage.  Are they paid departments?  Probably not many.  According to the St. Louis County Fire Academy’s website the percentage of, “Firefighters Licensed as Paramedics – 82%”.

It’s easy to see that most departments require Firefighters to be licensed as Paramedics.  Just check out some job applications.  Here’s a current application for a local department:



Planning your education for a career as a firefighter/paramedic is important.  There are several options and depending on where you want to work could determine where you attend school.  One big question that you will need to answer is, Do you want to be cross-trained as a firefighter/paramedic or do you want to be a paramedic?  Each career will be rewarding and provide you with many career opportunities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), firefighters are responsible for “connecting hoses to hydrants, operating the pumps that power the hoses, climbing ladders, and using other tools to break through debris. Firefighters also enter burning buildings to extinguish fires and rescue individuals. Many firefighters are responsible for providing medical attention. Two out of three calls to firefighters are for medical emergencies, not fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Firefighters’ duties may change several times while they are at the scene of an emergency. In some cases they remain at disaster scenes for days, for example, rescuing trapped survivors and assisting with medical treatment.”

EMTs and Paramedics, according to the BLS, “care for the sick or injured in emergency medical settings. People’s lives often depend on the quick reaction and competent care provided by these workers. EMTs and paramedics respond to emergency calls, performing medical services and transporting patients to medical facilities.”

The fastest, most efficient path to becoming a Firefighter/Paramedic is as follows:

  1. EMT School
  2. Paramedic Program
  3. Fire Academy

There is a very important reason to complete your education in this order.  Feel free to chat with an education expert at Respond Right EMS Academy to learn why this order is so important.

If you are interested in becoming a firefighter the minimum qualifications are State Certification as FF II (NFPA 1001, 1992 Ed), Missouri EMT license, high school diploma or GED, and no felony convictions.  To obtain your Firefighter I and II certification you will need to attend a state-approved fire academy.  In our area your options are:

  • St. Louis County Fire Academy – if you want to become a firefighter in St. Louis County
  • St. Charles County Fire Academy – contact your local St. Charles County fire department

Each fire academy has certain admission and application processes.  Make sure you contact them directly for details.

Making your dream career a reality is possible.  It takes hard work and dedication.  With a clear path and the right information, you will be on your way to a successful career in EMS.  For more information on how to enroll in our next EMT or paramedic program contact us today. We have courses forming now. Don’t wait another minute to begin a career you are passionate about.

#becomeaparamedic #rremsa #respondrightems