Whenever there’s a national crisis of any kind, many finally notice that our first responders are not only the most talented, but the most admired of all professionals. Firefighters, police, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), nurses, doctors, and others who hold the front lines when natural disasters or other major catastrophes strike are society’s true heroes, and they deserve all the praise they get. The recent coronavirus pandemic is playing out the same way, only this time it’s the medical professionals who are on the battle lines. If you’re looking for a career and want to join the ranks of these in-demand, respected, wall-paid workers, here are a few ways you can enter their world and become one of the elite corps of first responders.
Assess Your Skills and Education
Know where you stand in terms of coursework, degrees, skills, and special aptitudes that you’ll need in a healthcare career. Much will depend on whether you already have a college degree, what types of courses you took, what your strong points are, what skill sets you possess, and what kind of first responder work you want to do. If you aim to become a paramedic, for example, you will have to attend a course of study that lasts approximately 16 months from start to finish. If nursing is in your future, you’ll have the option of completing a college degree or taking a two-year series of courses to become licensed. EMT’s can usually learn on the job after they’ve had a few college courses in basic science and anatomy.
Finance Your Education
If you need a student loan to go back to school, interest rates are low right now. Some schools are encouraging new students to attend by offering incentives like one free class per semester, free textbooks, half-price summer courses, and more. Even without bonuses like those, simply taking out a student loan to finance your education makes good sense. You’ll have access to low interest rates, reasonable repayment periods, and monthly payments that fit most budgets. Note that not all first responder jobs will require you to earn a degree, so if you’re interested in becoming a medical technician or EMT worker, you can probably find work with local hospitals or clinics and learn on the job. Be ready to work some crazy hours because medical emergencies occur around the clock, every day of the year.
Meet with a Career Advisor
There are dozens of ways to go if you want to enter the medical field. Career choices thrive, and include options in physical therapy, emergency medicine, nursing, home health, and of course becoming a licensed physician. It’s helpful to speak with a career counselor before making a final decision on which route you want to pursue. These professionals will be able to look at the education you already have, your skills, and your aptitude to hone in on appropriate healthcare jobs that match your abilities. You’ll need to decide early on, however, whether you should return to school or obtain an advanced degree. A one-hour session with a counselor will give you the direction and information you need to make an informed decision.