How to Get Your First EMS Job

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1) Make sure you're ready.

Sit down with your instructor and your preceptors and ask for honest input. Listen to their suggestions—make sure you know your stuff and are acting in line with professional behavior. 


2) Set a goal.

Where do you want to go in life? Critical care paramedic? EMS admin? Research?

Think back on your clinicals and do some research on the companies around you. Which services have advanced and progressive protocols that can get you the experience you need?

Make a list of these companies, whether they are hiring or not. 


3) Don't get picky

As a new graduate, you are at the bottom of the stack, but you still have bills to pay. Add to your company list ALL of the other companies you would consider working for. Even if they are outside of EMS. And, again, include them whether they are hiring or not. 



Start at the top of your list.

Submit a COMPLETE application, including copies of any necessary documents. Include contact information for your references and letters from them if you have them.

Unless the application process is entirely online, you will need to do this IN PERSON. Yep, just walk in and ask for an application. Take it home, fill it out, and then walk back in and turn it in. Smile while you do this. Introduce yourself to everyone. Sometimes the very best person to know at a service is the secretary at the front desk. 

Let the application sit for a week. Then call HR and follow up (yes, on the phone, not text, not email). Request a ride along—and follow through with it, whether they hire you or not. Meet the supervisors. Meet the admin. Shake hands. Act professional. Get your name out. 

At your ride along, act professional. Watch. Listen. Be helpful. This is more of a job interview than you realize. 


5) Lather. Rinse. Repeat. 

Do this for every service on your list, from top to bottom. 
Every one. 
All of them. 

Don't get discouraged. Expect 5, 10, or 20 "no"s before you get a "yes." Just because you didn't get a job at a particular service doesn't necessarily mean you are incompetent, a bad person, or unlikeable. 

When you reach the bottom of the list, start over. This keeps you in front of those who are making hiring decisions as hiring cycles come around. 

Not only will people start to know who you are, but you will gain insight into how various services operate and which services you prefer working with. 

You will show prospective employers that you have:

  • initiative
  • business savvy
  • professionalism
  • perseverence

Those are the traits top employers look for. 

Top employers are looking for good employees whether they are officially hiring or not. These steps can give you the best outlook on finding the right job for you.