Pertinent experience?

How important is your work or volunteer experience? More or less for a non-traditional student?

My “day job”, the one that pays the bills, is basically in a technology related (IT) field, nothing to do with health care at all. I also am a volunteer firefighter (soon to be EMT) with my local FD. We have an ambulance service so I end up going on a lot of medic runs with the paramedics, doing very basic stuff on patients before we transport to the hospital.

How important will this type of experience be to an admissions committee? Like I said I will be an EMT by December (it’s a requirement of my firefighting job). I’m also getting some pressure to consider going to paramedic school, but that’s a lot more intensive than EMT and lots of clinical hours.

Would I be any better off, admissions-wise, doing the paramedic? Or will actual clinical experience as an EMT be “good enough”? I suppose the extra training couldn’t hurt, but it would effectively put my pre-med coursework on hold for probably 1-1.5 years.

Any insight would be appreciated!

Hi dfmcleod,

Like you my day job is not health related. I’m in the finance world. So as far as a day job is concerned I don’t really know how important the specific job is but it is important to get a letter of recommendation from your direct report. The adcoms would want to see how responsible and productive you are at your current job etc…

The volunteering is very important, you’ll need at least 200 hours. I don’t know much about how favorable being an EMT is for adcoms. I’m sure it can’t hurt. For me, I start next week volunteering 5 hours a week for a non-profit medical clinic and I’m also shadowing an orthopaedic surgeon.

At the same time I’m also studying for the mcat and retaking an undergrad course. Its a lot of work but it is manageable.

I don’t think you necessarily need to become a paramedic and push things back a few years, I would say just supplement what you are doing with some other clinical volunteer experience.

All the best!