Jason has been an instructor with Emergency Care Programs for a very long time and is happy to share his EMT history with our students. Let us know if you have any questions for Jason :)

When did you decide you want to become an EMT?
I decided to become an EMT in 1992. It was kind of a "second" career for me. I was originally an electronics/camera salesman.

What 1 event (good/bad/ugly) in life factored into your decision to save lives and become an EMT?
No real one event factored into my decision to become an EMT. Another salesman I worked with told me he was taking the class and said I should take it with him, so I did. The rest is history lol.

Did you volunteer / intern as an EMT before you made it your career?
I actually was volunteering as soon as I was cpr certified which took place in the very beginning of the EMT class. I started off learning how to dispatch and in a few weeks, I was riding on the ambulance with my cpr certification, assisting the EMT's on the ambulance. Once class ended, I took the EMT exam with on-site scoring on a Thursday night, which I passed. I went to a private ambulance company the next day to apply for a job. The following Sunday night I received a phone call from that company asking if I can report to work the next morning (Monday) I was lucky, I had a full time EMT position within 3 days of taking my state exam.

Tell me the best way to find an EMT job?
Most of the private ambulance companies have a pretty high turn over rate, so that's probably a good place to start. After working at the "privates" for a few months or longer, I recommend applying for FDNY and hospital based 911 ambulance positions

What is your Level of Certification? EMT/Paramedic/Lab Instructor/Lead Instructor
I am a paramedic, and a CIC.

How challenging is it being an EMT?
Being an EMT has many different challenges. Everything from making split second, potentially life-saving decisions, to an adrenaline rush responding to a "hot" call. There are also many times where things can get quite mundane like treating a patient for minor bruise or a head cold. This job will expose a person to different cultures, standards of living and let you see "what goes on behind closed doors"

How do you keep sharp in your own skills?
I don't have a problem keeping my skills sharp, since I am an instructor and also work as a supervisor at a private ambulance company.

How is your family life affected – are they supportive of your job?
My wife isn't always happy with the hours I work, but she understands that I don't work a Mon-Fri 9-5 job. My kids (ages 8 and 14) love it and are always asking me if anything interesting happened during my day.

What is your most inspirational "save"?
I have had several pre-hospital "saves" over my career. One that stands out the most was at a concert I was working. An elderly woman and her daughter were sitting in the front row and waiting for the show to start. Her daughter decided she wanted to take a "selfie" with her mom with the stage in the background. As she was about to take the picture, her mom suddenly collapsed onto the floor of the arena beside her. An EMT we had stationed next to the stage was summoned and immediately began cpr. I as a paramedic was stationed upstairs in our main first aid office. I responded, along with my partner to the scene. We continued cpr with the EMT while placing the patient on a stretcher and began ALS care for her. We started an IV, gave medications and defibrillated the patient. She regained a pulse while in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Approximately 2 weeks later she was discharged and walked out of the hospital.

What was your greatest "loss" on the job and how did it affect you?
No one likes dealing with children. Unfortunately I have been on several calls involving children. One of my earliest calls of my career involved a 12 year old boy who was having a severe asthma attack and passed out in the lobby right in front of the apartment he lived in with his family. We did CPR and performed other life saving measures, but he did not survive.

How's the comradery on the job with your fellow EMTs?
Working with other EMT's and paramedics is interesting to say the least. Most have a good sense of humor and joke around when the time is right. I think this is kind of a coping mechanism to help deal with the sadder aspects of the job. Most everyone knows when it's time to be serious though.

What advice can you give others who want to become an EMT?
Like I tell my new students on the first day of class, being an EMT isn't the most financially rewarding job one can have, but it is definitely one of the most gratifying jobs you can have.

What advice can you give others who want to become an EMT?
Like I tell my new students on the first day of class, being an EMT isn't the most financially rewarding job one can have, but it is definitely one of the most gratifying jobs you can have.

Why do you enjoy teaching your students?
I enjoy teaching because I can combine the course materials with some of my real life experiences. In addition, I like answering questions from students and explaining the "why's and how's" of being an EMT.

How do you encourage others to follow this career path?
By telling them it's not a difficult job most of the time, but there are times when you will be called upon to help another person while everyone else is just standing around wondering what to do next. It's a great feeling to have helped someone who is sick or injured and especially a great feeling knowing you just saved someone's life. I also encourage them to choose a career path based on teaching EMT's if they feel they have gotten tired of being on an ambulance all the time and want to try something a little different but related to being an EMT.

Words of wisdom for our students / future-EMT's?
I got through my original EMT course and my paramedic course by looking at those who were already in the profession and saying to myself "if he/she can do it, so can I" It takes time, dedication, determination, and a willingness to learn new things to become an EMT. Like I mentioned earlier, you will not become moniterally rich from working as an EMT, but it will definitely reward you spiritually.