I wish you all the best Deuceswild1. I became an EMT in 2009 with the goal of becoming a firefighter as a second career as I was under 30 at the time. My plan was to get my experience as an EMT, become a volunteer with the fire service, go to medic school, and get into a fire department here in California. As I got into the field and met and talked to others with similar goals and direction, I quickly discovered the potential challenges with that path. For one, in California, the fire department is extremely, highly competitive. I heard plenty of stories about individuals that did everything right, became medics, paid $1000's for fire science courses and academies, yet were never picked up by a department. Many end up as medics on a private ambulance making $16/hr. after a decade of dedication or so with limited options for advancement. Anything is possible, yet I didn't like the idea of gambling with my career and livelihood. At the time, I thought I had everything going for me, I knew the fire chief for a large department, I had friends that were firefighters and an uncle that was retired and well-known with the Orange County department. Turns out none of this could even help me become a volunteer with a major department, as even that level was highly competitive at the time with individuals showing up with AA degrees in fire science and multiple fire academy certificates and experience.
At the same time I was working nights as an EMT on an ambulance and was in and out of emergency rooms. I truly had no real idea of what nursing was all about until I was in that environment. There, I truly discovered nursing for the first time. Perhaps I was also somewhat ignorant prior to this as well, as I never really considered nursing as a male career, never having spent much time in a hospital, but there in the ER in some locations half of the nurses were male. It was then that I truly considered nursing as a viable career. Researching the profession, I saw nursing as a definite career path. You get the education and credentials, you get the job. It was a sure thing with no great risk of not making it due to outside factors or luck or whatever. Not to mention the pay in most areas is great, it is also a career that like the fire department delivers a lot of personal satisfaction, and also offers a lot of flexibility in scheduling as well as mobility. What's not to like?
In any case, I just graduated with my BSN about 2 weeks ago and passed the NCLEX last week, and I couldn't be happier with my choice. Now to find a job... I hope my experience gives you some insight in choosing your path. Best of luck in determining you future!