Posted on Oct 11, 2018
SPC Indirect Fire Infantryman (Mortarman)
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I leave the army in 12 months and Im having trouble deciding on a solid plan. Ive always wanted to be a fireman and where I live (MA) is a great place to be a fireman, many make up to $100k plus, with hard work of course. I want to know if the firefighter life is a great one or use my gi bill to go to a six year college program for a masters in physician assistant studies. I have also had an interest in being one and have heard many people loving it. I really just need some help deciding thank you. Plus: after that college program I would be 29, is that too late to start working as a PA?
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SFC Retention Operations Nco
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Let me give you some real career advice here that is given with candor and honesty.

You do not know what it is you want to do. Physician assistant and firefighter are far different ends of the spectrum who attract completely different types of people. By your question, I can tell that you haven't done nearly enough research on both paths.
With just 12 months left in the Army, you do not have enough time to research, decide, plan, and save enough for a successful and smooth transition. I highly suggest that you reenlist for two years. That will give you one more year to research and plan, and then another year to save and apply to the program of your choice.

Your GI Bill will not cover 6 years of college education. A better choice is 2 earn your Associates before you leave the army, or attend a community college and pay out of pocket. Then utilize your GI Bill to pay for 2 years of University and part of your masters for PA program. Your GI Bill will not cover all of the expenses for the PA program, but depending on the program you choose it will cover a portion of it. Money will be a big issue through the whole process because even though tuition is paid, you will only be getting about 1500 a month or so for the housing allowance. That means you will have to work your way through Community College and pay out of pocket, and work your way through the master's program to cover the tuition Gap from your GI Bill. There are scholarships available as well as tuition assistance from certain National Guard programs that you should look into.
If you are really serious about the PA program, there are some excellent active duty and Reserve programs that will allow you to become a PA.
I don't know anything about being a firefighter, so I can't comment on that.

Don't become a statistic. More than half the veterans who separate from the Army and begin College, never finish their bachelor's.
Give yourself plenty of time to prepare and plan. Don't be in a rush to run out of the army because you don't like the job. Use the army to set yourself up for the future.
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SPC Indirect Fire Infantryman (Mortarman)
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Thanks you, great advice!
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SPC James Neidig
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A friend of mine is a firefighter in Beverly MA he pulls in $150,000 plus a year but the choice is up to you he does work a lot but he gets great benefits too
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SPC Indirect Fire Infantryman (Mortarman)
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3 y
Lol yes, exactly. Thats where I live.
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SPC James Neidig
SPC James Neidig
3 y
The choice is yours ? but he loves it , outside most of the time and saving lives
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SrA John Monette
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I would go the PA route. less stress. better hours. I would rather see a 29 year old PA than an MD who doesn't look old enough to shave or be out past 8pm
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MAJ Battalion Executive Officer
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3 y
You do know that PA’s are routinely younger than a full-fledged doctor, right? PA school is only 6 years in total, whereas medical school is 8 years plus a 3-7 year residency. So the math will tell you that a PA can be as young as 24 and a Family Practice Doctor would be (at a minimum) 29....
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