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Old 12-28-2012, 11:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Any Firefighters here?

I have been considering changing what direction I am going to go in college. I just cant handle any more of the normal classes. I have been considering changing my major and going for an Associate's degree in Municipal Fire Protection. I have heard that it is really hard to get hired on, but the degree definitely helps put you on top of others that have no degree. Anyone have any advice to give?

Also, there is a Volunteer FD about 15 min just north of me that is looking for some more volunteers? Would I benefit any from volunteering for them? Would I have to wait until I finished my firefighter classes at college or would they train me?


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Old 12-28-2012, 11:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Any Firefighters here?

Volunteering is a good idea. Especially if the department is active. SAR (Search and Rescue) may also be an option. Yes, it is hard to get hired on so be prepared to relocate to find work. Start gathering contacts in the industry while at school.

My brother in law is a retired firefighter, nephew works for the Cali Dept of Forestry as a firefighter and I am qualified Shipboard Firefighter.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not a fire fighter. A fellow Marine I work with is trying to become one though(we're reservists). He has his fire science degree I believe, along with being EMT certified. He's trying to get certed to become a paramedic next. He also a combat lifesaver cert from the Marine Corps. From what I gather that's the route most guys are taking to be competitive.

Best of luck to you. It's an awesome career.


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Old 12-28-2012, 12:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Any Firefighters here?

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Old 12-28-2012, 01:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Any Firefighters here?

Former FF/EMT. Take the classes, get the degree and yes most Reserve Dept.'s will train as you go. Any experience looks good later on when attempting to go full time/paid. Know going in that there is a lot of downtime. You have to shop, cook, clean, drill/train and live with each other 24 hours at a time. The first hiring process that I went through had 400 applicants for 1 opening and they came from all over, including out of state.

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Old 01-01-2013, 01:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Any Firefighters here?

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Old 01-01-2013, 06:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Look into Cobb county GA if you're interested. a lot of departments want you to already be an EMT or a certified FF but Cobb doesn't. I'm in a recruit class as we speak. It's very competitive to get hired on. Over 1500 people tested for my 34 person class but they're looking at a huge turnover with retirements and stuff so they're planning on back to back recruit classes for the next 4 years


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Old 01-01-2013, 09:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Any Firefighters here?

EMT certification and license is required by most departments. Continue your education, volunteer to get some ride-time, patient contact, and experience on the fireground. Keep hope and keep trying. It usually takes several years to get into a paid department. We are a fairly small (100 firefighters) and will usually get 200 applications for a handful of openings. Study for the entrance exam - we usually lose about 1/3 of the applicants with that test and more with the physical agility test. Prepare, study, keep in shape, and have patience. It will happen if you are focused and have the desire. Good luck.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Any Firefighters here?

AA degree in Fire Science/Protection/Mamagement, EMT and volunteer experience at a minimum. Our agency requires a minimum of EMT and 60 hours of college credit (AA degree usually meeets this standard) or equivilent active duty military. There are 4 year degree programs as well and of course EMT Intermediate or Paramedic help as well. We usually have 700-1000 applicants for a 50-70 person elgibility list good for the next 2-3 years, so it is competitive. Try and scedule some ride along time with local departments. This will give you a better idea of the job and also help you understand the culture and the job demands, Most departments allow some ride alongs. Good Luck from somebody with almost 40 years in the service, 35 years paid and now a mucky muck oldtimer. you will need to relocate so think as well about where you want to live for the next 30 years cause the fire service is usually a career and 30 years at the same place is pretty common. Find the department and the locations where you are happy and you will have a fantastic career in a great profession. Good Luck!
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Any Firefighters here?

It really depends where you want to end up, as in what dept, state, municipality. I am not familiar on your location but some states/depts. require that you have all of your education in advance before employment. Other states/depts. will hire you then you will go through their program and get paid why you do. For example, if you wanted to work for Houston TX. Charlotte NC, Boston MA, FDNY, etc you are hired first. I live in Florida and there are no depts. like that in this state. I have been a professional Firefighter/Paramedic for 15 years and I had to pay and train before I was hired. Then when you are eventually hired that dept. trains you on their SOP's. The depts. where you are hired first then put through training is more old school, traditional style that was started in the old city north eastern depts. I will say paying for fire standards, EMT, Paramedic, etc can get very expensive and to what was mentioned earlier by above forum members it is very, very, completive. As long as you have the heart and drive of wanting to help people go for it. If I could start all over again I would look across the county and apply to those depts. that hire you first and go through their training. Hope this helps. Good luck and stay safe.
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