Wasn't quite sure where this should go I figured this would be a good place.

Some background info: I'm 24 years old and I soon hope to be joining a local FD part time (I start EMT-B classes in January, I've also got a friend on the department who assures me I'm in). Currently I work as a mechanical engineer, the money is good but I'm bored out of my mind. I'm seriously considering applying to a full time department with the hope of reaching Lt. in a timely fashion (I live in NE Ohio, there are a few good sized departments around).

I have some questions regarding this:
1. Will the time at the part time job help carry over to another department?
2. What should my expectations be for reaching Lt.?
3. My current salary is $50k, my wife and I could afford to take a hit here but how hard would it be to make that as a firefighter full time, with maybe a part time job at another station.
4. Anyone in Ohio; how hard is it to get onto full time departments in this area?
5. Is waiting until I'm 26-28 waiting to long to join full time?

For anyone who is questioning whether or not I'm in this for money I'm not. My wife has already said my happiness comes first, however her standard of living is very important to me. I have also made a promise to both of us that I plan to do an extensive remodel of our house in two years, so if I'm work 80+ hrs a week I'd have no time to do that.