1. #1
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    Default Steps to becoming a firefighter

    I am wondering what process one should take when switching careers and starting from scratch to become a firefighter. I am planning on going through a fire academy at my local community college as well as an emt-b course from an ambulance provider. Is this the right course of action? Should I be trying to volunteer at a fire department? I am 26 years old, have a bachelor's degree in teaching, and a very clean background and driving record. What are my chances of actually making it to a full-time paid firefighter. I want to thank anyone who would be willing to give me some advice or tips through this process.

    Aaron
    Last edited by dufrase; 05-10-2009 at 08:09 PM.

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    The FF and EMT-B classes are both good ideas. And yes, I would join a volunteer department. if there's one in your area, just for the simple fact that it will help you figure out if you actually want a career as a firefighter.

    Of course, it wouldn't hurt to apply to several career departments, even before you complete our training, especially if you're willing to move to another city/state for the job. You never know...

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    i have not really seen much about this on any thread relating to similar questions, to be honest didn't know much about them myself until now because i'm in one, but resident programs are an awesome way to go about a career.....the one i'm in, i get paid for a 3 month academy, then i get paid minimal pay to work a few shifts a month, get my fire science degree at the local community college, and live at the fire station for a very small rent...w/ the economy how it is (people being laid off and people not hiring) it is an awesome way of getting paid for the training and its all hands on training that you engulf yourself w/ learning about firefighting!

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    dufrase- First, what state are you in? I ask because you are going to get different answers that may not fit where you want to work.

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    CPR for professional rescuer
    EMT-B cert
    any fire training

    are all great. Some departments will hire you with zero experience, zero education/training, zero certs so long as your over 18 with a GED. Other departments require CPR and EMT, others require Fire I, FII and/or paramedic. Every department is different. If you gave a little more info on your location and where you're looking to work you'll get a better response. I strongly suggest you check out some departments where you're interested in working to see exactly what they require. I haven't come across a single FD that requires a Bachelor's degree, but it will help greatly when it comes to promotional points, which will benefit you. IMO Especially being 26, you're already a few years behind the majority of applicants (I'm right there with ya), but no where near any age restrictions. You'll be a great candidate once you get a few certs under your belt. In the meantime you can take some of the Incident Command Systems and NIMS classes online for free (ICS 100, 200, 700, and 800) are available online at the FEMA website.

    As far as joining a volunteer dept, any experience in the field will make you a better candidate.

    Be prepared to pass a written exam (similar to an SAT test which you should have no problem with if you have a degree), a physical agility test (start working out/cardio now if you're out of shape), and a medical, psychological and possible polygraph. You said you're background is clean, so you'll have no problem there.

    Good luck and welcome to a great career field.

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    Default More on the process...

    I am in Michigan. I was hoping to get in a department somewhere in the state and preferrably a larger city. What is the best way of finding the testing dates that certain departments might have? Also, should I go to some departments that I'm interested in and ask to apply for a position? Thanks for all the advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dufrase View Post
    I am in Michigan. I was hoping to get in a department somewhere in the state and preferrably a larger city. What is the best way of finding the testing dates that certain departments might have? Also, should I go to some departments that I'm interested in and ask to apply for a position? Thanks for all the advice.
    Donedeal broke it down pretty well. Go online and search jurisdiction by jurisdiction. Most counties/cities should have an employment section posting available jobs. Preferably, the main site will have a fire rescue link giving you contact #'s that you can use to get hiring process info. That's exactly what I did with CCEMS and Fairfax Co. FRD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by avers03 View Post
    i have not really seen much about this on any thread relating to similar questions, to be honest didn't know much about them myself until now because i'm in one, but resident programs are an awesome way to go about a career.....the one i'm in, i get paid for a 3 month academy, then i get paid minimal pay to work a few shifts a month, get my fire science degree at the local community college, and live at the fire station for a very small rent...w/ the economy how it is (people being laid off and people not hiring) it is an awesome way of getting paid for the training and its all hands on training that you engulf yourself w/ learning about firefighting!
    Where are you located and how did yu find out abut this program? Sounds great!! and congratulations

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