Do federal firefighters get hired without veteran's preference or is the competition so tight that only the individuals with all the certs and the 5 point previous military service get hired. Am I wasting my time if I can't claim veteran's points or previous federal employment?
Getting federal firefighter employment is a little harder now than it was 5 years ago. Thats due to federal regulations requiring all applicants for higher-grade positions to already be certified with DoD certs (IFSAC/Pro-Board.) The only way around this is to get hired as a trainee, and obtain certs while on the job. The only drawback to this is that you must serve certain amounts of time-in-grade before you can bump up in pay levels. So if you want to get hired as a trainee and run out and get your certs right away, it still wont work.
As for the vets points and competition, it all depends on what geographic region of the country you are in. Right now it's tough for applicants in the mid-atlantic states due to so many facilities closing and/or downsizing the fire departments- guys are getting RIF'ffed (reduction in force, translation LAID OFF) left and right. When you get RIF'fed, you get priority placement into open positions elsewhere, knocking out potential applicants off the street.
If dont have Vets points, but you DO have the following IFSAC/Pro-Board Certs, you are certainly NOT wasting your time and will do better than those that do NOT have the certs, including vets that do not have them!!!
-Officer I, Inspector I
-Driver/Operator Pumpers/Aerials/ARFF (if applying at an airfield)
-Haz-Mat Operations (preferably TECH)