1. #1
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    Default Need some career advice

    I am:

    - 20 years old.
    - Have an associates in Fire Science.
    - Passed my NREMT and am now a certified EMT-B.

    I am kind of stuck, I feel like I am off to a good start in regards to eventually getting on a department. But, there are literally no jobs out there right now. A lot of departments in my area (chicago burbs) have a 21 years old age requirement or paramedic requirement.

    I have applied at a few local private ambulances and none seem to be hiring at the moment.

    I don't really know where to go from here. I plan on applying to Paramedic school when those applications open, but it's going to be tough to get into a paramedic school without any experience.

    I enjoy school and have a strong GPA (3.7ish) and wouldn't mind transferring to a 4-year, but I've noticed very few schools have a masters program regarding Fire Science.

    Is my best bet to just go to a University and obtain a bachelors in something not related to the fire service? I'm not sure.

    Any advice would be appreciated, thank you.

  2. #2

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    Sep 2009
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    You can fight fires and make a good living without working for a fire department.

    How? Laying out fire sprinkler systems which is a job few know even exists and most would be shocked to learn there's a severe shortage of qualified people even now.

    I've been working on a site wanting to go into detail on fire sprinkler hydraulics and hydrant flow testing but I got off track when I realized I am eligible for retirement in five years and there's nobody to replace me. There's a ton of jobs paying anywhere from $30k (entry level) to $80k going begging right now.

    I am working on the calculation and flow testing but you might find the other parts informative.

    http://www.sprinklercareer.freewebsitehosting.com/

  3. #3
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    Default

    Be patient or expand your search areas to departments that have a hiring age between 18-21

  4. #4
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    Default

    Yes, you are off to a GREAT start. You will find very few of your competition has an AA degree. If I had to do it all over again (I got hired at 20 and am now 45), I would have gone to college and earned a Bachelors degree. As it is now, I returned to school at 39 and now have a Bachelors and am getting close to a Masters. It's much harder to do when you are married with kids and the responsibilities that come with life.

    You said it well: not too many people are hiring. It might be a great time to go back and earn your Bachelors. By the time you are finished the economy will have loosened up and departments will be hiring. Not to mention you will be old enough to take the test and you will have a Bachelors degree which will put you a step ahead of the competition.

    If you want to get your EMT experience and go to Paramedic school, you need to regularly visit the ambulance companies and let them know you are interested. Don't become a pest, but be persistent.
    Whichever way you choose to go, you are off to a great start. Do not ose your momentum!
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    WWW.aspiringfirefighters.com

  5. #5
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    Be patient. The economy is in the toilet right now, but hiring will happen again. Continuing with your education, and trying to get a related job in the mean time, are good ideas. You'll get it.
    "Let me go Bull!, You go...we go!"

  6. #6
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    Talking Good Luck

    Keep going to school, get on a vol or paid on call department, stay out of debt, and keep searching. If there is a BS degree program in your area, look into it. I would stay away from an online degree at this point, the online stuff just sounds like you are trying to take the easy way through life.

    Also, after every interview, write down the questions they asked you as well as your answers. Maybe type them out. Look over these questions and answers before every interview and ask yourself if you gave the best possible answer.

    If you are looking for some extra certs that wont cost you a dime, look at getting as many ICS NIMS courses as you can. They are free, and at least they will show that you are continuing to better yourself.

    Good Luck
    "Courage isn't that you can see what lies ahead; courage means you will advance not knowing but doing at all costs."
    Byron Pulsifer

  7. #7
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    Default

    Dont know if I missed it, but did anyone mention working on an ambulance to get some EMS street experience?

  8. #8
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    I was in the same boat as you about 7 years ago. Applied to local departments and then broaden my search first by an hour drive, then by two and again to 3 and 4 hours with no luck. Sure I got phone calls and went to interviews and it just seemed I was missing something. But there are doors you can still try. You mention the college route, Alabama and Florida both offers BA and I believe Master in Fire Science. With the economy being down now is the best time to stick with school in your case. Get the BA or Master there is all sorts of grants and loans you can do to keep you a float. Your young and like the early post its a lot harder to do it with wife, kids and life in general. Patienceís is virtue you my friend. Don't feel like you have to be hired by a certain date or within a time line.

    But if you are like me and have to have a "general time line" you may want to look into what I did. Seven years ago almost to this date I was finishing up my degree, and started applying to the City Fire Department. First I was too young, then when I was 21, I need more experience or need more classes. Joined a Volunteer/Paid Department, went and got my EMT and more training. As the months went by, I started applying further and further out until I was basically three states out. I was getting the interviews and was killing the written and physical test but just wasn't making the cut. So year and half after I graduated and I was passed up for my 3rd rookie school at City Fire Department I ran into Air Force Recruiter at the local firemen/cop hang out bar. We actually knew the guy for almost a year and said he was cop and we didn't ask and didnít say much more than that. But he was an Air Force Security Forces and was on special order as a recruiter. Push came to shove 4 months later I ended up in his office with all the information I could take in about firefighting in the military. Seven months later I was off to boot camp, a 13 week firefighting school then got orders Vandenberg AFB, Cali. Where I served 4 years active duty, were I spent my time fighting wildland, structural and aircraft fires. (not to mislead you I only had 2 structural fires and 3 aircraft in-flight emergencies.) Non the less, I got tons training on aircraft, missiles, structural, and all the wildland I could handle. Not bad for some kid from the hills of Tennessee. I also became Engineer, certified Dispatcher, spent some time on hotshot crew, learned to surf, ski, snowboard, play hockey and had the pleasure of serving in Iraqi with FDNY Firefighter that were at 9/11. Became Instructor at local college firefighter school and while deployed overseas taught over 400 Iraqi civilian how to do what we do.
    Sounds like a lot, and it does have its ups and downs. And by no means am Iím saying you'll have the exact same experience as I did or anything close to it. Itís all about what doors you open, which one you walk through and what you do with your time.
    My last year and half in the military, I spent working on my application, and perfecting and applied just about everywhere, about 11 months out from my reenlistment date. (By that time I had gotten out of that idea I have to find a job close to home. I learn that life does exist west of the Mississippi River.) I applied to 28 jobs all over the US, and before I took the job that I'm at now, I had 19 interviews with 11 job offers to choose from. After I took this job I was offered position at 3 other places and requested for 6 more interviews.

    Hope that this gives you another window to look into that you may not know about.

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