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  1. #1
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    Default What's the next step?

    Hi all. Thanks for taking the time to read this and give me a little advice.

    I'm currently 18 years old, graduated high school, and am just starting my second semester at a local community college after which I will be (W)EMT-B certified and have completed Fire Technology 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, and 121. My grades are high (last semester I had three A's and one B+) and I'm motivated and hard working. I've also been working to pay for this sort of stuff.

    My issue is, I'm probably going to go to four year university rather than straight to a basic fire academy and I want to know if you were in charge of hiring for a fire department what would you also like to see on my resume besides my education and training?

    To be honest I'm a little worried that going to four-year university might throw a wrench in my plans to become a full time firefighter. I see a lot of people working hard going through the academy and getting hired (even though I also hear about a lot of brownouts and hiring freezes). What should my next step be? Is a four year degree a good idea? And if it is what opportunities would you suggest I look into while I'm there (I've been searching around for seasonal wildland firefighter jobs, volunteer search and rescue teams, campus EMT jobs, etc. etc.)?


  2. #2
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    More Info:

    My planned major is Political Science with a Public Service emphasis because it requires an internship with a local level government before graduation and I thought it would be the most fire service relevant besides an actual Fire Science BS (which I could not find at any of the schools I've applied to).

    Also I am in increasingly good shape (currently training for a race with my coworkers). I work for an outdoor sporting goods company and climb, backpack, and run frequently. However I'm a little on the lean side because of all the running.

    I guess I'm just looking for general advice from people who've been through this whole process before.

  3. #3
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    From my experience with the whole process was a college degree didnt matter. I went to college for 4 years and it didnt help or hurt me in the process. You will take a written test and a physical and then they will rank you on how you did on both. After that if you advance they will set up a interview. Both interviews I had you just answered questions and you were not allowed to give them a resume. That is how it was done for both departments I was trying to get on with. It might be different for the deparment near you. I know if you went ahead and got your paramedic stuff done that would help you out.

    But I would say still get a degree. You can always fall back on that.
    Last edited by irish2454; 01-26-2010 at 08:06 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default

    There are plenty of firefighters out there without a degree. However, there are many benefits (and these are not always 100% true, but usually are):
    - obviously the eduction (and thought process, etc) that comes with a degree
    - the maturity/life experience between an 18 year old and a 22/23 year old is usually great (this will be beneficial in the oral interview)
    - you'll have more time to prepare
    - hopefully, in 3-4 years the economy will be better and your chances will be better
    - time to establish a solid credit history
    - time to establish a good work/volunteer history
    - many departments pay an incentive for having a bachelors (sometimes thousands of dollars)
    - many depts require a degree for senior officer position (often a masters or executive fire officer) - this will get you well on your
    - major isn't really important - you'll get the foundation of fire stuff you need in the academy

    In the mean time, keep yourself physically fit. You don't need to be a muscle head. In fact, great cardio and muscular endurance will do better for you than strictly being strong. Keep steady employment, great credit, great driving history, etc. Look into requirements of the area you want to work when you're done with college. If they require you to have completed training before you apply, see if you can fit any of that training into your schedule (fire academy would fit during the summer - might be able to do EMT as an elective). A lot of depts will make you go through their training regardless, so check first. If your schedule allows, look into a volunteer fire dept in your area. Read some books about the exam processes in your area so you'll know what to expect. Take a public speaking/speech class - that confidence will help you during the interviews. Good luck!

  5. #5
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    Default

    Thanks. The economy was a big factor. I mean some people seem to still get hired, but now that I look at the big picture beyond individuals hiring is really tight right now in my area. For the most part frozen.

    Thanks for the input.

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