Hello. I am 24 years old and looking into a career in firefighting. I would like to attend a local college for Fire Science, but before I pursue anything I wanted to ask you guys if some medical history would hinder me ever being in contention for a position. I have been on medication for depression two times in the past. When I was 18 I was on Lexapro for about 10 months and then again at age 22 tried Zoloft for a year on and off. The fact is that it's on my medical history means any department would be able to find that since my insurance covered it. I am just concerned over a situation in which my application/resume is at the bottom of the pile because there are 100 other guys without a medication past like mine who are just as equally qualified. I totally understand this of course. What do you guys think my options are? Thanks in advance.
Yo JT! I don't have a definitive answer for you on this one, BUT, I think the answer really depends on you! Let me tell you why: I've seen and talked to others that have had similar histories and generally, if the you've been treated, re-evaluated and diagnosed as someone who no longer suffers from depression, this medical condition can be explained away. If you can track the depression back to some unforseeable event, or perhaps a death in the family of someone close, then these situations can be explained with a great amount of clarity and candidness. It's imperative to be honest about your background and completely transparent. But again, on an oral, framed correctly, what ever your experience was could be an opportunity to be used for a strategic advantage.
The main thing is that if you are still being treated and are receiving therapy, complete that therapy! Get well! I mean..I'm no PhD, but you need to get some closure on these issues and put distance between "IT" and your dream of becoming a firefighter. You're still young and have plenty of time. I'd even venture to say that if you started doing a little personal development (like enrolling in those fire science classes) and working toward your goals; these things "may" go a long way to replacing depression with making an "Impression!"
"Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields Power and Dominion IN ACTION!"
It will be a concern in your medical/psyc exam. FF/EMS involves a lot of stressful and traumatic situations that often take their toll on people (imagine having a young child die in your arms after being burned in a fire... I know it's graphic, but it makes the point). They dept wants to make sure you'll be able to handle the job and it won't destroy you with what you'll see.
I would guess your chances at getting hired with a large dept (OCFA, LACO, LAFD, CFD, FDNY, etc) would be limited at best. But there may be some smaller suburban/rural depts that would consider your health risks with proper examinations. It all depends on the area you want to work in.