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  1. #1
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    Default Coast Guard Reserve Officer?

    Okay so here's my situation.I'm in my late 20's and I have all kinds of qualifications that i feel would make me an excellent Firefighter candidate. I'm fit, Educated: Bachelor's in Science, Post-Baccleaurate teaching Credential, AA Public Fire Service, FF1 Fire Academy, EMT, Haz mat fro, and has volunteered for a department for 2+ years, ETC,ETC,ETC.
    I have been placed on a few eliglible lists for departments, but there is no guarantee the call will come to start the tower. Im in Orange County and it seems to be deadlocked as far as hiring goes. I cant even find a apprentice or paid reserve position within 150 miles. Teaching positions are hard to find right now as well with tons of teachers being pinkslipped across the state. I have considered Medic School, but being a student the last 6 + years I have already acquired enough student loans. At this point, I'm considering a reserve officer position in the Coast Guard. My thoughts are that it would keep me close to home and in the testing process. Does anyone have any insight as to whether this is a good path to take?


  2. #2
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    Will it help pay the bills? A little... you'll probably make about $400/drill weekend. Will it help getting you hired? It will give you another feather in your hat. The military can provide a lot of people leadership skills and the ability to speak well in front of others, which is very useful in the oral interview. Southern California is a very desirable place to live, but also one of the most competitive to get hired. I saw somewhere there are as many as 1,000 applicants for each opening. I'd work on making sure that you will nail your oral interview so you'll place at the top of the list.

    Have you thought about relocating? There are many areas of the country that are still hiring, although slowly. But remember that the military is not for everyone. Make sure it's something you're okay with and that you're okay with the probably of being deployed.

  3. #3
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    First of all you need to start applying for jobs all over the US. As far as some of you certs, and degrees, it is what you put on the paper or in other word how well you do on the entrence test and other tests that gets you hired. All the certs and degrees have their place but don't mean much until you get hired and then most larger departments they still don't as they will train and certify you their way.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  4. #4
    Forum Member Theaxemancometh's Avatar
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    Yep Captain "OT" is right! And i hope you're not putting all your eggs in one basket. I began my firefighting career in the "OC". It's a great place to live and a great place to work...BUT, there are scores of fire departments out there like "zzyyzx" said and what I've seen is a tendency for young Jedi's like yourself to try and keep it close to the "homefront". I'm not pointing fingers, I'm just saying...it happens. So.....go east, go west, go south or north. I had to learn the hard way at first and it took an abalone knife to pry my a*s outta the OC!! Hit the road!!

    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields Power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dshough View Post
    Okay so here's my situation.I'm in my late 20's and I have all kinds of qualifications that i feel would make me an excellent Firefighter candidate. I'm fit, Educated: Bachelor's in Science, Post-Baccleaurate teaching Credential, AA Public Fire Service, FF1 Fire Academy, EMT, Haz mat fro, and has volunteered for a department for 2+ years, ETC,ETC,ETC.
    Does anyone have any insight as to whether this is a good path to take?
    I see this all to often where candidates tell me they have hit a wall and don't know what to do next. You're with the army of up to 800 candidates chasing each regular firefighter position out there with every degree, education, volly experience and merit badge you can think of.

    I was in the reserves and do not think it's a path for you to gain your badge. If you had the afinity and ability of becoming a medic at some point where you took that fork in the road to education or medic we probably wouldn't be reading your posting now.

    Adding on more student loans to go to medic school? Fire/medics in my town are making 140K a year. Granted with lots of OT. But they're making it.

    Ask yourself who is getting the badges? The vast majority of candidates we see get hired do not have advanced degrees. They're more in the line of EMT, FF1 academy, working on or have an AA or AS degree or medics. Some have no fire education or experience.

    Their biggest asset was they leaned how to take a firefighter oral board interview which is like not other and critical no matter what your credentials. Yea, you're making the lists but not making the cut to go forward in the hiring process. You're probaly closer than you think. Instead of chasing another rabbit down a hole by adding on more credentials and a reserve program, consider improving your oral board skills. If you don't nothing is going to change. You will still be the bridesmaid never the bride.

    First leave no doubt that I believe in education. If you want to get a Public Administration, Engineering or any other degree as a career track, great.

    Don’t think it will be the key to get into the fire service to ride big red. As OT wrote above we hire candidates not credentials on resumes.

    But where are you going to get the most bang for your buck? We have enough chiefs. We need more Indians.

    Everyone has an opinion, there are exceptions more than one road to a badge and there are no guarantees in life which ever path you take. Education will never hurt you.

    If you really want to get a firefighter job consider these points:

    Is there a requirement for an advanced degree to get a firefighter job?

    Answer: It’s rare to see departments require an AA or an advanced degree to apply.

    Where are 80% of the job offerings?

    Answer: Fire/medics

    There are up to 800 candidates chasing each firefighter job. How many are chasing a fire/medic job?

    Answer: 12-20. Which odds do you like better?

    What’s the time-line?

    The path to become a medic is about 1-2 years with gaining some savvy street time. If you can get in an academy in that time period it will be convincing evidence that you have the hands-on experience that a department can take a risk on you.

    Yes, having a degree will help with promotions but you have to get the J-O-B first. How long will it be before you will qualify to take a promotional exam?

    Answer: Engineer depending on the agency 3 plus years. An officer? Five or more years. So if you get on you could obtain the necessary education before your first promotional test to be in position.
    Last edited by CaptBob; 05-31-2010 at 12:21 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theaxemancometh View Post
    Yep Captain "OT" is right! And i hope you're not putting all your eggs in one basket. I began my firefighting career in the "OC". It's a great place to live and a great place to work...BUT, there are scores of fire departments out there like "zzyyzx" said and what I've seen is a tendency for young Jedi's like yourself to try and keep it close to the "homefront". I'm not pointing fingers, I'm just saying...it happens. So.....go east, go west, go south or north. I had to learn the hard way at first and it took an abalone knife to pry my a*s outta the OC!! Hit the road!!

    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields Power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"
    Test, test, test!

    As Axeman pointed out I would also encourage you to broaden your horizons to also test elsewhere. The more tests you take the better you get at taking tests. Then when you test for the department you really want to work for you will be up to speed, ahead of the curve and not be stumped by a question you've never heard before.

    Life Can be Plan B

    Jon and his 9-fire technology academy buddies set out to target six departments in the northwest they wanted to work for. Their plan A would cultivate these departments and be in a position when they tested. After almost two years no one got hired or was high enough to be considered. Then Jon read a section of this web site that encouraged candidates to test wherever they could get to.

    This made sense to Jon especially when he figured out that he was only able to take around two tests a year. Like hands on academy and education skills if you donít use your oral board skills you will get rusty faster than trying to throw a 35í wood ladder or laying a line when you havenít donít it for awhile.

    This is not taking into consideration that departments donít always test every two years, switch to medics only or hire only laterals.

    So, non-medic Jon tried to convince his 9 buddies to expand their horizons and establish plan B to test any and every where they could to keep their oral board skills at the cutting edge. None of his buddies were interested because they believed that because of their academy training and education and how they were laying the ground work, it would only be a matter of time before one of the six departments on plan A would pay off.

    In a short time non-medic Jon found out the more tests he took the better he got at taking tests. His oral board scores started climbing and he was getting called back for chiefís interviews. Then BINGO! Jon gets a job offer from THE PREMIUM fire department in the southwest (yea, that one). As he was packing to leave he offered his experiences that helped him get hired to his buddies. He was surprised they werenít interested. Didnít need it. They were still banking on plan A.

    Itís now 3 years later and Jonís dream department, THE PREMIUM department in the state of Washington (yep, thatís the one), announces their test. Guess what? Jon gets a job offer and gets to go home with his new bride, also from Washington.

    Again he offers to share his experiences with his buddies. He is shocked again when they said they donít need it. So, how many of his 9 buddies were hired during this period of time? None, zip, nada.

    Sometimes life can be plan B.
    ______________________________ _______________

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  7. #7
    Forum Member Theaxemancometh's Avatar
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    Well stated Captain Bob...Bravo!!

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