06-20-2010, 12:55 AM #1
Questions about becoming a firefighter...
I'll start off by saying I recently finished my associates degree in web development, however I have come to realize I really do not like this style of work and the unstable job market of having month long contract jobs and going several months looking for the next job...
I've always had becoming a firefighter in the back of my mind and I think maybe that is the path I should go ahead and try walking.
I was thinking about going back to my technical school and getting certified (link to description) but I had a few questions if you guys could help me out.
1. I was curious as to what the grooming policy is for males? I know that facial hair is a hazard because of the fit test. But what about the hair on my head? I am a locksoflove supporter and donate regularly, I wouldn't be opposed to cutting it though, or wearing it back/up, I keep it really neat and clean so I can donate it. Would it just hurt my chances in an interview? Just curious...
2. How difficult is it to break into a firefighter career as someone with no prior experience but a certification? Is the market flooded with firefighters that are out of work or getting laid off?
3. What has been your overall experience with this career path? Pros and cons? Would you pick a different career if you had a choice to start over again?
Thanks for any responses.
PS: I would be looking for work around Georgia in case that is some info needed for the questions.
06-20-2010, 01:35 AM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
if you take a look around the forum, youll find every answer to your questions. but ill do a quick answer:
1. hurt your chances? not unless you're rocking dreads. FDs love dreads.
2. very difficult for anyone.
3. you're on a firefighting forum. a) people dont just go 'i guess my last resort is to be a firefighter' it takes a long time. b) you dont join forums your not passionate about. are you on web development forums?
not tryin to be an a**
Last edited by legos.8ty7; 06-20-2010 at 01:38 AM.
06-20-2010, 08:31 AM #3
You need to understand (especially as you have no experience in firefighting, and it sounds like you have never been exposed to the fire service before) that competition for jobs is absolutely cut-throat. Imagine ancient roman gladiators battling in the Coliseum for their lives. I think the average for every one position open, there is something like 90 to 120 candidates, depending on the geographic region the job is in. Many of these candidates have Veterans Preference, which is why I encourage you to consider the Military. I am not trying to discourage you, but you should prepare yourself for a long, hard road."Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."
06-20-2010, 11:22 AM #4
As FWD has said, I would start looking for jobs across the US and apply for those whose pay is something that is functional for you. You AS in web development won't mean squat in getting a job except it may help when the interviewers look at you, providing you get to that stage.
Most departments in this area, VA TO PA don't care how much certification you may process. If you get hired they will teach you what you need to know and certify you .Stay Safe and Well Out There....
Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers
06-20-2010, 12:29 PM #5
Thanks for the responses and advice guys.
Thanks especially to FWD for being blunt and honest with me. It does sound very difficult but it doesn't discourage me, I have an idea as to which direction I should go in order to prepare now.
06-21-2010, 08:20 PM #6
First I need to say, I work on the west coast and dreads (especially at the
entry level) are somewhat frowned upon. The caveat would be that they have to be extremely short, well maintained and neat. (No rasta look!) Every fire department has a grooming standard. You need to research this earnestly and determine what is allowed. My best friend is a Captain in DeKalb County, Ga. Many of the departments on the east coast and in the deep south, "appear" to have more relaxed standards on hairstyles. This is because of some case litigation the past several years that has resulted in departments being sued. Now knowing that, would I use this to my advantage to sweat a potential employer to get a job! A resounding H*LL NO!!!
If being a Firefighter is your calling...( and it is a calling, not just a job) you'll do what ever you need to do to get the position. This includes modifying your lifestyle slightly (like growing your hair long just to be able to donate to "locksoflove"). I agree with the previous poster, this ain't the kind of gig you just think about in the back of your brain. Like I said, it's something you're called to do. Dreads or no dreads!
As for certifications?? Read some of the other threads in other forums that ask the same question, and you'll find your answer! But I'll tell you in two succinct words: PARAMEDIC SCHOOL!!
"Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields Power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"
06-22-2010, 11:57 AM #7
- Join Date
- Feb 2007
from personal experience:fire science degree, multiple certs,volunteer experience,emt. clean record and driving record. spent thousands of dollars going to testing at over a dozen fds in multiple states and still no fulltime job at a large metro dept. not to discourage you but just to reinterate the competitiveness of the job. ive went to test at midsize to small depts where in the past years they would have a handful apply for a couple positions now there are hundreds of applicants at even the small/rural departments. DONT give up. i havent.
06-22-2010, 12:59 PM #8
What has prevented you from obtaining the badge? Thousands of dollars over the last several years to travel to/from, degree, certs, etc.
Something is holding you back, and it's not just because things have gotten more competitive.
How are your interview skills?
Outside of the fire service volunteer work?
I'm not coming down on you and I know what it's like to test for years and still not get the badge. It took me a few of those years to figure out what it was to get me dialed-in.
Don't give up, but figure out why you aren't where you want to be yet instead of just being the Little Engine That Could.
Last edited by ffbam24; 06-22-2010 at 01:07 PM.
06-22-2010, 04:31 PM #9
- Join Date
- Feb 2007
06-22-2010, 04:51 PM #10
Dekalb just had a hiring process and clayton co is now hiring
06-22-2010, 04:59 PM #11
- Join Date
- Aug 2009
OP - Personally, regarding the hair, I think it's great you do that, but I would NOT show up for an interview with anything but a "professional" haircut (tapered, block, etc.) AND clean shaven (NO facial hair). I would probably not even bring it up during the process unless they somehow ask about previous community service type stuff. I would DEFINITELY not even think about ASKING to regrow it until you've been on for a few years. Long hair and facial hair are quite acceptable in creative industries, but remember that many firefighters are conservative, former military servicemembers working in a para-military organization. You want to look like you'll fit in with them from the first impression.
As said above, it's quite difficult to get hired, but not impossible. One of the most basic keys to getting hired is the oral interview, since most departments base 100% of your ranking on that one section of the process. Everything else is pass/fail. You also need to have a clean background (i.e. no problems with the law, credit, etc.). Even before the economy took a dive, there were dozens of people applying for each opening in smaller departments and hundreds for each opening in large depts. Now, there are hundreds in the smaller depts and thousands in the large depts.
This is the best job in the world. My only regret is not getting into it earlier in life (I didn't start until I was 32). But on that same note, I think during that period before I got hired I gained maturity and experience that allowed me to get hired. You will seldom come across someone that has ever left the fire service either voluntarily or without some significant life event.
Gander - I would strongly suggest looking into some information on your oral board interviewing. FF interviews are like no others out there and when there are hundreds or thousands they are interviewing, you want to set the standard which every other candidate is compared. If you haven't already, do a search for "CaptBob Fire." He has a lot of free information that you can benefit from and some paid books and coaching that might help you determine where you need to improve. And you'll probably be able to get it for less than you spend on a tank of gas and the application for the last time you tested. Well, worth it to have the job of your dreams.
06-22-2010, 05:31 PM #12
www.eatstress.com.) You may not want to spend the money, but he's apparently helped many. He also has some good free content on his web site and posts on this web site.
Also start carrying around a digital tape recorder to hear how you sound. If you haven't considered specialized training like paramedic school, now may be the time to consider that. Paramedic training will definitely separate the "men from the boys" when it comes to who gets the gig and who doesn't.
Finally, you need to realize there is a department out there for you! It sounds like you've really put in some time and effort. DO NOT GIVE UP...DO NOT GIVE IN!! Nothing worth having ever comes easy! And this gig...is worth it!!
"Purpose, Truth and Passion Yield Power and Dominion IN ACTION"
Last edited by Theaxemancometh; 06-22-2010 at 05:41 PM.
06-23-2010, 09:57 PM #13
- Join Date
- Jan 2010
I'm not going to sugar coat it. Cut your hair.. ideally so it doesn't touch the collar of your dress shirt.... then go get your golden ticket (National Registry EMT-Paramedic)
With the few jobs that get posted out there... you can have an excellent military career but if you don't have your Paramedic cert. you may not even sit down for the test.
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