1. #1
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    Alright, so I just got "academically disqualified" from the university I was attending for a B.S. in chemistry. I've always been interested in civil/military service be it the marines, paramedic or a fire fighter and after considering it for quite a while I'm going with firefighting.

    I have to start from the beginning here, I have no certificates and no training. All I have is ALOT of classes involved with mathematics, physics and chemistry. My plan here, and by all means let me know if this is correct, is to attend a local community college here to get my EMT, and then attend Palomar college's firefighting academy for a Firefighter I while also possibly working as an apprentice.

    I have a few questions about the process. Firstly, I've heard that the training requirements and the job require a great deal of physical fitness. I am pretty fit, I wrestled in high school and have attended a gym regularly for a few years. Are the requirements so great that I should start my own physical program? I have absolutely no problem with this and would look forward to it.

    Secondly, I have a lot of classes related to science. Lots of high level physics, mathematics and chemistry. I also got relatively good grades in these classes, lots of B's and C's and a few A's. I know these won't automatically make me stand out, but will they help me with any classes I need to take, tests and or certificates?

    Thirdly, do you enjoy your job? I've known a few fire fighters and they all seem to love their job. They all say it brings a high level of satisfaction and they like the way the hours are set up, the 24 on 48 off type of work setting. Basically, if you were 22 and had absolutely no plans, obligations, kids or anything would you recommend it, and if so to what end? Should I get a degree in fire science?

    I know this is a lot of questions, and I don't expect you to answer all of my them. Any reply will help.

    Thanks

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    With that education you say you have, I would apply for a direct commission in the Armed Forces. Do my time there, get more education and then when you finish that, apply for a firefighters job.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    If you have so many high level classes and then go back to school and get something out of it. Go part time if you can't afford full time, just keep working towards a degree. You should have a back up plan and plus a second career is helpfull when you are a rookie making 32k a year. Join a volunteer fire department and see if you like it. If they see that you are serious then they will put you thru training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    With that education you say you have, I would apply for a direct commission in the Armed Forces. Do my time there, get more education and then when you finish that, apply for a firefighters job.
    I've been told that most DCO's hold advanced degrees. I should note that I do not have a degree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by irish2522 View Post
    If you have so many high level classes and then go back to school and get something out of it. Go part time if you can't afford full time, just keep working towards a degree. You should have a back up plan and plus a second career is helpfull when you are a rookie making 32k a year. Join a volunteer fire department and see if you like it. If they see that you are serious then they will put you thru training.
    I do not want to continue an education in sciences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by knsorensen View Post
    I've been told that most DCO's hold advanced degrees. I should note that I do not have a degree.
    OK I reread your first sentence.

    Apply for a firefighter job.. You may have to apply all across the US to find something ton your liking and the pay you may like.

    Not all FD's mandate that you have an certification. Most the FD's over our way, perfers that you don't so they don't have to empty your head and start over. It is easier to teach someone who does know anything about the fire service than some yokel who has had this and that and thinks he can't learn anything else.

    By the way, when you have complete the 22 to 26 weeks and graduate you are certified the way the FD wants you to be.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Glad your thinking of becoming a Firefighter it can be a very rewarding career.

    Question 1- If you go to the gym everyday and basically stay healthy, you should be fine. But if i were you yes, i would start my own program. You can never be in shape enough sometimes. work mostly on Endurance, Upper body and leg strength.

    Question 2- Firefighting does require some math but usually it is simple math so having those classes are great but a paid Fire Department hiring comittee isnt going to care if you have those classes without the degree.

    Question 3- Yes, I love this job. There is nothing more exciting, more self satisfying in the world. Once you get into Firefighting youll understand the true feeling cause words cant really explain it.

    With all this said though, GET A DEGREE! Usually it is not a "requirement" to get on a fire department but if you dont atleast a 2 year degree (4 years is better) you can kiss being a firefighter good-bye. Also, go out if you can and get your EMT it can help you alot not only getting hired on a fire department but also in everyday life.

    Hope this helps you and good luck.
    Basically, Its all about breaking glass and kickin' *****

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    Colorado State has an all online degree program in Fire and Emergency Administration. Tuition is a flat rate of $289 an hour whether you are in-state or out of state. You have to have at least 60 hours to transfer into the program and most credits will count as transfer. They even took my military training as transfer credit. When you graduate you get the exact same degree as a student physically attending the college. You can even walk at graduation. Anyways, you should look it up and see if it is something you are interested in. Go to google and search "colo state online". It should lead you to it. Let me know what you think buddy.

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    Doesn't have to be a degree with sciences, maybe education. It'll probably take a couple of years to get hired as a firefighter. In the mean time finish school and get some experience with a fire department. How many credits do you have?

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    I have an associate of science degree. I have ALOT of credits. When I was kicked out of the university I had senior status but still needed roughly 2 years to graduate.

    I've been told that the fire academy in my local area is very VERY good.

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    I don't know if anyone else noticed it, but the big red flag that I saw was the "academically disqualified" statement, and then "when I was kicked out of the university." I know that would be a concern during a background investigation, especially so recently.

    But back to your questions:
    - I believe Palomar College is in California. Most depts there require you to have at least the basic certs - FF1 & 2, EMT-B, HAZMAT, etc - before you apply (but check with the depts to be sure... some may not). California is also HIGHLY competitive. You should also look into getting your Paramedic in order to increase your chances.
    - Endurance and stamina are extremely important in firefighting. Esp during the CPAT. During the academy, it won't really matter if you can bench press 300 pounds, but that you can hump a high rise pack up the tower. Search for the CPAT and read the preparation programs and incorporate them into your exercise regime.
    - You're on a firefighter forum board. Pretty everyone here is going to like/love their job. But in another frame of reference, you seldom see people stop being firefighters before retirement unless there's some sort of circumstances they can't control (medical, spouse moving, etc.). Personally, I think it's the best job in the world.
    - Your description of your academic background makes me think you're a very smart person, but perhaps got bored with the academic work and kind of stopped applying yourself. If you are bright enough to handle those classes, you should have no problems with the academic portion of firefighting. However, there is a large deal of mechanical aptitude that comes into play. If you can't figure out the most basic and simple machine, it may not be the best career for you.
    - A degree will usually help, but is not often required. And from there, it is usually ANY degree, not a FS degree. They'll teach you what you need to know in the Academy.

    And, since it was mentioned, a direct commission varies by service, but the minimum requirement is a bachelor's degree (and usually some prior service involved with it). Although there are few opportunities to come in with a bachelors alone. Most common, you see direct commissions as attorneys, doctors and chaplains. If that interests you, talk to a Reserves or National Guard recruiter. Enlist until you finish your 4 year degree and then apply for a direct commission. Talk to an officer recruiter (specialty branch) before you do anything and make sure you are on the right track to be eligible for a direct commission.

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    I recently got picked up by a decent sized metro dept and am starting rookie school here in less than a month. Let me tell you some things. Don't buy into the whole "you need your fire science, this that etc bs." If anything, get your paramedic card or enlist. The most important thing, however, is the interview. I was a candidate with just an EMT-B, that was it. INVEST in captain Bob's package. I owe a decent amount of my success to that package. I cannot stress how important the FF interview is. If you start to test around the country and make it to that stage you will soon find out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zzyyzx View Post
    I don't know if anyone else noticed it, but the big red flag that I saw was the "academically disqualified" statement, and then "when I was kicked out of the university." I know that would be a concern during a background investigation, especially so recently.

    But back to your questions:
    - I believe Palomar College is in California. Most depts there require you to have at least the basic certs - FF1 & 2, EMT-B, HAZMAT, etc - before you apply (but check with the depts to be sure... some may not). California is also HIGHLY competitive. You should also look into getting your Paramedic in order to increase your chances.
    - Endurance and stamina are extremely important in firefighting. Esp during the CPAT. During the academy, it won't really matter if you can bench press 300 pounds, but that you can hump a high rise pack up the tower. Search for the CATP and read the preparation programs and incorporate them into your exercise regime.
    - You're on a firefighter forum board. Pretty everyone here is going to like/love their job. But in another frame of reference, you seldom see people stop being firefighters before retirement unless there's some sort of circumstances they can't control (medical, spouse moving, etc.). Personally, I think it's the best job in the world.
    - Your description of your academic background makes me think you're a very smart person, but perhaps got bored with the academic work and kind of stopped applying yourself. If you are bright enough to handle those classes, you should have no problems with the academic portion of firefighting. However, there is a large deal of mechanical aptitude that comes into play. If you can't figure out the most basic and simple machine, it may not be the best career for you.
    - A degree will usually help, but is not often required. And from there, it is usually ANY degree, not a FS degree. They'll teach you what you need to know in the Academy.

    And, since it was mentioned, a direct commission varies by service, but the minimum requirement is a bachelor's degree (and usually some prior service involved with it). Although there are few opportunities to come in with a bachelors alone. Most common, you see direct commissions as attorneys, doctors and chaplains. If that interests you, talk to a Reserves or National Guard recruiter. Enlist until you finish your 4 year degree and then apply for a direct commission. Talk to an officer recruiter (specialty branch) before you do anything and make sure you are on the right track to be eligible for a direct commission.
    The academic disqualification was from not making progress in my major. I tried changing majors twice to get out of the science and mathematics department and after not being able to change twice the college let me go because I wasn't taking courses in my major. It was also because California is looking left, right up and down to get rid of students for budget cuts. My overall GPA is still good.

    But I appreciate the heavy advice. This what I was looking for. I took a look at the CPAT and I can start putting together a workout that will incorporate these drills. I can already see some pretty specific exercises that will work for some of those tests.

    I was planning on getting my EMT before I applied to the academy and I know the Palomar academy requires you do so. I'm not worried about mechanical aptitude the knowledge gained in science classes is not limited to theory and paper, besides why would anyone allow someone to use a piece of machinery without showing them how it works first?

    I've always been told and taught that the interview for any job was critical. If you even made it to the interview then all you've done is made it past the screening process and now you have some real competition. Could you give some examples or describe what the interview process is like? Are they asking like basic trivial questions like, why do you want to be a firefighter? Or is it more in depth like, "How do you think you would deal with seeing a death or severely traumatic injury?"
    Last edited by knsorensen; 07-14-2010 at 01:01 PM.

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    @knsorensen

    Interview Q's:
    http://www.eatstress.com/thirty22.htm

    eatstress.com is a great resource. It is ran by Capt Bob (on this forum a lot)...I recommend his material to really get an understanding on what they are looking for and how to set yourself apart from everybody else.

    Good luck in your pursuit in this field!

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