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    Default Aspiring Firefighter Questions on Chosing a Dept

    Hey guys,

    My name's Rob and this is my first post. This is a good looking board you guys have here!


    I am seriously considering becoming a firefighter in NJ, my home state. My question to you guys is what would be the best way to compare different divisions to start applying to?

    My home town's division is volunteer only so I have to look elsewhere for employment. What would be the best way to compare the culture, hours, pension plans, etc of different divisions. It's a big decision and I want to get all the facts, as specific as possible.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Rob

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    Suggest if you are looking for a paid dept. Apply anywhere that is hiring and accept the department that picks you

    Work there a year at least if not more then decide to apply at other departments for reasons you think you should

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    Apply anywhere and everywhere. Don't be picky. The first reason is so you can gain experience in the testing process. It may take you years (if ever) before you are hired. You need to become comfortable with this process. The second reason is you may be hired by a department that is 8th on your list of departments but when you actually start working for them, you may find out that you actually like the department and will stay there for a long time. If not, you can apply to other departments while working as a firefighter.

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    Both these posts are right. You may have a dream department, but odds are against you getting the job with the first test. With that being said, there are people out there that have been hired right out the shoot, but not a majority by any means. I once heard it takes an average of four years to even get on a paid department. I will echo what the others have said; test, test, test anywhere, and everywhere. If you make it through the process, you can always turn it down if you feel it's not a good match for you.
    Good luck

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    Great information guys, thanks!

    What do firehouses look at when selecting the next crop of firefighters? What would you do if you were me to stand out and what would get me in for an interview?

    A little about me: 24 years old, Bachelor of Arts Degree from a 4 year school in Political Science and History. No criminal record, solid employment record. I'm also working on starting my own charity.

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    NJ does civil service every 3-4 years. The next exam coming up this spring. However, the application period has already passed so if you didn't apply you are **** out of luck for at least 3 years if not longer due to economy and possible lack of hiring. My advice is do what I am doing, enlist and then when you get out move to one of the bigger cities that have residency requirements.

    Veterans get hired before civilians. Disabled vets get hired before veterans. Many large cities have requirement you must live there. basically, if you are living in a town without a major fire department (think JC, Newark, Camden, etc) and you are a non-vet, you will almost definitely not get a job. Also, you must serve in combat zone to get the preference, too.

    There are few departments that do not do civil service but those you will most likely need to know somebody to get on. Sorry if this is bad news but it is all the truth.

    http://www.state.nj.us/csc/public_sa...ghter_opps.htm

    Read the entire site, including veterans preference. Hope this helps.

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    I'am in the same boat. I'm currently 17 and will be 18 here shortly. I will be fresh out of high school with my EMT cert, volunteer experience, I speak spanish as well. I have been struggling to come up with a list of well paying, busy departments that I can apply to. My "dream department" is charlotte. but from what I have hear the process is brutal and the odds of employment are slim.

    If anyone can provide some insight to well paying, busy departments that do not necessairly have to be in my area ( North Carolina ) that will be highly appericated. they do not even have to be on the east coast for that matter.

    Thanks,

    Austin

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    I will be honest with you, if you really want the job do not worry about finding a department that will hire you first because it is extremely difficult. Worry about salary next.

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    if there are any firefighters in the North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and surrounding areas can provide some insight on good departments, that will be well appericated. because I'm slightly overwhelmed.

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    Take a look at Charlotte, definitely. You'll never get hired if you don't apply. I was lucky enough to get on the first time I applied, along with a couple others in my class. Also, I would recommend doing some research on Durham, Raleigh (both are now hiring) and Cary.

    Before getting hired in Charlotte, I worked for the Columbia Fire Department in SC. Excellent mid-sized department (500 FFs on 3 shifts) that covers the city of Columbia and Richland County. There's also Rock Hill and Greenville, two departments I haven't heard anything bad about. Also, it seems that Charleston has made some huge strides in the past few years, so that's another option.

    As young as you are, take your time and figure out where you want to live and how you want your career to turn out, and apply to departments that will help you fulfill those goals before you make choices that may otherwise limit your options. Lastly, remember that you don't have to retire from the first department that hires you, but you may find leaving hard to do, even if you are moving on to bigger and better things.

    Hope this helps.

    Dave

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    okeefer99,

    Consider checking out the west coast, a lot of great departments. From what I know, theirs a lot less residency requirements, and a lot less of the veteran gets hired before the civilian bs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by battlecomedown View Post
    Take a look at Charlotte, definitely. You'll never get hired if you don't apply. I was lucky enough to get on the first time I applied, along with a couple others in my class. Also, I would recommend doing some research on Durham, Raleigh (both are now hiring) and Cary.

    Before getting hired in Charlotte, I worked for the Columbia Fire Department in SC. Excellent mid-sized department (500 FFs on 3 shifts) that covers the city of Columbia and Richland County. There's also Rock Hill and Greenville, two departments I haven't heard anything bad about. Also, it seems that Charleston has made some huge strides in the past few years, so that's another option.

    As young as you are, take your time and figure out where you want to live and how you want your career to turn out, and apply to departments that will help you fulfill those goals before you make choices that may otherwise limit your options. Lastly, remember that you don't have to retire from the first department that hires you, but you may find leaving hard to do, even if you are moving on to bigger and better things.

    Hope this helps.

    Dave
    thank you Dave, that did help. what do you mean how I want my career to turn out ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nnfra200302 View Post
    okeefer99,

    Consider checking out the west coast, a lot of great departments. From what I know, theirs a lot less residency requirements, and a lot less of the veteran gets hired before the civilian bs.
    BS? What BS are you referring to?

    It has always been that veterans of the United States Armed Services gets a preference over someone who hasn't has military service. It is the law by the way.

    Most anyone can join the military and get this preference. Before the draft was eliminated by the bureaucrats, every male had to serve at least 2 years in the military.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by AustinPerkins92 View Post
    if there are any firefighters in the North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and surrounding areas can provide some insight on good departments, that will be well appericated. because I'm slightly overwhelmed.
    Charlotte and Durham, NC processes are currently open. Deadline has gotta be soon though. You just missed a ton of processes in Virginia. (Norfolk, Chesapeak, Newport News) I belive one process is still open? Charlottesville, VA just northwest of Richmond. There is a thread on here started so check it out.
    Don't be a know it all! Be a know a lot!

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    Talking

    Also check out this site: www.911hotjobs.com
    Sign up for their email list. Its free! They catch alot of Dept. processes when they open and have direct links to information and how to apply. Good luck guys!
    Don't be a know it all! Be a know a lot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nnfra200302 View Post
    okeefer99,

    Consider checking out the west coast, a lot of great departments. From what I know, theirs a lot less residency requirements, and a lot less of the veteran gets hired before the civilian bs.
    I'm curious about this "BS" you refer to also?

    So someone who elects to serve their country while someone else d!cks around at school and gets a degree is engaged in "BS"?

    Do tell where you're coming from on this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    BS? What BS are you referring to?

    It has always been that veterans of the United States Armed Services gets a preference over someone who hasn't has military service. It is the law by the way.

    Most anyone can join the military and get this preference. Before the draft was eliminated by the bureaucrats, every male had to serve at least 2 years in the military.
    Whoa... what? That may be the most inaccurate statement ever posted on this board.

    Never has the US had a mandatory 2 year military service.

    They do have the Draft (which could still be employed under the selective service act).
    Again, to clarify.. there has never been 'Compulsory Service' in the US.

    People have been drafted, heck, they even did a 'Doctor Draft' during the cold war to fill the health care rolls.

    If by 2 years service you mean a 'Conscription/Draft' during a war, that's different. But they way you wrote that made it look like we have something similar to the Israeli system of service. Which we have never had.

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    I was basing my statement off of what deacon17 said. He stated that "veterans get hired before civilians." Correct me if am wrong, if a vet scores a 85% including preference points on the written exam, and a civilian scores a 90%, does the vet still get hired before the civilian? If yes, thats what I am referring to as bs. By the way, I have a brother who is a vet, and I have nothing but the out most respect for vets, and those who want to enlist to serve our country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nnfra200302 View Post
    I was basing my statement off of what deacon17 said. He stated that "veterans get hired before civilians." Correct me if am wrong, if a vet scores a 85% including preference points on the written exam, and a civilian scores a 90%, does the vet still get hired before the civilian? If yes, thats what I am referring to as bs. By the way, I have a brother who is a vet, and I have nothing but the out most respect for vets, and those who want to enlist to serve our country.
    Yes, do the math. In my experience the higher score is the winner. With most tests the oral board is usually 100% of your score to get hired. Everything else is pass/fail. So candidates go in and get an average oral board score of 80 - 85+ including military points. If you prepare yourself properly to take a firefighter interview you could end up with a score of 90+ to place you at the top of the list going to the chief’s oral to get a real shot at that infamous badge!

    I don’t believe it’s all about the certs, experience, military or where ever life has led you. I really believe that where you make the cut or not has everything to do with if you learned how to take a firefighter oral board interview that is like no other.

    Rob, it’s real tough getting a job in NJ on a good day. I know many candidates who got hired by going out of state (many in the Carolinas).

    I think getting your medic certification and savvy street time on the box; you will be able to take more tests. Then, as long as you prepare for every step of the hiring process before you show up you can maximize your opportunities and put you ahead of the “clone” pack candidates even if they have the extra 5+ military points.

    I've seen candidates with great credentials. They had degrees, certificates, paramedic, volunteer, experience and every other merit badge you could imagine. But they couldn’t present the package at the interview. And, if you can't present the package, you don't get the job . . . Period! Never! Ever!
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    In NJ, the passing score is 70% I believe. The original poster was asking about NJ and that is all I know. Anyone who gets a 70% or above has passed. Disabled vets get hired first, then veterans, then civilians. If a disabled vet gets a 75, vet 80 and civilian 90, the disabled vet gets hired first, then vet, then civilian. Fair or not fair those are the NJ civil service rules.

    We go by the rule of three, which is every position getting hired must look at 3 candidates. If a department is hiring 1 person, they can hire 1,2 or 3 on their list. If they hire #2, I BELIEVE they have to hire 1 or 3, they cannot go to number 4 and pass #1 without a legitimate reason ( criminal record, residency, etc).. If they hire number one, and then are looking to hire one more person, they will now look at 3,4 and 5 on the list and the process continues.

    If that is unclear I apologize that is the best I can describe it.

    So yes, disabled veterans get hired before veterans who get hired before civilians in NJ. BS or not, it is the way it is and I am enlisting for numerous reasons, one of which is to gain this preference.

    By the way, veteran in NJ doesn't mean someone who served in the military. They have specific time frames and locations you must serve, which is why in the last 5-10 years, there have been many more veterans then pre- 9/11. Sitting at a desk in a recruiters office for 4 years will NOT give you veterans preference in NJ.

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    I tested for 5 years with 16 different departments across five states and just got my first job offer last week with my top choice department. That application process alone lasted over 2 years. It's the greatest feeling in the world. Just put in the hard work and get as much experience as you can with the testing process and don't get discouraged.

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    what all departments did you apply to ?

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    Test in every possible state and department you can and you will eventually make it

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    Default Think about other places than Jersey

    Really think about broadening your choices. I lived in north Jersey and volunteered there since I was 16. Got my EMT-B as well and all that jazz. Took the civil service test twice (2nd time i actually tried and got an address in west ny for north hudson). I can 2nd all of deaconn's advice about veteran status and again its very picky about what you actually do/have done to get those points. When I took it in 2004(i think 2004 it was a long time ago) i believe, they gave you some points for volunteer experience but it was very minimal. NJ does not do oral boards. its a NJ DOP physical agility test, a ERGOmetric test, etc. The departments that do the chiefs test: maplewood, englewood,etc are all really who you know. The recent hires I have gotten to know are ones that already work in the town or DPW. I suggest out of state especially the DC, MD, VA area. Most are non residency and don't have pension/layoff issues like NJ.

    Again like many have said. Worry about the salary after you land the job. You have thousands applying for a handful of positions.

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    The volunteer points are I believe 5 after 2-3 years and an extra point for every year after that up to 10 points.. However, usually have to be volunteering in the specific town/city to get points.. for example, you may get points in Nutley if you are volunteering there but will not get them in Newark.. Basically, if you really want the job, enlist or move to a big city

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