1. #1
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    Default Options, Options, Options....

    It's getting to be that point in my life where I need to decide what the hell I'm going to do next August. My goal is to become a career firefighter, but have a backup plan/ old man's plan, for when that time in my life when I no longer can move comes. I'm looking for opinions on what would be the best option to get me hired as a career firefighter. (I do realize that having a higher degree doesn't so much help get you hired as it does advance) I'm also looking for what will be the most diverse inside the fire service or emergency services. I have developed a few "plans" on what my future might hold. For background info, I currently am in high school while taking fire science courses through Kirkwood Community College and will eventually earn my associates in Entry-Level Firefighting, and am about half way there. I hope to accomplish this by the end of next summer. (Summer 2011, Right before I start college). Now my options...

    Option 1:
    Oklahoma State University majoring in Fire Protection/ Safety Technology

    Option 2:
    Western Illinois University majoring in Emergency Management

    Option 3:
    Trying to get a job as a firefighter right out of high school while taking online classes through Upper Iowa University majoring in Emergency Management

    Option 4:
    Attending Kirkwood Community College for two more years earning paramedic certification

    Option 5:
    Attend any University for Public Administration or variation of (Seems boring to me with the classes required, last option)

    I obviously won't be basing my decisions directly off of what is said here. It may help me influence my decision, but I'm mostly here just to acquire some information. I just want to see what the people more inside the "business" have to say. If possible, it would be really great to talk to some people who do these jobs. Not so much firefighters, but Emergency Managers and the like. (Is that what they are called? I'm sure the job title varies)

    Thanks in advance,
    Chris

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    Option 6
    Fire protectio. Engineer degree, then you can write your own ticket

    Lot of out of work emergency mangment people

    Guess you need to look at your life finances and decide which way you want to go

    All good options

    You do not say if you are married, that throws more stuff into the decision

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    You do not say if you are married, that throws more stuff into the decision
    Negative, no dependents. Won't be for a long, long time. And thanks for the links, very helpful.

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    None of those options are bad! That said, you need to gain greater clarity on what you want to do. Do you want to be a firefighter OR an emergency manager. They are starkly different. One (firefighter) has a more practical application to managing emergencies and crisis, while the other puts together contingency plans for the greater community (cities, counties, regions) for managing emergencies and crisis.

    If you're like most of us (firefighters), we're adrenaline junkies that can't get enough action, and LOVE coming to work not knowing what will happen next. We like being outside, hands on and staying active. One moment you're sitting around the dinner table, the next, all HELL breaks loose and you're in the middle of it!
    Emergency Managers on the other hand, serve in a more administrative capacity. If you would rather put on a suit and clock in to work everyday at 9:00 in the morning and work 40 hours a week, under more predictable circumstances, responding to major emergencies on the rare chance one occurs; THIS IS YOUR GIG!!
    If you want to pursue the former of the two, I'd suggest you start testing any and everywhere you can immediately. You need the practice of taking tests, interviews and through this process, you'll learn more than you'll imagine! Paramedic training is a no-brainer! If you have the opportunity to get your paramedic certification, GET IT! Fire department's want to hire "snotty nosed' kids. All that's needed is someone who has the capacity to listen and learn.

    While having a college degree may or may not help you get hired, for all practical purposes; you won't have an opportunity to use it. That is until you are in position for promotion. So perhaps a better solution would be to consider "and" solutions not "or" solutions. In other words, consider testing to get hired. Once you get hired, work as a firefighter AND be going to school for your degree. Or start testing for firefighter AND pursue your paramedic training at the same time. Catch my drift? This is not rocket science! Like Nike says: "Just do it!"

    "The Axeman"
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    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields POWER AND DOMINION IN ACTION!!!"

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    Good points

    But there are shift firefighters that have advanced degrees that they use for their second jobs, or for fututre employment

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Good points

    But there are shift firefighters that have advanced degrees that they use for their second jobs, or for fututre employment
    Correct. And it's great if he already has one. But I don't want him to bury himself student loans and the headache of getting a degree just to get on the fire department. Let's face it; for entry level, it's not rocket science!

    "The Axeman"

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    Alright, let me clarify some more. I definitely want to pursue a career as a firefighter. The degree is for a possible second job, if needed, or when the day comes and I can no longer do the duty to the best of my ability. I still want to be involved in the emergency services if at all possible, and not really "retire" completely, more work part time or something of that nature. Next obstacle, the parents. My mom wants me to get my 4-year degree, no matter what. I can see why, somebody with my "credentials" in the classroom should be going to major in pre-med or pre-law or engineering. Not interesting to me. I also want to acheive the four-year degree for my own personal fullfillment. I understand I could go and get hired right out of high school if I wanted (Or I should say try and get hired).

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    Quote Originally Posted by CGITCH View Post
    Alright, let me clarify some more. I definitely want to pursue a career as a firefighter. The degree is for a possible second job, if needed, or when the day comes and I can no longer do the duty to the best of my ability. I still want to be involved in the emergency services if at all possible, and not really "retire" completely, more work part time or something of that nature. Next obstacle, the parents. My mom wants me to get my 4-year degree, no matter what. I can see why, somebody with my "credentials" in the classroom should be going to major in pre-med or pre-law or engineering. Not interesting to me. I also want to acheive the four-year degree for my own personal fullfillment. I understand I could go and get hired right out of high school if I wanted (Or I should say try and get hired).
    So noted! Go get your degree then!

    There are many that would agree, and many that will disagree; but I would seriously consider Public Administration, Business or perhaps a degree in Organizational Leadership/Development. Just from what I've seen, many of the fire or vocational specific degrees 'can" be restrictive and many other industries won't really recognize them. If you get hurt, decide firefighting isn't for you, or retire and go into another industry; a bachelors degree in fire science, isn't going to be very marketable. The degree programs I've mentioned can later be leveraged into a consulting practice or working in a more administrative capacity, allowing you to stay connected to public safety. I always recommend to those just getting their education to pursue more general degrees and add certificate programs (fire science, emergency management, ems) and specialized training courses for the vocational specific training as the gravy!

    Now that said: you're going to find exceptions to every scenario. But this is just this reporters opinion!

    "The Axeman"
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    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields POWER AND DOMINION IN ACTION!!!"

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    I visited Oklahoma State yesterday and I have to say I really really liked everything I found down there. The City of Stillwater is quite nice and maintains the small town feel I'm looking for. I was the most impressed by the Fire Protection Lab, State of the Art. I think I might pursue this opportunity and maybe minor in management or business administration.

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