1. #1
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    Nov 2010

    Default Best way to go about becoming a firefighter.

    I know the physical and mental part of the test is hard, but what would seperate the people applying apart. Lets say everyone got a good score around all the same on the physical and mental portion. Would their training and degrees be the deciding factor then? Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Jul 2003


    If you really want to give yourself an extra edge, consider doing an active 3 or 4 year tour in any of the United States armed forces. Virtually every municipality offers extra "veterans points" or bonus points for members of the Military who have been honorably discharged. Some municipalities are even required by law to offer the points.

    Previous fire service credential or even a degree in a fire-related field is not a cure-all. Some places could care less if you were a firefighter (career or volunteer) in another jurisdiction. Some dont care if you have a degree. Others do. It all depends on the partcular jurisdiction(s) that you are applying for.

    One thing I can tell you to help prepare yourself is to start taking every civil service exam that comes down the pike- everything from Dog Catcher to Police Officer to Firefighter. It's a win-win for you- You get experience taking civil service exams, and if you get offered a job in a different department (the cop shop or even dog catcher) you take that position, and start your seniority within the City or Town. Keep testing, and when/if you are offered a spot in the Fire Dept, you slide into the spot with senioroty and time in grade ahead of everyone else!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  3. #3
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    Nov 2010


    thanks for the replies

  4. #4
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    Nov 2009


    Some depts have other items to separate applicants

    Certifications , oral board, scenario simulations, writing assignments, vet points

    Background check

  5. #5
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    Wolverine3982's Avatar
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    Jan 2010


    I have spent the last three years testing and just recently was fortunate enough to be given a badge (I say given, because now I believe is my time to earn it!).

    I believe what really sets you apart from other equally qualified candidates is the oral board. Certs and education definately play a role, but with most medium to large sized departments, as long as you meet the minimum requirements, your going to get a fair look during the oral board. Your goal during any oral board interview is to convince the panel that based on your education, training, and past work and life experiences that you are the most qualified candidate for the job. Think outside the box. Chances are, the firefighters on your board panel have heard it all, including those canned answers that sound so good. Try to sell yourself and your passion to do this job in a way that no other candidate would think of doing.

    Also, learn the department/district that you are testing for. Your answers not only need to relate to the fire service and your own past experiences, but to their department specifically. They are going to want to know what makes you want to work for THEM.

    Having a military background is helpful and will definately give you some great life experiences, but do not assume that is a must. With most departments, the only real bonus points awarded for military service is 5-10 extra points on the written. There is alot of ways that you could be building your resume, rather than spending 4-5 years in the military, receiving no fire experience. Not saying dont do it, but I wouldnt go that route unless you already had prior interest in the armed forces.

    Looking back, I would say the single most important thing that I did to market myself was volunteer. Life is all about making connections and building relationships. The experiences and networking opportunities gained from a good volunteer program or department are priceless. Like I said you need to be able to sell yourself and your past experiences during an oral board.

    I may not know anything yet about being a firefighter like some of these guys, but I guarantee you that Im pretty dialed in when it comes to getting hired. Let me know or PM me if there is anything else I can help out with.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2010


    Pretty much agree with everyone's anwers here. Military experience will give you points, time in another division or job within a city wil give you overall time. Also try to get in as a reserve with a smaller department or even volunteer. This will help you keep your Certs, licenses, and CEUs up to date. Take at least 1 class each semester toward a Fire or Science degree as well. Oral exams count more than people are aware. We judge not only on whats on paper, but also how you carry yourself, goals,attitude,etc.etc. Good luck my young friend and remember just because you get picked up you don't have the right to call yourself a firefighter. Once you pass probie and your crew pinns you THEN you can say to the world that you have joined the brotherhood.

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