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  1. #1
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    Default Best path for getting the badge after high school

    My goal is to become a firefighter as quickly as possible after I graduate but I'm unsure as to what the best way to accomplish that is. Right now my options are:
    -Going to a 4 year college and getting a degree in Spanish. While in college I would be a medic the in army reserve.
    -Going straight into the military. I originally though I would be a firefighter in the Air Force but due to the recruiting environment that's not likely. If I join the military it will most likely be as a 68W Medic in the Army.
    -Another route I could take is try to go for Air Force Pararescue. I believe I have what it takes to become a Pararescueman but how much of an advantage would it be for me to be a former Pararescueman during the hiring process? They become paramedic certified and are considered special forces so I imagine it would give me an advantage in the hiring process comparable to a college degree.
    -I could go to a fire academy straight out of high school but I'm not sure how long it would take me to get hired after graduation.

    I'm not sure which way would put me on the quickest path to getting hired.


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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyW View Post
    My goal is to become a firefighter as quickly as possible after I graduate but I'm unsure as to what the best way to accomplish that is. Right now my options are:
    -Going to a 4 year college and getting a degree in Spanish. While in college I would be a medic the in army reserve.
    -Going straight into the military. I originally though I would be a firefighter in the Air Force but due to the recruiting environment that's not likely. If I join the military it will most likely be as a 68W Medic in the Army.
    -Another route I could take is try to go for Air Force Pararescue. I believe I have what it takes to become a Pararescueman but how much of an advantage would it be for me to be a former Pararescueman during the hiring process? They become paramedic certified and are considered special forces so I imagine it would give me an advantage in the hiring process comparable to a college degree.
    -I could go to a fire academy straight out of high school but I'm not sure how long it would take me to get hired after graduation.

    I'm not sure which way would put me on the quickest path to getting hired.
    Military points and military experience, especially in areas where it takes an advanced level of dedication to make the grade and progress is always a plus.

    Special rescue skills and backgrounds never hurt.

    Going to college can also be a plus, especially if you are looking in areas that award points for college credits and degrees.

    I would also recommend that if possible, volunteer and gain both experience and certifications as this may show hiring departments that you have a genuine interest in the service as compared to simply a job.

    In short, look at the requirements of the departments you may be interested in, and use that information, in part, to decide how to approach obtaining your goal.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  3. #3
    Forum Member VFF16's Avatar
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    The military I good but colleege is better for your future
    Last edited by VFF16; 03-09-2011 at 10:24 PM.

  4. #4
    Forum Member VFF16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Military points and military experience, especially in areas where it takes an advanced level of dedication to make the grade and progress is always a plus.

    Special rescue skills and backgrounds never hurt.

    Going to college can also be a plus, especially if you are looking in areas that award points for college credits and degrees.

    I would also recommend that if possible, volunteer and gain both experience and certifications as this may show hiring departments that you have a genuine interest in the service as compared to simply a job.

    In short, look at the requirements of the departments you may be interested in, and use that information, in part, to decide how to approach obtaining your
    goal.

    I agree with the above comment. College is good because you may need something to fall back on if FF or EMT doesn't work out. Also if you go to college definitely gain experience and skill by volunteering at a department close to campus. Depending how old you are it may be worth joining your local VFD as a Junior/explorer before HS is over. GET GOOD GrADES. Good luck

  5. #5
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    I got hired at 20 years old after completing the basic fire academy at 19. I would NOT recommend this path for a couple of reasons. First I was too young to live in the fire station with people twice my age. Second, I did not have a degree and I feel I missed out on the college life.
    If I had it to do all over again I would have gone away to a 4 year school and earned a degree and experienced life.
    If I were graduating high school today I would go into the military (there was no military action when I graduated in 1982). I would get a combat assignment. I know that may sound odd to some of the readers, however, I like the action. I have always worked in busy fire stations because I like the action. The military would be the ultimate for me as I appreciate their focus and dedication to the mission.
    Good luck with your decision, but keep in mind that getting hired now is really tough. You need to bring something of significance to the table (military or education).
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

  6. #6
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    what state are you in or what state do you want to work in??

    5. get emt and then paramedic

    go to college and apply while taking college classes

  7. #7
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Anthony, No disrespect is intended.

    You have asked this on about 6 different start up posts. How many more are you going to start asking the same thing?

    Why not stay with one general post on "How do I become a Firefighter"?

    Also there are plenty of explanations in this section and in Hiring to answer all your questions. Read them and heed their responses.

    Good luck on your trek to earn a badge.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber ffbam24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulLepore View Post
    I got hired at 20 years old after completing the basic fire academy at 19. I would NOT recommend this path for a couple of reasons. First I was too young to live in the fire station with people twice my age. Second, I did not have a degree and I feel I missed out on the college life.
    If I had it to do all over again I would have gone away to a 4 year school and earned a degree and experienced life.
    If I were graduating high school today I would go into the military (there was no military action when I graduated in 1982). I would get a combat assignment. I know that may sound odd to some of the readers, however, I like the action. I have always worked in busy fire stations because I like the action. The military would be the ultimate for me as I appreciate their focus and dedication to the mission.
    Good luck with your decision, but keep in mind that getting hired now is really tough. You need to bring something of significance to the table (military or education).
    What Chief said!
    I keep saying; join the military to serve a greater cause than yourself. Not for some certifications.
    IMO joining to try and be a firefighter in the military limits your perspective and opportunity of the overall picture. The military experience as a whole will give you a leg up over those who did not go that route.

  9. #9
    Forum Member sfd1992's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VFF16 View Post
    The military I good but colleege is better for your future
    Awesome.

    Really.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber ffbam24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfd1992 View Post
    Awesome.

    Really.
    HAHAHA! I skimmed right past that earlier.
    What better testimonial for higher education than that!

  11. #11
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    I just joined this forum, but I think I can help on this one.

    Based on what you said, if I were you:

    Decide where you want to go to college - do not miss out on college if you have the chance to go, then join the closest Air National Guard (ANG) unit to your chosen college as a Fire Fighter or EMT (separate jobs in the Air Force) go to basic training and tech school as soon as you can after graduating high school. Then the AF trains you to become either profession and you have it out of the way before starting college - and you got PAID to learn it!

    As a member of the ANG, let them pay for your college (4 year degree, Paramedic or Fire Fighter at a tech college depending on what job you choose for the Guard, etc) any degree you want! Going to college right now while in the Guard is a NO BRAINER....I have troops that are making $$ going to college while their classmates are accumulating massive amounts of debt.

    To maximize your benefits in the Guard, enlist for 6 years - you might qualify for a 15K sign on bonus. If you choose to get out after your 6 you would have 6 years experience as a FF or Medic, and possibly a 4 year college degree that was PAID FOR and you'll be what - 24? While you're in college you could join a local volunteer department as well. Think of the experience you could gain in those 6 years before you start applying for full time positions.

    Not tooting my horn - just letting you know what the military can really do. I was an Active Duty Air Force Medic for 5 years after getting my 4 year degree and the AF paid off a large chunk of my student loans. Then I joined the ANG who will pay off all of my student loans by the end of my current enlistment, AND will pay for me to go to school, AND I have the Post 9/11 GI Bill sitting on standby if I wanted to go back to school full time. Not to sound like a recruiter, but The AIR NATIONAL GUARD cannot be beat, seriously! (side note: I'm probably biased, but the AF is by far the best lifestyle of any of the military branches - just ask anyone in the Army how they fell about the AF...haha). In 5 years in the Guard I've been to Africa twice, Europe, Hawaii, Peurto Rico, Iraq (totally voluntarily), will be going to Honduras this summer, and when I was on Active Duty I lived in Alaska for 5 years livin' the dream.

    Regarding the Active Duty route you talked about when you brought up being a PJ, there are definetely easier ways to get your FF badge than becoming a PJ just to get your Paramedic. That career path is NO JOKE - they are machines, best job in the AF if you ask me! If you would like to go that route then enlist on Active Duty and then get out and pursue your FF because while on AD as a PJ you won't have much time for pursuing anything else.

    So, if you don't choose PJ:
    Pick a college.
    Join the closest ANG unit to your college to be a FF or EMT
    Go to basic training and tech school
    Come back and go to college while being a member of the ANG
    Join a local volunteer FD
    Graduate debt free
    Apply for your full time badge
    Live the dream!

    If you have any questions about the ANG ask away.

    Ryan
    Last edited by RHoffman; 03-17-2011 at 01:33 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RHoffman View Post
    I just joined this forum, but I think I can help on this one.

    Based on what you said, if I were you:

    Decide where you want to go to college - do not miss out on college if you have the chance to go, then join the closest Air National Guard (ANG) unit to your chosen college as a Fire Fighter or EMT (separate jobs in the Air Force) go to basic training and tech school as soon as you can after graduating high school. Then the AF trains you to become either profession and you have it out of the way before starting college - and you got PAID to learn it!

    As a member of the ANG, let them pay for your college (4 year degree, Paramedic or Fire Fighter at a tech college depending on what job you choose for the Guard, etc) any degree you want! Going to college right now while in the Guard is a NO BRAINER....I have troops that are making $$ going to college while their classmates are accumulating massive amounts of debt.

    To maximize your benefits in the Guard, enlist for 6 years - you might qualify for a 15K sign on bonus. If you choose to get out after your 6 you would have 6 years experience as a FF or Medic, and possibly a 4 year college degree that was PAID FOR and you'll be what - 24? While you're in college you could join a local volunteer department as well. Think of the experience you could gain in those 6 years before you start applying for full time positions.

    Not tooting my horn - just letting you know what the military can really do. I was an Active Duty Air Force Medic for 5 years after getting my 4 year degree and the AF paid off a large chunk of my student loans. Then I joined the ANG who will pay off all of my student loans by the end of my current enlistment, AND will pay for me to go to school, AND I have the Post 9/11 GI Bill sitting on standby if I wanted to go back to school full time. Not to sound like a recruiter, but The AIR NATIONAL GUARD cannot be beat, seriously! (side note: I'm probably biased, but the AF is by far the best lifestyle of any of the military branches - just ask anyone in the Army how they fell about the AF...haha). In 5 years in the Guard I've been to Africa twice, Europe, Hawaii, Peurto Rico, Iraq (totally voluntarily), will be going to Honduras this summer, and when I was on Active Duty I lived in Alaska for 5 years livin' the dream.

    Regarding the Active Duty route you talked about when you brought up being a PJ, there are definetely easier ways to get your FF badge than becoming a PJ just to get your Paramedic. That career path is NO JOKE - they are machines, best job in the AF if you ask me! If you would like to go that route then enlist on Active Duty and then get out and pursue your FF because while on AD as a PJ you won't have much time for pursuing anything else.

    So, if you don't choose PJ:
    Pick a college.
    Join the closest ANG unit to your college to be a FF or EMT
    Go to basic training and tech school
    Come back and go to college while being a member of the ANG
    Join a local volunteer FD
    Graduate debt free
    Apply for your full time badge
    Live the dream!

    If you have any questions about the ANG ask away.

    Ryan

    Thanks man that's really good advice. I'm looking at going to gollege either in San Diego or Penn State, idk if you know anything about the Air National Guard unit there. One thing I've heard from almost everyone I've talked to is that it's almost impossible to get a guaranteed job in the Air Force because they're recruiting so many people nowadays that if you're hung up on getting a job they dont need you. Maybe it's different in the NG though. I'm not really sure how the national guard works either, is it like the reserves where I could go to school full time while I'm in? The way I see it I'd rather be a medic in the Army than the Air Force because most Air Force medics who arent PJs don't see much in the feild and I want the combat medic experience if I go that route, so thats why I'm leaning towards the Army reserve at the moment. Of course if I could have a good shot at getting a firefighter job in the Air NG that would change things a lot.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Anthony, No disrespect is intended.

    You have asked this on about 6 different start up posts. How many more are you going to start asking the same thing?

    Why not stay with one general post on "How do I become a Firefighter"?

    Also there are plenty of explanations in this section and in Hiring to answer all your questions. Read them and heed their responses.

    Good luck on your trek to earn a badge.

    Fair enough man from now on I'll keep my questions in this thread.

  14. #14
    Forum Member sredish's Avatar
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    get your paramedic at a college where you can use the credit towards your degree and focus on that.

  15. #15
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    My path (Post High School):

    1. College (Communications)
    2. Corporate world ("life experience")
    3. EMT School
    4. Volunteer
    5. Hired

    If I were to do it again:

    1. Military (Marine Corps or Navy - SEAL program)
    2. College (preferably a tangible craft like engineering)
    3. EMT School
    4. Volunteer
    5. Learn a craft while volunteering (framing, electrician, etc.)
    6. Hired

  16. #16
    Worldwide Menace DFurtman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RHoffman View Post
    I just joined this forum, but I think I can help on this one.

    Based on what you said, if I were you:

    Decide where you want to go to college - do not miss out on college if you have the chance to go, then join the closest Air National Guard (ANG) unit to your chosen college as a Fire Fighter or EMT (separate jobs in the Air Force) go to basic training and tech school as soon as you can after graduating high school. Then the AF trains you to become either profession and you have it out of the way before starting college - and you got PAID to learn it!

    As a member of the ANG, let them pay for your college (4 year degree, Paramedic or Fire Fighter at a tech college depending on what job you choose for the Guard, etc) any degree you want! Going to college right now while in the Guard is a NO BRAINER....I have troops that are making $$ going to college while their classmates are accumulating massive amounts of debt.

    To maximize your benefits in the Guard, enlist for 6 years - you might qualify for a 15K sign on bonus. If you choose to get out after your 6 you would have 6 years experience as a FF or Medic, and possibly a 4 year college degree that was PAID FOR and you'll be what - 24? While you're in college you could join a local volunteer department as well. Think of the experience you could gain in those 6 years before you start applying for full time positions.

    Not tooting my horn - just letting you know what the military can really do. I was an Active Duty Air Force Medic for 5 years after getting my 4 year degree and the AF paid off a large chunk of my student loans. Then I joined the ANG who will pay off all of my student loans by the end of my current enlistment, AND will pay for me to go to school, AND I have the Post 9/11 GI Bill sitting on standby if I wanted to go back to school full time. Not to sound like a recruiter, but The AIR NATIONAL GUARD cannot be beat, seriously! (side note: I'm probably biased, but the AF is by far the best lifestyle of any of the military branches - just ask anyone in the Army how they fell about the AF...haha). In 5 years in the Guard I've been to Africa twice, Europe, Hawaii, Peurto Rico, Iraq (totally voluntarily), will be going to Honduras this summer, and when I was on Active Duty I lived in Alaska for 5 years livin' the dream.

    Regarding the Active Duty route you talked about when you brought up being a PJ, there are definetely easier ways to get your FF badge than becoming a PJ just to get your Paramedic. That career path is NO JOKE - they are machines, best job in the AF if you ask me! If you would like to go that route then enlist on Active Duty and then get out and pursue your FF because while on AD as a PJ you won't have much time for pursuing anything else.

    So, if you don't choose PJ:
    Pick a college.
    Join the closest ANG unit to your college to be a FF or EMT
    Go to basic training and tech school
    Come back and go to college while being a member of the ANG
    Join a local volunteer FD
    Graduate debt free
    Apply for your full time badge
    Live the dream!

    If you have any questions about the ANG ask away.

    Ryan
    AnthonyW,

    I quoted Ryan as he is quite correct in his information. Read it and heed it! Personally, I went a slightly different route..

    Graduate HS in 1997, joined Active Duty US Navy.
    Served in Navy until 2005
    Joined MN Air Natl. Guard (148th) and trained as a firefighter in 2006. I had to wait nearly a year for the slot to open up, but it was worth it. Resigned the ANG in 2010 to accept a civilian DoD Firefighter position..
    (Some may look down on resigning a military position, but as an E-5, ANG does not pay the bills. I was working temp jobs and minimum wage until I got hired.)

    ANG recruiters only recruit for their base. If they have a fire department unit on base, they will need manpower. Guard drill days are basically 8 hour days.. No doing 24's unless you already have an arrangement with the higher ups. Of course you're not going to get as much experience running calls nonstop, but you will get valuable training. In the 4 years I was there, On top of my basic stuff, I also got my Hazmat Tech, Driver-Operator for Pumper, ARFF truck and Mobile water supply, Telecommunicator 1 and 2, Instructor 1, Inspector 1 and Officer 1.

    In the time I was with the ANG, most of my training and experiences came while volunteering in the community. I volunteered for as long as I was in the ANG and with all the experience I gained, I was quickly hired at a military base as a civilian. Since I have been with my base, I've become certified in Driver/Operator-Aerial and Wildland Firefighter 2.

    If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask here or PM me.

    -Damien

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    what state are you in or what state do you want to work in??

    5. get emt and then paramedic

    go to college and apply while taking college classes
    That's mostly what FD's are looking for now days. They want ALS (EMT-I and EMT-P) more than they do someone with Firefighter certifications because EMS is getting to be the FD's priority.
    Unit 71 - Probationary Firefighter / First Responder
    Bossier Parish Fire District #1

  18. #18
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    My current position: Division Chief
    My path to get hired:
    1. High school graduation
    2. Fire technology courses
    3. Basic fire academy
    4. Hired as a single function paramedic by large metro California fire department – paid to go to paramedic school – 20 years old
    5. Hired by big city department as a firefighter. 18 months later promoted to firefighter paramedic
    Promoted to BC and returned to school to get formal education. Was 9 classes short of an AA degree 7 years ago. Completes an AA, Bachelors, and recently a Masters.

    If I were to do it again I would go straight to college and not worry about the fire department. We are not hiring too many 18-22 year olds. Since this is the case, you should use your time wisely. Getting a bachelors degree will put you well ahead of the testing crowd. Additionally, it will greatly assist you with promotions once you get hired. Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint!
    Good luck with your decision
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

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