Thread: Going from Contract to Agency
04-29-2011, 03:03 AM #1
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
Going from Contract to Agency
I am seeking advice from experienced agency employees regarding my situation. I am 26 years old, and here is a little background on myself...
Bachelor's Degree in Fire Services Administration
Associate's Degree in Wildland Firefighting & Fuels Management
Associate's Degree in Fire Protection Technology (Structural)
Associate's Degree in Management & Supervisory Development
Fluent in American Sign Language
8 years of wildland experience both on hand crews and engines, advancing from Firefighter II, to Firefighter I, to Engine Boss Trainee, to my current position as Engine Boss (last 5 years) for a reputable private contract company based in Oregon.
Completed a Structural Firefighting internship where I earned my NFPA Firefighter I.
EMT instructor experience for a local community college.
Currently from September to June I work as an EMT & Head of Security for a private elementary school in Portland, OR (administrative position).
I am trying to find a full-time, year round position with a government agency that would allow me the opportunity to fight fire during the summer, and provide other forestry related services during the off season. I feel that given my education and work experience I would be a competitive candidate for a year round position. The problem that I see with my goal is that I have never been affiliated with a government wildland agency. I have been told by some government employees that if I wanted to go from contract to agency I would have to start back at the bottom of the ladder as a seasonal employee, and slowly work my way back up the ladder. I currently earn $500 a day as an Engine Boss/EMT, but am willing to take a pay cut if I can have steady year round employment with benefits. I have never received any feedback regarding the dozens of applications I have submitted through USAJobs, and I feel that it might be because I am currently not affiliated with a government agency. And yes, I have made the necessary follow-up calls to individual field offices and have received no help.
Does anyone have any advice or insight about how a contract Engine Boss can become affiliated with a government agency? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for reading and have a great day.
04-29-2011, 08:07 AM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
04-30-2011, 12:14 AM #3
Don't give up hope. Right now budgets are tight in the feds, and engines are being dropped in some locations.
You have until age 37 to be able to make a career with the feds. One piece of advice... be willing to go anywhere for a year or two if offered a permant job. You may have to start as a permanent-seasonal with a 13/13 or 18/8 position. But once you get your foot in the door, you can move up...usually by moving to other places.
05-01-2011, 07:49 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
Fire49: Thank you for the link I will be pursuing this further. I appreciate it!
RxFire: Thank you for the response. I will definitely not give up, I am very motivated and always follow things through until I reach my goals. I have seen the budget issue affect my local forest ranger districts, I know for a fact several Oregon districts are choosing to not staff their type 6 engines this summer due to budget issues, leaving more contract work my current company (because of our high performance evaluations we are the first type 6 engine dispatched in our two closest national forests). I am more than happy to relocate in order to have a full time job, and I understand that a good way to advance is to be adaptable and willing to bounce around for a few years. Could you explain a little bit about the 13/13 or 18/8 positions? I'm not familiar with those terms. Thank you for your time.
05-04-2011, 02:24 AM #5
The 13/13 (said as "13 & 13") and 18/8 is sometimes also called 13/26 or 18/26. This refers to your minimum work tour per calander year.
The year is 26 pay periods long (2 weeks per pay period). For clarity, let's call it 13/26... you are guaranteed 13 pay periods of work... anything over that is bonus. Therefore, the 18/26 is 18 pp out of the 26. Some places even have a 25/1 (25/26), where you work all but 2 weeks of a year. Then there is the 26/0.. permanent full time.
It's looking like my district will be dropping a type 6 engine, but it's only a shell game in reality. It may be staffed by a small fuels crew who would use it in place of a regular pickup and be available for fires.
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