1. #1
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    Default Basic Operations Firefighter Academy as a Civilian

    Hey all, in Illinois now (at least up here in the Chicago area) the local fire academies like NIPSTA and Romeoville now allow non-fire department sponsored civilians to take part in their firefighter academies. You still cannot take the state exams to actually get certified, but you can go through the entire program and then once hired by a department or at least sponsored by one you can take the state exams and actually get certified as a firefighter.

    Does anyone know if departments will actually accept this as having a cert? Meaning, if they require you to be a FFII (which it's actually not called anymore, it's changed to Basic Operations Firefighter) will they accept your application and let you take part in the hiring process contingent upon passing the state exams upon possible hire? I know obviously it might set you apart in the process from those who haven't actually gone through an academy as you have had the training and experience and could just sit and take the test, but I wonder if departments that require you to be a certified firefighter to even apply/test would accept that and let you move forward in the process seeing as all you need to do is take the exam. I'm already a paramedic but fire is my ultimate goal. I'm in the hiring process with a number of departments and I've contacted everyone under the sun about getting on as a part-timer and my biggest thing is just finding a department that could at least sponsor me through an academy so I can get my cert, but I've looked into this civilian option as well. It's a lot of money and time to invest for something that may or may not be accepted. Ideally I'd like to get hired somewhere, of course, but I'd consider footing the bill and time myself to make it happen.

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    Default Academy

    I suppose that would be up to each individual department. But, taking and passing an academy is not passing the state exam so it's iffy. An academy may pass you but does that mean you can pass the state written test, not always.

    My suggestion is to get on a part time department and take the test through them.

    If you are still looking fro an academy check out Bensenville Fire Academy. They are running 2 classes a year with only about 16 students a class. There number is 630-350-3441

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BENV17 View Post
    I suppose that would be up to each individual department. But, taking and passing an academy is not passing the state exam so it's iffy. An academy may pass you but does that mean you can pass the state written test, not always.

    My suggestion is to get on a part time department and take the test through them.

    If you are still looking fro an academy check out Bensenville Fire Academy. They are running 2 classes a year with only about 16 students a class. There number is 630-350-3441
    Thanks a lot for the Bensenville option, I'll look into that. I definitely would much, much prefer to get on with a part-time department and am in contact/in the hiring process with a few, but just sorting out all options. Thanks again.

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    i fell into this category a year ago. i went through a fire academy as a civillian, i wont mention which one i went through to keep it clean. anyways, i passed the fire academy, and already had my paramedic cert, so all i needed to take my ff2 state test and i was all good to go. i contacted every single fire department around me that i knew had part time programs and even volunteer programs, and every single one shot me down. their famous words were call back when you get your ff2 cert. i finally got on with a department and got to take my state test, and now i have my state cert, but it took over a year to get it. my advice to you would be to keep trying to get onto a department or to find a department to sponser you, espically being a medic this should be somewhat easy. if not, you could always work some contracts until you get further with a fire department. or you could just do as you were planning, either way you will reach your goal as long as you keep trying. im not trying to be a buzz kill, i just want you to realize what might happen.

  5. #5
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    Yeah I'm definitely not going to go the route of joining an academy as a civilian just to hope I can get hired contingent upon passing the exam. The academy through Bensenville that BenV mentioned is the only one I'd consider because you're able to test once you're done with the academy and actually get certified. I'm in the hiring process with a lot of departments, full and part time, so eventually it'll happen.

    The kicker is I did get an offer for a part-time spot with a department last Friday that I interviewed informally with around the holidays. The offer, however, was on the table if I had my ff cert by now, which I don't. They wanted to be able to sponsor me but they just don't have in their budget to do so. Such a huge tease to think I finally got hired only to have that happen.

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