1. #1
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    Default My future as a possible firefighter

    Hello everyone and sorry if I'm posting this in the wrong section.

    I'm 18 and looking for a career in fire (firefighting to begin with)

    I've looked around online for questions I've had and was answered mostly but I'd still like some confirmation on those answers.

    1) one of the best methods to get an advantage at being hired as a paid fighter is to having a paramedic license, correct?
    -for this I plan to get my emt-b license within a year or two as I continue my college studies. afterwards I plan on getting some field experience (1 or 2 years) then applying for a paramedic program.

    2) is this a good way of reaching toward my goal or is there another preferred method?
    -such a getting more field experience, getting my emt-I first, getting a paramedicine degree instead, etc.

    After I get my paramedic license/degree, I plan on getting some field experience of about 5 years as from what I've been reading in some job applications, this its the minimum time to be working as a paramedic (I still might plan to work a few extra years as to get a slightly bette lead on others with similar experience)

    3) thoughts, tips, opinions on the above mentioned?

    Right now I'm in my second year of college finishing up my core classes and looking towards a degree in fire science. I've read that an associates degree is enough and a bachelors and up is for higher ranks (yeah?) Thing is I don't want to be a basic firefighter the whole time and would like to increase in position through time and experience.

    4) should I shoot for a bachelors straightaway or go for my associates or even masters?
    -I plan on spending the least amount of time In school later in life so I don't take away from anything that is going on but also don't want to overdo my education and later have to retake courses due to all the time that had passed when I first got my degrees and can't remember what I learned.

    Somewhere throughout all this or after, I plan on volunteering as a firefighter to get some experience in and maybe bump up my chances slighty at turning it into a paid career.

    5) anything I should do to raise my chances at becoming a volunteer? Steps on what I should look towards doing?

    alright, I'm a little confused on some things such a firefighter-1 licenses and firefighter-2. I have to go through these programs to become a volunteer right? Or just a full time firefighter? Or not needed or used as replacements for the fire science degree? Very lost on all this.

    6) read above, totally lost. anything you want to tell me relating to this as I'm completely lost and pretty much know nothing about the topic. Tips, suggestions, etc, are welcomed.

    If I do end up being hired as a paid firefighter somewhere in the next few decades here are more questions

    I plan to maybe eventually have a family (wife and kids) to those with families.

    7) how do you feel your career impacts your family with your work schedule and risks you take daily? Firefighting seems more like a single mans (women) career.
    -just add things from personal experience or the usual tips and suggestions here.

    Relating to the above question

    8) are there any decently paid careers I would be able to get at this point with all my education and experience that wouldn't put me at great risk as I might have a family and wouldn't want to be in danger of getting too hurt or even dying?
    -relating to a fire career that is.

    Now I won't lie, I care about what I might be making in the future if I plan on having a family.

    9) if I stick around being a firefighter for a while and looking for promotions, how soon can I expect something at bare minimums throughout the ranks?
    -5, 10, 15 years? Will I be using a walker once I make a decent living? an I even going to have a chance at a possible promotion within 20 years or is this a, "the position is filled, wait until he quits, gets fired, or dies" type deal?

    10) any other tips that will help me become a better candidate at being a firefighter? Anything you'd like to tell me? General tips or suggestions relating to the career?

    I have a few more questions but my finger is sore as I just typed this all up on my phone

    I'm sure some on my questions have been answers before successfully so feel free to link me to your best sources and I'll be glad to read up.

    -lyme

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    Quote Originally Posted by lyme View Post
    Hello everyone and sorry if I'm posting this in the wrong section.

    I'm 18 and looking for a career in fire (firefighting to begin with)

    I've looked around online for questions I've had and was answered mostly but I'd still like some confirmation on those answers.

    1) one of the best methods to get an advantage at being hired as a paid fighter is to having a paramedic license, correct?
    -for this I plan to get my emt-b license within a year or two as I continue my college studies. afterwards I plan on getting some field experience (1 or 2 years) then applying for a paramedic program.

    2) is this a good way of reaching toward my goal or is there another preferred method?
    -such a getting more field experience, getting my emt-I first, getting a paramedicine degree instead, etc.

    After I get my paramedic license/degree, I plan on getting some field experience of about 5 years as from what I've been reading in some job applications, this its the minimum time to be working as a paramedic (I still might plan to work a few extra years as to get a slightly bette lead on others with similar experience)

    3) thoughts, tips, opinions on the above mentioned?

    Right now I'm in my second year of college finishing up my core classes and looking towards a degree in fire science. I've read that an associates degree is enough and a bachelors and up is for higher ranks (yeah?) Thing is I don't want to be a basic firefighter the whole time and would like to increase in position through time and experience.

    4) should I shoot for a bachelors straightaway or go for my associates or even masters?
    -I plan on spending the least amount of time In school later in life so I don't take away from anything that is going on but also don't want to overdo my education and later have to retake courses due to all the time that had passed when I first got my degrees and can't remember what I learned.

    Somewhere throughout all this or after, I plan on volunteering as a firefighter to get some experience in and maybe bump up my chances slighty at turning it into a paid career.

    5) anything I should do to raise my chances at becoming a volunteer? Steps on what I should look towards doing?

    alright, I'm a little confused on some things such a firefighter-1 licenses and firefighter-2. I have to go through these programs to become a volunteer right? Or just a full time firefighter? Or not needed or used as replacements for the fire science degree? Very lost on all this.

    6) read above, totally lost. anything you want to tell me relating to this as I'm completely lost and pretty much know nothing about the topic. Tips, suggestions, etc, are welcomed.

    If I do end up being hired as a paid firefighter somewhere in the next few decades here are more questions

    I plan to maybe eventually have a family (wife and kids) to those with families.

    7) how do you feel your career impacts your family with your work schedule and risks you take daily? Firefighting seems more like a single mans (women) career.
    -just add things from personal experience or the usual tips and suggestions here.

    Relating to the above question

    8) are there any decently paid careers I would be able to get at this point with all my education and experience that wouldn't put me at great risk as I might have a family and wouldn't want to be in danger of getting too hurt or even dying?
    -relating to a fire career that is.

    Now I won't lie, I care about what I might be making in the future if I plan on having a family.

    9) if I stick around being a firefighter for a while and looking for promotions, how soon can I expect something at bare minimums throughout the ranks?
    -5, 10, 15 years? Will I be using a walker once I make a decent living? an I even going to have a chance at a possible promotion within 20 years or is this a, "the position is filled, wait until he quits, gets fired, or dies" type deal?

    10) any other tips that will help me become a better candidate at being a firefighter? Anything you'd like to tell me? General tips or suggestions relating to the career?

    I have a few more questions but my finger is sore as I just typed this all up on my phone

    I'm sure some on my questions have been answers before successfully so feel free to link me to your best sources and I'll be glad to read up.

    -lyme
    Just a quick glance over the questions I can tell you the following:

    Your answers can mostly be found by using the search button up top.

    Your answers will depend on the department you choose to start your career at.

    If you're looking for both money and an easy way to obtain it, you picked a bad profession.
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

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    what state are you in???


    if I read correctly it would be a number of years before you even apply to a department??? is that correct??? how many years do you calculate it would be from today??


    Yes it is an adjustment for family, holidays, birthdays, nights, weekends

    but to me you have more family time especially during the week when everyone else is working

    other fields fire alarm tec, fire sprinkler tech, fire extinguishers, safety jobs,

    fire protection engineer!!!!!!!!!!

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    Well.....

    You do not want to know what I really think.....


    I will say this... I always worry about the guys that get into a profession only to pursue climbing the ladder before they get the job...

    You need to get your priorities straight young'en.

    I applaude you want to get college under your belt. Fire Science is useful, but several degrees will apply as well.

    I support your wish to be a firefighter/paramedic. Someone has to step up and stop the bleeding, crack the ribs, etc...

    Slow down and learn to do the job before you worry about rank. Promotions are usually tied to your toolbox and LOS... and how well you can pass any tests along the way. If you worry about taking a rank away from someone... then you don't deserve it. That is a bit overreaching and self serving...

    Do not confuse this with promotions that come with time and experience, that you earn. The best leaders are natural born... people just want to be around those guys... and that guy is usually pretty humble about it.

    Face it... this is a dangerous occupation, there is no way to slide by without exposure to danger, unless you are a very good slouch. But those guys usually don't get away with it for long.

    Before you plan the rest of your life like a scripted movie, take a time out and just learn to live life for what it is... otherwise you might miss something along the way.

    Sorry for the reality check my young friend.

    Like mentioned...

    if you want to make a difference... become a firefighter,

    if you want to be rich... choose something else.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    Quote Originally Posted by lyme View Post
    Hello everyone and sorry if I'm posting this in the wrong section.

    I'm 18 and looking for a career in fire (firefighting to begin with)

    I've looked around online for questions I've had and was answered mostly but I'd still like some confirmation on those answers.
    What is your ultimate goal? Do you even know?

    Quote Originally Posted by lyme View Post
    1) one of the best methods to get an advantage at being hired as a paid fighter is to having a paramedic license, correct?
    -for this I plan to get my emt-b license within a year or two as I continue my college studies. afterwards I plan on getting some field experience (1 or 2 years) then applying for a paramedic program.
    Not necessarily true, depends on your department, we don't run medical but many of us are emt-basics because it's offered and comes in handy quite often, also our volunteer departments run medical so we can use it when we're double hatting

    Quote Originally Posted by lyme View Post
    2) is this a good way of reaching toward my goal or is there another preferred method?
    -such a getting more field experience, getting my emt-I first, getting a paramedicine degree instead, etc.

    After I get my paramedic license/degree, I plan on getting some field experience of about 5 years as from what I've been reading in some job applications, this its the minimum time to be working as a paramedic (I still might plan to work a few extra years as to get a slightly bette lead on others with similar experience)

    3) thoughts, tips, opinions on the above mentioned?
    Again, where do you plan on working and what is your ultimate goal?

    Quote Originally Posted by lyme View Post
    Right now I'm in my second year of college finishing up my core classes and looking towards a degree in fire science. I've read that an associates degree is enough and a bachelors and up is for higher ranks (yeah?) Thing is I don't want to be a basic firefighter the whole time and would like to increase in position through time and experience.

    4) should I shoot for a bachelors straightaway or go for my associates or even masters?
    -I plan on spending the least amount of time In school later in life so I don't take away from anything that is going on but also don't want to overdo my education and later have to retake courses due to all the time that had passed when I first got my degrees and can't remember what I learned.

    Somewhere throughout all this or after, I plan on volunteering as a firefighter to get some experience in and maybe bump up my chances slighty at turning it into a paid career.
    No matter the choice of department, I can't imagine anyone here telling you to not finish the highest level of schooling you can. I'd hate for you to find out this isn't for you (which many, many, MANY people do) and you're stuck with a niche degree.

    Quote Originally Posted by lyme View Post
    5) anything I should do to raise my chances at becoming a volunteer? Steps on what I should look towards doing?
    Learn a trade or two, too many young guys come in never seeing a chainsaw much less operating one. It doesn't take much.

    In regards to what you should look towards doing, (you're not very good at conveying what topic your questions are on) are you talking about the choice of volunteering or not or what to expect while volunteering?

    The answer is volunteer if possible, no questions asked. It helps open your eyes and doubles your chance of gaining top notch experience. Expect to work your *** off.

    Quote Originally Posted by lyme View Post
    alright, I'm a little confused on some things such a firefighter-1 licenses and firefighter-2. I have to go through these programs to become a volunteer right? Or just a full time firefighter? Or not needed or used as replacements for the fire science degree? Very lost on all this.

    6) read above, totally lost. anything you want to tell me relating to this as I'm completely lost and pretty much know nothing about the topic. Tips, suggestions, etc, are welcomed.
    Full time, while many volunteers expect at least FF1. Regardless, get them as it's your building blocks to the rest of your career. Fire science degrees are wonderful but its to supplement FF1 and FF2 as, I've said before, your FF1 & 2 accreditations are what teach you how to fight fire, everything else is extra.

    Quote Originally Posted by lyme View Post
    If I do end up being hired as a paid firefighter somewhere in the next few decades here are more questions

    I plan to maybe eventually have a family (wife and kids) to those with families.

    7) how do you feel your career impacts your family with your work schedule and risks you take daily? Firefighting seems more like a single mans (women) career.
    -just add things from personal experience or the usual tips and suggestions here.

    Relating to the above question
    It's what you put into it. Seems like you want to show up, spend 24 hours there and go home and live life which is understandable but if you put your extracurricular activities as a priority, you'll be disappointed. I have a family at home and see them regularly even while hatting at 2-3 departments at a time and working at the state academy, it's fairly easy. I still have time to do fun things but I'm a professional firefighter and spend a majority of my off time focusing on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by lyme View Post
    8) are there any decently paid careers I would be able to get at this point with all my education and experience that wouldn't put me at great risk as I might have a family and wouldn't want to be in danger of getting too hurt or even dying?
    -relating to a fire career that is.

    Now I won't lie, I care about what I might be making in the future if I plan on having a family.
    This is where I tell you the bad news.

    There are countless decently paid careers with minimal risk in this world. This is not one of them. I could be wrong but doubt that I am....you want to be a firefighter in name only. If you truly wanted to be a firefighter in every sense of the world, you'd accept that there are inherent risks in this job and the pay does not reflect it well. You can make your likelihood of returning home everyday increase by how much you put into your knowledge and skills but the right to return home is forfeited when you accept the job. Granted, you may never face a moment of actual life and death but the threat is there.

    Quote Originally Posted by lyme View Post
    9) if I stick around being a firefighter for a while and looking for promotions, how soon can I expect something at bare minimums throughout the ranks?
    -5, 10, 15 years? Will I be using a walker once I make a decent living? an I even going to have a chance at a possible promotion within 20 years or is this a, "the position is filled, wait until he quits, gets fired, or dies" type deal?

    10) any other tips that will help me become a better candidate at being a firefighter? Anything you'd like to tell me? General tips or suggestions relating to the career?
    You don't even have a job, why are you worried about moving up the ranks?

    Quote Originally Posted by lyme View Post

    I have a few more questions but my finger is sore as I just typed this all up on my phone

    I'm sure some on my questions have been answers before successfully so feel free to link me to your best sources and I'll be glad to read up.

    -lyme

    You really need to figure out what you want from the fire service. Please don't be mistaken, it does not owe you anything but if you give 100% of yourself to it, it'll give you everything. I fear that this is not a career path for you, sorry.
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

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    C'mon tajm....one post from this kid doesn't shine enough light to foresee inadequacies that are gonna keep him out of the brotherhood. let's not fault him for high hopes and dreams.

    Kid, Don't worry with the intangibles. Worry for the job. Put your heart into the lifestyle and always thirst for more. Eat sleep and breath for the fire service and you'll find a way in. When you make it in, never be satisfied, never get out-worked and never stop learning. In time, If you earn it, you will start hearing people tell you that you should look into the promotional process. It's shouldn't be something that you decide you're ready for, it's gonna be something that your peers decide your ready for.

    You will never go hungry on this job and neither will your kids. But it's not the money that keeps the brothers together. It's much more. You will be rewarded in more ways than you can imagine, just don't make any plans to join the upper tax bracket.
    "It's a living thing brian..."

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    Thank you all that posted to answer some of my questions.

    I'm currently residing in California to those that may want to know but I'm susceptible to moving as I feel no strong attachment to the state :P

    fire49, yes, you are correct. I'm still quite a few years off from even applying to a department. Right now I'm just asking around firefighters that have gone through all this any tips they can offer to someone wanting to join their career as to what they recommend on me doing differently than they did as to not make the same mistakes. (eg. have more years of experience as a paramedic, more schooling, not jump in directly to the career but do other things first, etc)

    I'm also not sure exactly how many years I am off from even applying. I definitively have a lot of school years left in me as I will be studying for what I think is going to be a Bachelors in fire science as well as the time to get my license as an emt-b (maybe emt-i) and paramedic license and getting all the experience I can get. I imagine a timeline of about more or less 10 years? I have no rush as long as I get there.

    ah thank you for also answering 7 & 8. I'll look into those careers as backups in case I ever feel that firefighting is no longer in my and my family's best interest due to all the risks and would like to take a more backseat career.


    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight
    I will say this... I always worry about the guys that get into a profession only to pursue climbing the ladder before they get the job...
    As an answer to this, I'd like to make a clarification on what I previously meant. I don't plan on becoming a firefighter (if possible) and immediately looking for promotions here and there to make big bucks and the such. And even though I'm only interested in the job I'm applying for, I still like to know if in the future, I will be presented with opportunities for a promotion to a different part of the company of if I'll only be allowed to do the same thing until I quit or get fired. That's really all I was asking here but came off giving the wrong impression.

    Face it... this is a dangerous occupation, there is no way to slide by without exposure to danger, unless you are a very good slouch. But those guys usually don't get away with it for long.
    For this I didn't mean being a non-risk firefighter. I know that being a firefighters takes risks and is a dangerous occupation. I accept that fully and am at hands with. I was asking that somewhere throughout 10-30 years or so into the career, I'm no longer going to be so physically fit and be more vulnerable to health problems and may not be so up to taking all those risks with a possible family. I wanted to know what careers I could transfer to after all my work and knowledge I've picked up. Though fire49 gave be a nice rundown of other careers I could transfer to with less risks that firefighters run into.

    Before you plan the rest of your life like a scripted movie, take a time out and just learn to live life for what it is... otherwise you might miss something along the way.
    Will keep that in mind. I don't plan on rushing into this at all as much as I'd like to. The drive is just as nice as the destination I'm going to.. hopefully

    if you want to be rich... choose something else.
    haha, don't worry, never lived a rich life, I don't plan on living one now and am perfectly happy with it. as long as I don't go broke and homeless. but that may be due to other problems xP

    truckedup133, I really enjoyed reading your post as well and will keep everything you said in mind especially the last paragraph.. and the second one... and the first :P

    Quote Originally Posted by tajm611
    Learn a trade or two, too many young guys come in never seeing a chainsaw much less operating one. It doesn't take much.
    I'm quite fine in this aspect. I'm been working a part time job in construction for a few years throughout high school and college and am very well off in using multiple power tools in the correct manner as well as as other general things relating to construction and house cleaning

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    For an 18yo you seem to be asking some good questions. You seem to have your head on fairly straight, and you present as very ambitious. It sounds like you've already been asking around.

    You'll do fine.

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    Dont think too hard about what training you may need to get certain things, just take as much training as you can about all different aspects of the job. The more training you have the more valuable you become to both the people you serve, and yourself. When I was young, and not married I took all the classes I could possibly take. I spent 2 summers traveling all over the county taking every class that came out. I also got my EMT cert and ended up eventually getting my EMT-CC and working for a paid EMS agency for 11 years. I also ended up getting my Haz-Mat Technician cert and now serve on my county Haz-Mat team. I got my Fire Investigator and Codes Officer certs also. Roll that all up in a neat resume and I now work for my state as a Fire Safety Rep, doing a little of everything; Codes compliance, fire safety, investigating any fires in my area. Its a good living, great job, and I spend time with my family even as a volunteer fire Captain nights and weekends. Heck, this past weekend I was in town with my family planning on a full days worth of errands and things when we got an MVA, my wife and daughter told me to go, they went with me and my wife helped put the equipment back in service afterwords...
    It is what you make it, and what you put into it. My advice to you if you wish to hear it, just join a volunteer agency for both fire and EMS. Get your FFI and EMT certs when you can, and take all available training that is offered while you can. Go to drills, keep quiet and listen to the senior firefighters and officers, learn. Get experience as a volunteer while finishing your degree. I am still working on a degree in Fire Science/Homeland Security that I started in 1999!!! So the degree wont do much for you other than giving you more knowledge and helping you advance in the career sector LATER ON! You need to get experience and skill first, and prove your weight to the officers. Dont act like your fecal matter doesnt stink either once you get all of your training, you must maintain the attitude that "You must learn something new every day", if you dont learn something new each day than you didnt apply yourself enough. Always strive to learn, refine, and update your knowledge and skills, than share it with others that listen. This isnt about being the best "firefighter", its about being the best "FIRE DEPARTMENT" as a whole. Look to improve your entire dept or even your entire county, not just yourself. We are here for the people we protect, remember that.
    Sorry for the lecture there...I started to ramble on at the end but my mind was working overtime with the ideas and I wanted to get them out before I lost them, old age will do that to you, I think, what was I saying? Im over the hill I guess, wait....what hill?
    Stay safe and good luck to you in your decisions, I hope it all works out for you in the end, but whatever you decide you will have the brotherhood to back you up and guide you...if you listen.
    "Amatuers train until they get it right, professionals train until they cant get it wrong."

    Brian Jones, aka "Moose"
    Captain, Carlisle Fire Department

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    so you wil be in late 20's before you even start applying at departments???

    not saying that is old, but I would suggest you get what certs calif requires just to apply as soon as possible and start applying if you really want to be a ff

    You can work on education as you do that, and also once you get hired, alot of online programs

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    A single quote from a song kept popping into my head reading your post.

    "And if you wanna hear god laugh, tell him your plans."

    What makes you want to be a firefighter? Like many have said before me, this is not the job to slouch at or be in for the money. That type of attitude will certaintly get you hurt.

    I agree with getting your education. That can never be a bad thing. If I were in your shoes I would volunteer at a department while going to college, and pick up a job on the side. Learn the fire service and see what its about from the inside before you devise a plan that will take up to the next 10 years to get a job you don't necessarily know if you want.

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    Nothing counts, until you have a badge pinned on your shirt.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Thanks for all the replies guys and sorry for the long delay on my reply but these past few days (that turned into weeks) have been pretty hectic. It was the time for fall class registrations and you can just imagine all of us fighting to get into classes. (I managed to get into four classes!! I bugged the crap outta the professors to let me stay in the class for a few days) and getting accustumed to my new school/work schedule.


    Anyways, these are my plans as of now:

    I'm planning on getting my ETM-B in my current college which I should be able to complete by the end of the Fall semester next year (or Spring, not sure if I can take both EMT courses at the same time) because I didn't make it into the EMT-B classes this year (still not enough seniority in registrations) Though right now I'm completing one of the last sets of my general ed classes and am working up to adegree in paramedicine. // I was originally planning on getting a cert to become a paramedic and getting a degree in fire science.

    Now after I get my EMT-B, I plan on getting some immediate experience (substituting my current job as part time construction worker) and finally getting my degree in para-medicine.

    Afterwards, I plan on going back for my degree in fire science or just see how my current situation is and see what is in my best interest both short term and long term.

    Now in regards to the firefighting aspect of all this. I really want to get into volunteering right away or just getting involved somehow with the fire department to get the feel for how it'll be in the future, get some experience and maybe come upon something that will push me to change career paths (better early than later I guess)

    Problem is, I looked online for my county and there is a message saying the Fire Department isn't taking any more volunteers. My question on this one is would it be really inappropriate of me to go down to the local fire stations and ask personally if they are taking any volunteers for anything, maybe desk work they need help with (I'm not exactly sure what I could help with) and if they expect on taking any firefighter volunteers in the future--maybe a waitlist I can get on or maybe even some spots I can apply to with an EMT-B.

    Or would a better alternative be go as far as I have to but find a fire department that is taking volunteers to get some experience in. I think I'll top out at around a 1.5 hour drive though; paying for gas is hell for me with the little work I have and all the fees I have to pay for classes.

    Also, is starting to apply in my late twenties really a bad move on my part and I should start applying sooner? what's the average age of new firefighters? I don't want to risk my chances of not getting in because I decided to push school first.

    One last question, I live in the southern part of California and I'm sure this will depend on many factors and I won't get a near solid answer, but for anyone that works as a firefighter and has chance for overtime. Do you prefer to enjoy your days off and do whatever you wish / spend them with friends&family, run overtime or have a side job?

    What I'm currently thinking is if I have chance for overtime, would it be more beneficial for me to do overtime than have a side career (say nursing or running ems calls) in california.


    Sorry about all the lame questions that I'm asking and plans I'm trying to work out but I'm just trying to ensure a more stable future plan than just winging it

  14. #14
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    California
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    Lyme,
    You are asking some really good questions. This forum is a great place to start as you will get a wide range of opinions. Ironically, we as firefighters do not necessarily agree on the path to take to get a badge. From an outsider's perspective this may not make sense. The reason we all are not in agreement is that the minimum requirements are generally 18 years old (maybe 21 depending on the department) and some basic physical requirements. The reality is that it is very unusual for an 18 year old to get hired. We have so many people who apply for the positions that we have a great selection of who we hire.
    Most of us took a different route to get here. I got hired in southern California at 20 years old. I have been on the job for 27 years. I am now intimately involved with hiring new firefighters and tend to shy away from hiring younger candidates as they frequently lack the maturity to live in the fire station with a group of people that may be their parents' age.
    Some firefighters served in the military prior to getting hired. This is a great way to learn life skills and to serve your country. We really respect this on the hiring interview. Others went to college and earned a bachelor's degree, some even a masters degree. This is impressive too. The challenge with this group is a lack of mechanical aptitude and real life experience because they have lived in dorms and many have never had to fend for themselves. Additionally, this group tends to question everything. This causes conflict in a paramilitary organization.
    So, where do you go from here? It's up to you. I am attaching a list of recommendations from one of my books called The Aspiring Firefighter's Two Year Plan. Follow it and you will be well on your way. Continue to ask questions to zero in on your plan. Good luck to you.
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

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