i just got out of the army serving 5 years, with an honorable discharge. I'm looking to apply asap within the greater northwest/ mountain west states.
I always hear about veterans preference etc... how much does it help?
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10-11-2011, 06:55 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
how much does prior military help?
10-11-2011, 07:37 PM #2
- Join Date
- May 2008
- Dallas, TX
If you test well it helps a lot. They are gimme points that can get you a much better position, but they don't help if you don't test well. Take every test you can, learn what is on the tests, and study it. You will learn what I mean very quickly, and if you don't then maybe look at a different career. Lots of jobs in Washington, Oregon and Colorado. At least in comparison to most other states.
10-11-2011, 08:36 PM #3
You need to contact the jurisdiction(s) you are interested in applying to, and find out from them exactly what if any veterans preferences they may offer. Many places differ."Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."
10-11-2011, 08:47 PM #4
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
Besides if a city gives preference points
The military service has matured you over some your age and it is noticed during the hiring process
10-12-2011, 02:00 PM #5
It's quite noticeable throughout this thread and houses across the nation that military history is very beneficial. Many members throughout the forum has military backgrounds. It shows on record that you are completely familiar with a structured work environment, which many can't handle not being the "top dog".
In a personal case, I have no veterans points to claim, and was recently bumped from #1 to #4 after veterans points were applied to a small city department.
Thank you for your service, and good luck with your new career path.
10-14-2011, 11:22 AM #6
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
- Southern California
Thanks for your service! Here is an article from my book, The Aspiring Firefightres Two Year Plan. I think it will answer most of your questions.
Candidates who have served our country in the Armed Forces have a
huge advantage over those who have not. It is generally believed that while
military veterans may not have as many certificates and fire science units as
other candidates (they were busy serving our country), they offer so much
There is no substitute for life experience. The personal growth a young
man or woman experiences in the military is second to none. This growth is
of course magnified depending on the assignments held. Many of those who
join the military at a young age grow up very rapidly when put into dangerous
Being assigned to the front line is not required to get “credit” for serving in
the military. Fire departments realize that there are many support roles that
require dedication and commitment. While there is only one person on the
nozzle that puts out the fire, there are numerous other assignments that need
to take place on the fire ground. It is important that a firefighter be willing to
work in a support role for the good of the team.
The fire service is a para-military organization. Many of the common
terms in the fire service, such as Captain and Lieutenant, were taken directly
from the military. Words like code, honor, commitment, and integrity are
clearly understood by those in the military. These qualities are also extremely
important in the fire service, because firefighters are held to a higher standard
than the average person in the community.
Men and women with military backgrounds are usually very mature,
regardless of their age. They understand the need to get along with others,
especially with people who come from backgrounds different from their own.
Military people demonstrate respect for authority and understand the chain
of command. The fire service operates on the same hierarchy principle as
Physical fitness is emphasized in the military. As a result, military men
and women are usually in very good shape. This is extremely important to
the fire service, because the number one reason entry-level candidates fail
out of the academy is due to poor physical fitness. In addition, a physically
fit firefighter will miss less time due to injury than a firefighter who is not fit.
Military personnel have been taught the importance of a life-long physical
fitness program and the importance of proper diet. These good habits will be
shared with the firefighters in the station.
Military men and women are used to working in a structured environment.
They understand commitment and the need to work until the job is completed.
They are used to working for long periods of time in less than ideal conditions.
They understand the importance of doing something right the first time.
Similar to the fire department, people’s lives are impacted if things are not
kept in a constant state of operational readiness. Firefighters must check
out their equipment each and every day. They must know the intricacies of
each tool kept on the engine or truck. Training and continuing education are
essential to the fire service. It is imperative that firefighters are able to work
unsupervised; completion of a job or task is a reflection of them.
Getting along in the fire station is critically important to being successful
in the fire service. Courtesy to fellow firefighters is critical. Cleaning up after
oneself is expected. This is one of the first things learned in Basic Training
in the military.
One of the strengths found in military men and women, however, is also
commonly a cause of strife during their probationary year. People who have
earned rank in the military are used to giving orders. As a rookie firefighter
you are expected to take orders, not give them. Humility is an extremely
important quality to possess as a rookie firefighter.
Rookie firefighters who have spent time in the military are often older
than the average candidate. It is not uncommon for an older probationary
firefighter to be working under the tutelage of a much younger senior firefighter,
engineer, or even lieutenant or captain. If the rookie firefighter does not have
the proper mind set, he or she will be in for a difficult probationary year.
If you are still in the military and are interested in a career in the fire
service, it is important that you start making provisions NOW. If possible,
put yourself in a position to get fire service-related training such as Medic or
Corpsman. Hazardous Materials and firefighter training will also be beneficial.
Lastly, work on general education courses so you can earn your Associates
degree. Start taking online classes NOW.
Do not be intimidated by all of the candidates who have every certification
under the sun. They were able to obtain these as full-time students while you
were busy fulfilling your commitment to the American people.
A candidate who is an EMT, possesses related experience as a reserve
or volunteer firefighter, and is active taking fire science courses is usually at
the top of his or her game. Get your qualifications, learn how to take a fire
department interview, and earn your badge.Paul Lepore
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