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  1. #1
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    Smile Am I on the right track?

    Just hoping for a little confidence boost and maybe some advice on what to do next. I really want to get hired at the first place I apply. I have about 2 years left in the Army I will have 10 years when I get out, I currently have a certificate in Fire Science and I need 5 more classes to have the AAS degree. During my time in the Army I have had plenty of combat time. I plan to start testing a year before I get out and my dream departments are San Antonio and Austin TX.

    SO what should I do next to improve my chances?


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    Where are you stationed now?? And will you be there the next two years

    Best course of action is get emt with a paramedic push

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Where are you stationed now?? And will you be there the next two years

    Best course of action is get emt with a paramedic push
    I'm stationed in Hawaii now but I'm moving to tx soon I will be there just short of 2 years.

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    when you're in Texas, save money for the training division and take their classes and apply for IFSAC credentials. Also take their EMT course and you will be set. Also, STAY IN SHAPE!
    Unit 71 - Probationary Firefighter / First Responder
    Bossier Parish Fire District #1

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    Self Deleted
    Last edited by arharris83; 02-17-2012 at 11:33 PM.

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    Very impressive that you are developing the plan two years before you get out.

    If you can nail the Paramedic, and steer clear of troubles with alcohol, drugs, the law, domestic violence, reckless driving, credit, unstable life, etc.... you will only have two barriers left to your goal: (1) the written test and (2) the oral boards/interviews. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THESE TWO BARRIERS.

    By the time you get out of the Army you should have already taken at least 20 written tests, and hopefully generated 3 or 4 oral boards and at best have a Chief's interview under your belt. Get up to speed...... It's a fast track out here, and It will take you two years to get to the level on those two items that will get you the job.

    A HUGE number of highly qualified veterans, paramedics, EMTs, nurses, FFs (from lesser or distant departments trying to get home) are your competition. They are taking every test they see in a 2/3 state area, and they are doing the interview improvement programs so they can get the job before you get up to their level.

    And also..... forget about one single department. You want to be on the eligibility lists of 5 or 6 or 7 departments, with your dream department included.

    Very impressive that you are developing your plan two years before you get out.

    Thank you for your service.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD2011 View Post
    And also..... forget about one single department. You want to be on the eligibility lists of 5 or 6 or 7 departments, with your dream department included.
    I couldn't say that any better. It is becoming harder and harder every year to get on with Texas fire departments. I know several people who have applied to more than 5 departments each, all with passed PAT and Civil Service tests who still do not have a job. Your military experience will be a big help to you as long as your DD-214 is clear. And like someone said above; drugs and criminal history need to be pretty good. Not to mention that most large departments will require a fairly good credit history.

    Depending on the department, your fire science degree may or may not help. If you can acquire IFSAC seals then great but departments such as Houston will still have you go though a fast track academy to train you to their standards. My opinion my be a bit tainted but I would wait to take paramedic school until you find out the requirements for each department you plan on applying for. There are still enough departments around who do not require you to be a paramedic, and I wouldn't waste the time and money on doing it for nothing. Unless of course you just want to be a paramedic which is your choice, just don't do it in anticipation of getting hired without finding out about the departments.

    You have a long road ahead and you are smart for starting now. But with 8 years of military, you should be used to jumping the hurdles. Good luck to you.
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
    http://thedarksideof911.blogspot.com/
    FTM-PTB-EGH
    IACOJ

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    In Texas it is best to get your paramedic before your fire cert

    Forgot to add on first response, SA and Austin are highly sought after

    If you have been following Austin, they have a minor hiring problem this year

    And SA sems to have had alot test and hiring process is long

    Suggest get on somewhere that will pay the bills than move up after a couple years

    Besides gi bill tx pays tution for fire classes

    Not sure if you have seen this;;;;

    http://www.tcfp.texas.gov/job_postings/jobs.asp

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    Wow thanks for all your advice! It seems pretty much unanimous that I should go to school for paramedic or at least EMT-B. I do want to finish my Fire science degree even though many of you have said its not as important I am so close to finishing it. Central Texas College offers a Parametric and EMT-B course and I should be able to enroll into that after I finish my AAS degree.

    As for applying at 5-7 departments I was trying to focus on departments that do not require FF certifications and will train in there own academy The only ones I found surfing the web was SA, Austin, Ft. worth, and Dallas.

    Are there more departments than that in Texas?

    Should I start looking into Academy's ( http://www.esd4.org/fire-academy ) to enroll into and use my GI bill when I get out so I will qualify for more departments?

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    One more question;
    what about federal firefighters on military installations?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecarroll84 View Post
    Are there more departments than that in Texas?
    The Houston Fire Department is a great department and runs an excellent academy but as of right now, no civil service exams are scheduled for non-commissioned people. But I am sure in the next year, there will be some. HFD was running 3 academies per year until the economy started to go down hill last year. Keep checking http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/employment/index.html for civil service postings. Plus you don't need any fire or ems certs as they hire and train. They also do not require you to be a paramedic, but make it optional at any time.
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
    http://thedarksideof911.blogspot.com/
    FTM-PTB-EGH
    IACOJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecarroll84 View Post
    One more question;
    what about federal firefighters on military installations?
    That I know of in South Texas, Ellingtion Field has a civilian DOD fire department. You will have to be commissioned but they will pay for your ARFF training. Not at all a busy department but it's experience and a paycheck.
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
    http://thedarksideof911.blogspot.com/
    FTM-PTB-EGH
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrYuk View Post
    The Houston Fire Department is a great department and runs an excellent academy but as of right now, no civil service exams are scheduled for non-commissioned people. But I am sure in the next year, there will be some. HFD was running 3 academies per year until the economy started to go down hill last year. Keep checking http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/employment/index.html for civil service postings. Plus you don't need any fire or ems certs as they hire and train. They also do not require you to be a paramedic, but make it optional at any time.
    I will have to add Houston to my list thanks! The only thing is for some reason my wife doesn't want to live in Houston but I think I could talk her into it or maybe I can commute from Galveston.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecarroll84 View Post
    Wow thanks for all your advice! It seems pretty much unanimous that I should go to school for paramedic or at least EMT-B. I do want to finish my Fire science degree even though many of you have said its not as important I am so close to finishing it. Central Texas College offers a Parametric and EMT-B course and I should be able to enroll into that after I finish my AAS degree.

    As for applying at 5-7 departments I was trying to focus on departments that do not require FF certifications and will train in there own academy The only ones I found surfing the web was SA, Austin, Ft. worth, and Dallas.

    Are there more departments than that in Texas?

    Should I start looking into Academy's ( http://www.esd4.org/fire-academy ) to enroll into and use my GI bill when I get out so I will qualify for more departments?
    Here is the skinny. There are literally hundreds of paid departments in Texas. Most hire pre-trained FF/EMT's (those that have already gone through an academy). Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston have an open test. 3000+ people from off the street, some never seen a fire truck before, apply. It does not matter if you have been through anythinig if going for the big cities, not squat. They will put you through their own academy and EMT training, you'll have to go through it even if you are already a certified FF/EMT. This is where your DD214 points added to your test will become valuable.

    Austin (and maybe Houston) did a fast track program last year, where they hired firefighters who were already on the job somewhere for 3 years. Those people still had to go through their academy, but it was shortened.

    To get hired anywhere else, and there are a bunch of great places, then go through an academy and EMT (or EMT-P) school. ESD 4 is fine, not the only game in Texas... ACC, MCC, TEEX, TCC, a few privates and a bunch of ESD's all run academies. Really doesn't matter where you go, as long as you leave with the TCFP cert.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikecarroll84 View Post
    One more question;
    what about federal firefighters on military installations?
    Fort Hood- Largest military installation in the free world... Fort Sam Houston, Fort Bliss, Lackland AFB, Randolph AFB, Sheppard AFB (home of AF firefighting), I am sure Corpus Navy... all have DOD firefighters.

    Good luck, hit me up if you have more questions.
    Last edited by FiremanLyman; 12-30-2011 at 02:18 PM.
    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    Here is the skinny. There are literally hundreds of paid departments in Texas. Most hire pre-trained FF/EMT's (those that have already gone through an academy). Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston have an open test. 3000+ people from off the street, some never seen a fire truck before, apply. It does not matter if you have been through anythinig if going for the big cities, not squat. They will put you through their own academy and EMT training, you'll have to go through it even if you are already a certified FF/EMT. This is where your DD214 points added to your test will become valuable.

    Austin (and maybe Houston) did a fast track program last year, where they hired firefighters who were already on the job somewhere for 3 years. Those people still had to go through their academy, but it was shortened.

    To get hired anywhere else, and there are a bunch of great places, then go through an academy and EMT (or EMT-P) school. ESD 4 is fine, not the only game in Texas... ACC, MCC, TEEX, TCC, a few privates and a bunch of ESD's all run academies. Really doesn't matter where you go, as long as you leave with the TCFP cert.



    Fort Hood- Largest military installation in the free world... Fort Sam Houston, Fort Bliss, Lackland AFB, Randolph AFB, Sheppard AFB (home of AF firefighting), I am sure Corpus Navy... all have DOD firefighters.

    Good luck, hit me up if you have more questions.
    So what your telling me is as long as I just apply at the big cities then I do not need certificates but if I want to be able to apply anywhere than I should get certified?

    TO be a DOD FF do you need certificates?

    What about this Training Division thing I keep seeing on all these threads?

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    I am a little worried about going to an academy when I get out, mainly because that would 6 months with out a paycheck plus however long it takes me to get a job.

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    I hear you on not getting a paycheck. I would apply to all the big cities first for that reason. Not to mention that most non department academies such as TEEX, Community Colleges, and the like will run you around $2000, not including the purchase or rental of bunker gear, plus an additional amount for EMT basic or Paramedic school. That would also take up roughly 6 months of time. It would be horrible to spend that time and money and not get hired anywhere. You should also have a better pension and retirement with most of the big cities. (I could be wrong about that last sentence as I don't know what every department offers)

    Commuting to Houston from Galveston would be great. As long as you live within 100 miles of the Houston City Hall at the time you apply (Galveston is within that 60 miles), you can move anywhere after that. With HFD's schedule, there are a few firefighters who live in San Antonio, throughout the hill country, even the State of Colorado who commute once a week for their tour.

    Just remember like someone said above, you are competing with a lot more applicants, but on the other hand, those departments hire more people. Houston just held a civil service exam for TCFP commissioned firefighters (FF/EMT-B) and plan on hiring 60-70 out of the 300 who made it to orientation. 600 originally tested.

    Whatever you decide to do, don't give up. It's a long road but well worth it in the end. Out of curiosity, how old are you?
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
    http://thedarksideof911.blogspot.com/
    FTM-PTB-EGH
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrYuk View Post
    I hear you on not getting a paycheck. I would apply to all the big cities first for that reason. Not to mention that most non department academies such as TEEX, Community Colleges, and the like will run you around $2000, not including the purchase or rental of bunker gear, plus an additional amount for EMT basic or Paramedic school. That would also take up roughly 6 months of time. It would be horrible to spend that time and money and not get hired anywhere. You should also have a better pension and retirement with most of the big cities. (I could be wrong about that last sentence as I don't know what every department offers)

    Commuting to Houston from Galveston would be great. As long as you live within 100 miles of the Houston City Hall at the time you apply (Galveston is within that 60 miles), you can move anywhere after that. With HFD's schedule, there are a few firefighters who live in San Antonio, throughout the hill country, even the State of Colorado who commute once a week for their tour.

    Just remember like someone said above, you are competing with a lot more applicants, but on the other hand, those departments hire more people. Houston just held a civil service exam for TCFP commissioned firefighters (FF/EMT-B) and plan on hiring 60-70 out of the 300 who made it to orientation. 600 originally tested.

    Whatever you decide to do, don't give up. It's a long road but well worth it in the end. Out of curiosity, how old are you?
    I am 27.

    Is there a better way than checking each individual department website constantly to see when they accept applications?

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    Most departments have an age requirement so you might want to check that as well. Most are 35 y.o. or somewhere around it. I only asked because you have been in the Army a while and didn't know if you were already in your 30's.

    TCFP lists a few here: http://www.tcfp.texas.gov/job_postings/jobs.asp

    You can also check this message board: http://www.texas-fire.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=30
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
    http://thedarksideof911.blogspot.com/
    FTM-PTB-EGH
    IACOJ

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    hi mike, garland, plano, mesquite, and carrollton are also some cities in texas that hire without certs. They all just require like 30 to 60 college hours to apply. Garland just requires high school diploma. They aren't as big as dallas or fort worth but they aren't real small cities either. Plano had about 300 to 400 test back in september, garland around 840, and not too sure about mesquite and carrollton but probably around same numbers as plano. These cities test every year and all offer great salary and benefits! So that just gives you more options instead of just relying on the big cities tht test 3000 plus every test period. Hope this helps

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