1. #1
    tcd
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    Default Should I Apply and Test Just to Practice the Written Exam?

    Hi All,

    I've never gone through the testing process before, but wish to switch careers and become a firefighter. Within 8-10 months I plan to have gained my FF certs and EMT-B, and while these aren't necessarily prerequisites for hiring by many departments across the country, they happen to be for the majority of those that I'm eligible for here in Texas. This is due to the fact that most medium to large cities in the state are civil service with a 35-36yr age max (I'm 40) and most small towns require certs in hand to apply.

    That said, I've been told to start testing as it's the best way to practice. Because Texas is the way it is, the majority of opportunities to apply and test right now would be out of state. However, due to family considerations, I'm not willing to relocate until I've exhausted all options in Texas first. Besides, I'm not yet 100% ready to take and pass CPAT anyway.

    Keeping in mind what I've outlined above, my options for applying and testing for practice are essentially non-existent in Texas and traveling out of state for that purpose would be too expensive, except for maybe making some drives to neighboring states.

    Should I bite the bullet and apply and drive out of state departments just to take the written exam for practice? Or are there practice tests or test prep software packages out there that would offer the same benefit without the cost? Any other suggestions for test prep?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    WIll testing help you to learn the process? ABSOLUTELY, without a doubt. What you need to do is to factor is the cost to get the experience.

    It sounds as if you have family commitments as well as work obligations. You will need to save your work days for when you are taking EMT and local fire department exams. Sometimes the better call is to hunker down and use your time wisely taking as many classes as you can and become more qualified than the next person.
    Good luck with your decesion.

    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    AspiringFirefighters.com
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Get tx certified and emt if not paramedic than start testing

    Check the website weekly:;,

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

    Check the age thing not all are 35 limit

  4. #4
    tcd
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    WIll testing help you to learn the process? ABSOLUTELY, without a doubt. What you need to do is to factor is the cost to get the experience.

    It sounds as if you have family commitments as well as work obligations. You will need to save your work days for when you are taking EMT and local fire department exams. Sometimes the better call is to hunker down and use your time wisely taking as many classes as you can and become more qualified than the next person.
    Good luck with your decesion.
    Thanks for the advice. I have enough vacation hours at my current job to cover a few days spent traveling to test. I'll look for departments in neighboring states to the north and east that would be reasonable to drive to. Hopefully I can do a couple of "test" tests without breaking the bank.

    Aside from that I'll start taking classes, getting certs and building up volunteer experience.

    Get tx certified and emt if not paramedic than start testing

    Check the website weekly:;,

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

    Check the age thing not all are 35 limit
    Yes, I check that site all the time and most of the postings aren't civil service with the age limit, but those ones always require having certifications in order to apply. I'd like to get some testing practice in now, but in Texas it's almost impossible for me. As I mentioned above, I'll look to neighboring states that don't have the age cutoffs that Texas does. I'll most definitely be applying to Texas departments once I have certs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcd View Post
    Hi All,

    I've never gone through the testing process before, but wish to switch careers and become a firefighter. Within 8-10 months I plan to have gained my FF certs and EMT-B, and while these aren't necessarily prerequisites for hiring by many departments across the country, they happen to be for the majority of those that I'm eligible for here in Texas. This is due to the fact that most medium to large cities in the state are civil service with a 35-36yr age max (I'm 40) and most small towns require certs in hand to apply.

    That said, I've been told to start testing as it's the best way to practice. Because Texas is the way it is, the majority of opportunities to apply and test right now would be out of state. However, due to family considerations, I'm not willing to relocate until I've exhausted all options in Texas first. Besides, I'm not yet 100% ready to take and pass CPAT anyway.

    Keeping in mind what I've outlined above, my options for applying and testing for practice are essentially non-existent in Texas and traveling out of state for that purpose would be too expensive, except for maybe making some drives to neighboring states.

    Should I bite the bullet and apply and drive out of state departments just to take the written exam for practice? [B]Or are there practice tests or test prep software packages out there that would offer the same benefit without the cost?[/B] Any other suggestions for test prep?

    Thanks!
    There are many practice test packages you can order online.

    I've used Don Mcnea Fire School (link below)
    http://www.fireprep.com/

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    tcd
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    Thanks for the link!

    But man, if a website could have ADD, then that one would be first in line for some Adderall.

    I mean, wow! I can't tell where it begins or where it ends!

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    Problem is you may not be able to set for a test if you do not meet minimum requirements, and if you do meet minimum requirements you may test and wind up with a job offer

    How far away from tx ff cert and emt are you?

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    I'm a big proponent of taking each and every test you can, that's how you get hired. The drawback is that you could end up......

    A) Turning down a job, because it's not a place you really want to work.

    B) Taking a job in a place you really don't want to live.

    Again, take as many as you can, but remember that you could catch lightning in a bottle, even if you "aren't ready" to get hired right now, and have a decision to make.

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    tcd
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    You guys bring up a good point in that more testing increases chances for job offers, but not necessarily the preferred job offer.

    I estimate that I'm about 8 months from having TX FF & EMT-B certs. My plan is to enroll in TrainingDivision.com's FF academy next month and the local community college for EMT-B in June. If all goes well I should have everything completed by the end of August.

    It almost sounds like I'd be better off digging in and focusing on coursework, gaining volunteer experience, doing practice exams, and set my sights for 2013 hiring and take those exams for real.

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    I would say yes,

    Unless you see someone testing that will put you through both

    And also once you get emt b start on paramedic while testing

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    tcd
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire5555 View Post
    I would say yes,

    Unless you see someone testing that will put you through both

    And also once you get emt b start on paramedic while testing
    I'll definitely move right on to paramedic after basic. I've noticed a few departments that don't require paramedic up front, but do require the applicant be within 6-12 months from completing a medic program. It sounds like some medic is better than no medic.

    I see you're in Arlington. Are you with AFD? Aside from El Paso, it's the only other large department in the state that I've found so far that doesn't do civil service hiring.

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    Nope not with afd good department

    Not sure if you are looking big better advancement or money???

  13. #13
    tcd
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire5555 View Post
    Nope not with afd good department

    Not sure if you are looking big better advancement or money???
    Advancement opportunities and money are nice, but I'm not necessarily looking to get on at a big department. Ideally I'd like to be a part of a busy department (large or small) in a supportive community that has a the resources available to offer its firefighters progressive training and good working conditions (equipment, facilities), as well as pay a competitive wage with good benefits.

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    I'm a fan of testing everywhere possible; even if I don't have the ETO at work. I'll get off at night, drive 4-5 hours, take the test, and drive back home to make it to work the next day. I believe in doing that for the written, CPAT, and oral. Given I haven't got the offer yet for my dream department, I know that when they are hiring I'll be better prepared to rank at the top of the list.

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