hey guys im looking for some advice and guidance in regards to becoming a FF. im currently in the navy and im getting out within a couple months. my plan is to go back to college using my gi bill and push for a degree in fire science. i also plan to do volunteer FF while im attending school. im hoping with prior military service, an AA degree in fire science, and volunteer service, that i should have no problem getting hired. im currently stationed in bangor, wa. me and the wife will be moving back to sherman oaks, ca once she finishes nursing school. im open to all suggestions and advice, please help. thank you for your time
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02-12-2013, 11:08 AM #1
- Join Date
- Feb 2013
Navy To FF Transition. Need Guidance & Advice
02-12-2013, 11:13 AM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
check to see what the minimum requirements are to apply at any calif department and get them before you get a degree!!!!
if you do a search using california there are various posts about the state.
one problem seems to be is lack of jobs and alot of competition!!!!!!!
good luck, you sure you do not want to be a nurse??? they make great money!!!!!!!!!
02-12-2013, 11:20 AM #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
I don't have a lot of direct knowledge regarding CA career departments, but from what I have read here and heard in other places, a paramedic certification would be far more practical for hiring purposes in that area than a AA in Fire Science.
That would certainly be the case in this area. The degree would actually make very little difference during the hiring process. Down the line, it would probably come into play for promotion, but that would be down the line.Train to fight the fires you fight.
02-12-2013, 12:28 PM #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2013
My suggestion is volunteer first and see if you love it, then emt-b or whatever the requirements are, then fire 1 and 2, so forth and so on.... sorry for any spelling mistakes
02-12-2013, 12:42 PM #5
As for you, all of these things do not necessarily mean you will get hired or even will get preference or any special treatment. First and foremost, YOU NEED TO CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT FOR WHICH YOU WISH TO APPLY and find out for yourself what their pre-employment requirements are, if any. You also need to find out if they offer any kind of Veterans Preference or Vets Points on their civil service exam or however they do their competitive hiring, if any. Also find out physical requirements. Some attributes of physical testing vary from department to department. Many big city departments on the East Coast have ZERO requirements and offer NO preference other than 10 points for your civil service exam. Philadelphia doesnt care if you have 10 years of experience on the busiest engine company in FDNY and they also dont care if you have 60 college credits and a masters in Public Safety or Fire Science. FDNY does have college credit requirements but it can be in anything.
Bottom line is that just because LA City or County do one thing, does not mean that Sacramento or San Diego do the same thing- or have the same requirements or have the same hiring procedures. Again, YOU NEED TO FIND OUT THE PARTICULARS FOR YOURSELF. I'm sure you are aware that competition for firefighting jobs, especially on the East and West Coasts is brutal and bloody. Firefighting jobs are just not handed out."Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."
02-12-2013, 04:03 PM #6
FWD put it well, even though it was too long and I didn't read it.
With any luck, by the time you finish with all of your education, EMT/P certs, an accredited academy, agility certs and so on, California will be back in a hiring mode. Sherman Oaks is surrounded by great mid-size to large agencies to work for. Most of them require paramedic certification. An AA is not usually required that I know of. There really is no "fast track" to getting hired in Ca. Most candidates are "career testers" before they get on. What I mean is they travel the state in packs testing at every department. For every one that is hired, ten more join the pack. It is brutal out here. Good luck.IAFF
02-12-2013, 06:13 PM #7
02-12-2013, 09:03 PM #8
02-13-2013, 12:06 AM #9
Just whose salad are you two going to toss?
Anyways, I don't know about CA departments, but I got to echo what FWDbuff sez. As an example, many larger department could care less about you having FF1 and II. They are going to send you to their academy and train you their way.
02-13-2013, 09:05 AM #10
Another option to examine is which departments give preference (either by points or "fast-tracked" hiring processes) to "laterals". This is a somewhat common practice on the West Coast.
Remember - California (and the West Coast for that matter) are EXTREMELY competitive markets when seeking a career in the Fire Service.
To apply for a "lateral" position, you must first be employed as a firefighter elsewhere AND meet whatever qualifications the department you are seeking employment with requires. When you separate from the Navy, get a firefighter job anywhere (preferably in California but oftentimes elsewhere will suffice) and then start working on the requirements for where you want to work in California.
In California, applicants who have college degrees along with every fire certification available are a dime per dozen. Work on getting your paramedic certification/licensure and becoming as fluent as you can in a foreign language.
In summary, an honorable discharge from the military combined "lateral" experience/eligibility, paramedic certification, and a second language will put you in the "very competitive" range. That being said, the competition will still be tough.
"There's no such thing as a free lunch."
02-13-2013, 12:46 PM #11
My question to you is; do you really want to get a degree in fire science? Or do you just think it's something that will help? Because it really doesn't matter when it comes to getting hired unless you're looking to use it for something else.
If you even have any doubt, I suggest getting a degree that you can use outside the fire service. Don't be deadset on fire science if you're not sure.
02-16-2013, 09:56 PM #12
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
- Green Bay
I was a Damage Controlman and also sought the same road you are now. I agree with some of the advice here already given, but if you only have a couple months left, I hope you already have a school in mind and have already done the application process to get in the degree program. Also, if you have not already looked into it, get in touch with the local Navy Campus and take CLEP and DANTES tests. These are tests that if you pass, can get college credits and eases the number of general classes you may have to take.
Once you decide on a school, get in touch with the school VA rep, they can help you out with the necessary paperwork for schooling, using you GI Bill, as well as potential educational funding available from the state. Not sure how CA is set up, but in some states, a vet can receive tuition reimbursement from the state.
If you can, and depending on the school and location, there may be fire departments that offer an internship program for firefighting. Some programs offer a live in program, some can help pay for classes or textbooks, etc. Other programs could be part of a fire program and used as an elective course towards your degree. (our dept has recently worked with interns from a couple tech schools and now many former interns have been hired as fulltime members).
I DO definately agree with going for the paramedic certification. However, I will not dissuade you from also seeking out a fire protection degree as well. Having paramedic will help you stand out that much further among those you're competing against. The vet points can help, but points alone only go so far and depts use points differently. For example one dept may apply points to a written test score, whereas others may apply it to an overall score. This may get you to an interview, but it is typically the interview that sets you apart. I would look back on your military experience on that could set you apart, regardless of what your rating is. (If you are DC, don't expect any of your fire related experience to transfer over).
I would say you are on the right track with how you want to proceed. Go to school, if you have to wait for a fire program, work on general education classes. It depends on the volly dept you would be looking to get on, I would again suggest looking at departments offering an intern type of program etc. Even if you don't get or can't do the intern aspect, such depts tend to be a bit more progressive and may apply some of the same incentives for interns to volunteers. Work on obtaining your fire certs and get into EMT.
Once in a degree program, I would also suggest applying and testing for departments. Don't wait to finish school to do this. For the majority of depts out there, the testing process is lengthy and that is just to establish an eligibility list. You could test several times for a dept and never make it to a hiring panel. So test early, and test for as many depts as you can, the process only gives more more experience and chance to hone your interview techniques, etc. Look into getting into paramedic, also look into schools, some schools offer paramedic as part of their degree program.The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.
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