Thread: How long?

  1. #1
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    Default How long?

    Hello all.
    Since I know one of the pet peeves around here is people who keep asking the same question, I just want to state that I searched, and did not find this particular question, so if someone has already asked and I missed it, I apologize.
    I was just wondering how long it took you all to get your first firefighting job after you decided to go for it.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    4 years. It's worth it though, be open minded and don't ever give up.

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    Default just thinking the same thing

    I was just sitting thinking the same thing I guess I might be getting to the point of which rock to turn over now.

    I have been at this for 8 yrs in EMS but here in Missouri you are nothing without a medic LIC so I got it.

    Now due to family peace I am getting ready to move to Northern California in the bay area and all I see on 4 different web sites for fire jobs YOU MUST have FF1 and 2 to go any where out there so am I doomed to just work private service out there.

    So do I give up any ideas would be great thanks guys and gals

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    Default Learn How to Take an Interview.

    It's not about the credentials you have or don't have. It has everything to do with learning how to take a firefighter interview! If you don't, nothing will change.

    It has Nothing to do with Age Ė Younger, in the Middle or Older!

    This from an oral board rater:

    To all of you out there who think you're too young to get hired, guess again. My Dept. is in the process of hiring a candidate who is 20 yrs. old. This individual has a FF Academy and an EMT-B card and that's pretty much it. No medic cert., volunteer time, reserve time, nothing! However, I had the pleasure of sitting on the oral board for this candidate and I must say I was truly impressed.

    We were handed a very simple one-page resume, which was easy to read and not time consuming. I was very impressed by the maturity, honesty, and basically just the overall likeability that this candidate was able to show us. The candidate had definitely practiced and been coached on the oral board portion of the hiring process which is the reason this person will soon be wearing a badge.

    It was also obvious that the candidate took everything very seriously and had well prepared for every aspect of the oral interview. Even though the only work experience this candidate spoke of was a part time restaurant job, he was able to use that to his advantage during the interview.

    The candidate moved on to the Chief's interview and must have done incredibly well because he is soon to start our academy. This is not a fluke or a one-time thing. It happens all the time! Great mentors such as Captain Bob continually pound into you guys that the interview is everything and he is absolutely right!

    Don't sell yourself short when it comes time to take advantage of a golden opportunity. Visit the stations, research the city and the dept., get a nice suit, do mock orals, ask for help, or whatever it takes. I hope you guys feel some inspiration from this because it is true and it does happen. Good Luck!!

    Reply CB: Younger Candidates

    Iím not surprised because I talk to younger candidates all the time who figure out early to gain a few credentials, learn how to take a firefighter interview, marry their skills with the qualifications of the job, become beyond their years in maturity, stun the oral board panel with a clean fresh presentation that enable them to fly past the flock of other candidates with more credentials and nail that that badge like the one above.

    Iíve heard from a number of candidates whose first oral ever was with LA City where they scored high enough to leave with a background packet. At first their friends and classmates didnít believe them. Then, they were angry because theyíve been testing for years and didn't make the cut. Bottom line these candidates learned how to take an interview!

    This just in:
    Captain Bob, I got the phone call today! I start June 27th at Prince William County, VA. Thanks for all the help. It Gold Package must work because I am only 20 years old and only a Basic EMT. Thanks Again. Recruit Stuart

    Another:
    While I was going to school, many of my friends with similar resumes were testing for Fire Departments, but not passing the oral board or the psych test. After seeing many awesome Firefighters have troubles with interviewing, it became blatantly apparent that the best resume in the world would not get me a job, but the best interview skills most definitely would. When it was time to finally apply for my dream job, I took your advise to heart. Now here I am living the dream just turning age 21. Thank You Very Much. Casey Johnson Anchorage Fire Department, Firefighter/EMT

    Hope is the Anchor to the Soul

    You can find more on testing secrets in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob" Author,
    Becoming A Firefighter,
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards, and
    Itís Your Turn in the Hot Seat!

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959

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    Default

    Thanks for the replies, although I was hoping for a few more.
    I am actually asking this question for my husband, as he's the one going through the process at the moment. I will most likely be following closely behind, though.
    What's the number of tests that you took before you got hired, so we can kind of know what to expect?
    Thanks again.

  6. #6
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    Default How Long

    What's the number of tests that you took before you got hired, so we can kind of know what to expect?

    That's on a individual by individual basis. It will all depend on how serious he gets on learning how to take a fire department interview. If he doesn't the move you are planning won't change a thing.

    Don't Move Yet!

    Shall I move my family to the area I want to test for?

    Do yourself and your family a big favor. Donít even think about moving until you get the invitation in writing that you have the job. Never move away from family, friends, support and established connections thinking that will improve your chances of getting a badge.

    This is not the first time I've seen this question. A candidate is invited to the chiefís oral. He just knows they want him. He gives notice at his job, his apartment and finds a new apartment for the city he is being considered for. He starts packing. After the chiefís interview he is notified to complete the medical, given the date for the academy, uniform fitting and then the psych. He flies down to complete these items in two days. He goes by with his wife to check on the new apartment, flies home and waits for the mover to show up the next day.

    Donít touch that dial. There is something wrong with the psych interview. It comes back inconclusive. They want him to retake the psych. But the movers are on their way. I can taste that badge. I know they want me.

    A medic candidate moved his family from southern California to Seattle, so he could be in position for the next test. Although he made the list, he was going to have to wait until they got down to him. In the mean time the pressures built up at home, he lost his house in California to foreclosure, and got in a heated argument with his wife. The police arrived and arrested him for domestic violence. This at a time when he was in background for the next academy. Everything came to a full halt.

    Fortunately, in the state of Washington, if you complete the counseling and probation program and itís your first offense, you can appeal the court to remove the charge. Now a year later, this has been done. The Seattle list he was on expired. Now itís back to square one.

    You can find more on testing secrets in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob" Author,
    Becoming A Firefighter,
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards, and
    Itís Your Turn in the Hot Seat!

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959

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    I started actively pursuing my career last Oct. and I will be starting in Oct with my new career. but I tested and several dept's and was active in obtaining my EMT and even now I am still in class to get my EMT-p. I just hope I can transfer into a P program in my new state. WE'll just have to see.

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    Default how long

    Took me, about 3 years, 1.5 of taking every test I could. I recently had to bail on the first job offer for one that started 2 wks later, better department. Approximately $1000 in fees, and 30+ tests.

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    Default Life Can be Plan B

    Approximately $1000 in fees, and 30+ tests.

    How many tests did you take before you learned how to take an interview and things started tipping in your favor?

    Jon and his 9-fire technology academy buddies set out to target six departments in the northwest they wanted to work for. Their plan A would cultivate these departments and be in a position when they tested. After almost two years no one got hired or was high enough to be considered. Then Jon read a section of our web site that encouraged candidates to test wherever they could get to.

    This made since to Jon especially when he figured out that he was only able to take around two tests a year. Like hands on academy and education skills if you donít use your oral board skills you will get rusty faster than trying to throw a 35í wood ladder or laying a line when you havenít donít it for awhile.

    This is not taking into consideration that departments donít always test every two years, switch to medics only, or hire only laterals?

    So, non medic Jon tried to convince his 9 buddies to expand their horizons and establish plan B to test any and every where they could to keep their oral board skills at the cutting edge. None of his buddies were interested because they believed that because of their academy training and education and how they were laying the ground work it would only be a matter of time before one of the six departments on plan A would pay off.

    In a short time non-medic Jon found out the more tests he took the better he got at taking tests. His oral board scores started climbing and he was getting called back for chief interviews. Then BINGO! Jon gets a job offer from THE PREMIUM fire department in the southwest (yea, that one). As he was packing to leave he offered our program that helped him get hired to his buddies. He was surprised they werenít interested. Didnít need it. They were still banking on plan A.

    Itís now 3 years later and Jonís dream department, THE PREMIUM department in the state of Washington (yep, thatís the one), announces their test. Guess what? Jon gets a job offer and gets to go home with his new bride, also from Washington.

    Again he offers our program to his buddies. He is shocked again when they said they donít need it.

    So, how many of his 9 buddies were hired during this period of time? None, zip, nada.

    Sometimes life can be plan B.

    You can find more on testing secrets in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob" Author,
    Becoming A Firefighter,
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards, and
    Itís Your Turn in the Hot Seat!

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959

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    Default Oral Boards

    I must agree with CaptBob on this one. I have been testing for 3.5 yrs. I thought that with my fire science degree from a CC in Oregon that I'd be gobbled up in no time. (that's what the school tells you) I got my EMT-P in January. I began another spring testing and hoping. Then everything just fell into place for some reason. I finished #10 out of about 1500 at one dept, and was very encouraged. Then I ended up with 4 offers from 4 different departments. The more interviews that I did, the easier they got. I knew what they were asking before the panel member even finished the question. My answers probably weren't that much different from others, but I added my personal touches to them. And what really drove this home is when a panel member of the dept that I went to work for, saw me about 3 weeks later and said he really liked MY answer to a particular question. He remembered me because I had an interesting/different answer, not because I'm a medic with a fire science degree. Keep at it guys, and practice those interviews. Stick to it, and know the questions, and YOUR answers to them.

  11. #11
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    I am one of the lucky ones. I applied, went through the 6 month hiring process (including testing, etc) and was hired in the first class off of my list.

    Time from first application: 6 months
    Time from notification of position on list: 3 weeks

    Matt

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    2.5 years. Been taking every test I can find. Good luck to both of you.

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    Default Thanks...

    Thanks for the all of the answers.
    It's interesting to see how things are for everyone else, as I know what we've been going through.

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    Exclamation

    Saw the ad in the Sunday paper, Applied on Tuesday, Took test the following Thursday. Went for an interview two weeks later and reported for duty two weeks after that. So what is that 5 maybe 6 weeks at best!

    When I went on they hired as vacancies became opened. You didn't have to wait for a year or two from some CPAT and Written testing to be made ready and a lot of useless applicants clogging up the system.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Here is to a reply without advertising

    It took me about 4 months for the entire process. I was offered from 3 different departments and was fortunate to make the right choice. There is no "secret" - that is hype. What there is is persistence.

    The very best of luck to your husband!!!

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    Default Press On

    JackTee09 wrote:

    What there is is persistence.

    Yep, a key ingrediant.


    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent (all powerful).
    Last edited by CaptBob; 07-22-2005 at 11:26 AM.
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    I herd somewhere it takes a white male on average 3 to 5 years to land a job as a career firefighter

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    It took me about 5 years to get on my department, but only 6 months to get on with a small department. Do all you can to prepare yourself while your trying to get hired. Go to college, get your EMT, go to Paramedic school if you desire. Just FYI; 100% of the applicants that were Paramedics that were on the hiring list for my academy class got hired. It's not an automatic hire but I like those odds. Prepare for the entire testing process. If you do not interview well I recomend Capt. Bob's tips. Read his stuff even if you do interview well. Find out what each department looks for in their applicants.
    Shawn Clark
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    Tulsa Fire Dept. E-23 "C Platoon"
    I.A.F.F. Local 176
    Tulsa, OK

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    Default How about an older candidate for consideration???

    Capt. Bob,

    What is the general concensus regarding a department hiring firefighters that are older ie. 35+? Does prior career experience help the candidate? Does the candidate have an opportunity for employment and consideration over many other candidates because of that experience and knowledge?

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    Is Age a Factor in Hiring?

    Itís not uncommon to see candidates in their late thirties or early forties hired, especially paramedics.

    It has Nothing to do with Age Ė Younger, in the Middle or Older! The real secret is to learn how to take a firefighter interview so when the opportunity presents itself you will have a seamless no surprises oral board that will stun the panel into giving you the job over the other candidates. It has been my experience the problem is too many candidates arenít ready.

    The biggest problem I've seen on oral boards with seasoned veterans taking entry level or lateral tests is they can't place themselves in the position they are applying for; that of being a snott nose rookie. They try to hammer the oral board with their credentials thinking the board will just hand them the job. Their oral board's skills are rusty and antiquated. It's hard for them to remember how it was to be a rookie.

    This is a delicate balance here. Leave your time and rank in your locker. You must be humble, place yourself in the rookie position and build a natural bridge to present your education, experience and integrity to the oral board panel. Without this bridge, you're dead meat. This is not easy for many seasoned candidates. An attitude adjustment is needed. Attitude is a small thing that can make the big difference. Remember the position you're applying.

    The seasoned veteran candidate can roar past any of the other candidates if his attitude and game plan is in place.

    I encourage candidates to focus on the personal life experience when answering questions in the oral board. No one else can tell your stories where your have been. Over age thirty candidates have life experiences younger candidate canít match.

    When any candidate answers a question and laces it with a story that demonstrates they have lived the experience, they separate themselves from the other "Clone" candidates.

    Here is a testimony I just received from one of my over 40 years old energizer bunny candidates that kept going and going and going when others would quit:

    Is Age a Factor in Getting Hired?

    Indiscribable Thanks Captian Bob:

    I have arrived at the moment, that before September 15th 2004 was only realized in my dreams, that was the day I received ďthe callĒ informing me that I had been chosen as one of the fourteen candidates to start the academy for Las Vegas Fire and Rescue!

    I am very fit. I work out 5 days a week and have for years. I have my EMT-Intermediate Certification and a burning desire to become a firefighter since I was 10 years old. Some times life seems to get in the way of our dreams and plans, but I have learned only if you let it! Three years ago I decided to go for my dream career, I had done everything I knew I could do to physically be ready for this demanding job, but I was oblivious to the testing and hiring process. That is when I came across your web site, Captain Bob your materials were invaluable in helping me obtain my badge. I followed your advise to the letter throughout the process from testing to oral interviews and the psych. Your insight is right on the mark!

    Rob helped me with private coaching, and low and behold I am poised to start my dream career! Thank you is not enough to express my heart felt gratitude for your help in getting me to this place in life. I look forward to meeting you in person some day to say ďthanksĒ. Ted R. Las Vegas Nevada

    Ted was number 3 on the list, an EMT and FORTY-SEVEN YEARS OLD! He also scored higher than his Son on the same list and got the job. Bravo!
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    as far as young goes i was hired at my first dept. when i was 19, so young ppl can definatly get jobs.

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    Thumbs up

    I was very lucky how I ended up in a Firefighting / EMS Career Position. -- At the time with 16 years in the Fire Service as a Volunteer and taking a few local and some big city tests I decided to go the combination department route. -- Delaware consists of Three Counties with a majority of the combination departments being in New Castle County.

    Expirence, NREMT, Firefighting Skills, and the ability to interview well {of course no criminal history and a clean D.L. is advisable} the jobs here open annually usualy 1 or 2 sometimes 3 positions a year in about 50% of the companies. {We have 21 companies of which 19 have Career Personnel - usually 6-10 per station depending on volume, staffing, and the like. Some Run 24/7 others run 18/7 and Volunteers suppliment all 24 hours.

    Pay Grades aren't all that fantastic {Usually between $13 to $15 per hour however many companies offer full paid family benefits, modern stations/facilities, 401K, annual pay increases, etc....And we see Fire

    I lucked out with only an interview and was hired the next afternoon by the chairman of the board of directors - Sometimes the lower end of this profession is a good start. After 2 and a half years as a Career Man I continue to grow and love the job every day.

  23. #23
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    Lightbulb One Shot, One Kill.

    Yes, I got a job on my first shot, but I stacked the deck in my favor.

    I know too many quality people who have been hammering away, year after year, taking every test that came along and never getting the call.

    So, when I decided I wanted a career change and I wanted to be a firefighter, I decided I was going to make the job of getting THE job as easy as possible.

    First, I recognized that it's hard to stand out in a crowd. The application process for jobs where you only needed to breathe or needed only an EMT to qualify were like Hollywood cattle calls. Lots of bodies and your chances of really sticking out were slim.

    But those departments that were looking for paramedics had much smaller responses. One department had 10 applicants for 2 positions, another had 20 apply for 3 slots.

    Once I saw those numbers I knew what I had to do. I got my butt into medic school. I started in January, 2004. In April, a department just 5 miles from my house advertised for 3 positions. The only requirement was that you had to have your medic, be in school, or at least be accepted into an upcoming medic school. BINGO.

    I put in my application, and as it turned out, there were only 25 applicants. That's a 1 in 8 shot at a job I really wanted. I liked those odds much better than 350 applicants for a dozen jobs, or 400 for two.

    Once I got into the hiring process I worked to stack the deck even more in my favor. I worked on my interviewing skills constantly. I worked out answers to all of the possible questions Capt. Bob has on his web site. I personalized all of the answers with stories from my life. I also anticipated the follow-up questions that my answers would prompt and prepared responsed for those as well.

    I wrote down the main points for each answer and rehearsed them repeatedly, until they were as familiar as old family stories you tell around the dinner table every year at Thanksgiving.

    Talk about going in with an advantage, and leaving knowing you used every bit of that advantage.

    I had my interview in July, and got my conditional letter of hire in September. I started in November and am currently at the mid-point of my academy training (academy slots are hard to come by around here). I'll finish the academy in October and three weeks later I'll be making my dinner for completing my probie year.

    Oh, and by the way, I'm 38. Score one for the old guys!

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    Default Hang in there!

    Simply put, practice taking written exams. get your EMT/Medic license. Volunteer if you can also. A Degree in Fire Science also is nice. Private EMS experience. It took me 12 years to finally get a fulltime gig as a ARFF Firefighter in MI. I applied virtually everywhere also. From Seattle to Phoenix 3 times. Alot of money in traveling expenses! But, if its what you want to do, and can affored it, then do it! I wasn't any good at written exams, which most FD's base a large percentage of your total score on. Good luck!

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