The Right Track?
I'm a junior in high school, seriously considering a career as a firefighter. What would be a suggested education route for the coming years? My parents want me to get a four-year degree in something, and I guess I would as well. Would I first concentrate on getting on a department out of high school and then further education?
Also, I don't play any sports right now, is there anything I could/should be doing now to prepare for the career?
Thanks for any help.
Join an Explorers program, or a voluneer department if your able to, then contact your states fire certification board and find out how you can continue with your training. Most, if not all states will have an associates degree program. Two years in most cases, but you can add other things to it to make it a longer program. Go forth and join your closest fire department...we have several junors and seniors in HS on ours, I joined at 17 as a senior. Go do it...you will not regret it.
If you are interested in going to college out of state, (your not from North Carolina I'm guessing) then you should check out the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. They have an awesome Fire Safety Engineering program. When you graduate you will have earned a Bachelors of Science in Fire Safety Engineering. I also believe that there are some volunteer departments in the area outside Charlotte that you might could hook up with you continue your training and experience.
UNC Charlotte Fire Safety Engineering
I'd like to join as a Junior Firefighter/Fire Explorer, but when I went to a fire station to ask, they said there was no such program in the area. I'm from Cincinnati.
Cincinnati State offers a fire/EMS program that certifies you to EMT-Basic and Firefighter II when you are done. If you are interrested in working in the suburban Cincinnati area, you'll eventually need to get your paramedic certification if you want full-time work.
Send me a PM if you want info specific to Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
I'm glad to see your interested in the fire service.
I would strongly suggest that you go for your 4yr degree before starting your career. You may want to volunteer as soon as you are able so that you can get a taste of the job. There are some departments surrounding colleges that allow live-in volunteers. That may be an option for you to save money on your rooming costs.
As far as what to study I would go for a BS in business management instead of a fire science degree. Fire science bodes well for the fire service, but doesn't carry much weight outside of the profession. If you were to get a business management degree, it would give you the advantage of having an appropriate degree for the fire department promotional process. And if you were to leave the fire service due to injury or just for a change you would have a degree that would be more applicable to other employers.
I second the advice of getting your degree. It will help you get a job as a firefighter and it will help you in your career. Keep your nose clean, choose good friends, stay in school and stay physically fit.
Good luck, it's a great career.