1. #1
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    Cool Military firefighter experience vs "conventional" means of getting hired

    I've recently began doing a great deal of research on becoming a firefighter. My previous career path was leading to be a dentist. However, I've realized that I was pursuing that for all the wrong reasons (primarily the $ aspect) and that I wouldn't be happy doing it. Firefighting is very appealing to me for many reasons (hands on, helping people, physical, etc).

    I'm 23 years old and will be graduating from Arizona State University in May with a B.S. in biology and a minor in business.

    I was wondering how military firefighting training/experience compares to the "conventional" way of applying (EMT cert, fire academy, volunteering, etc) with regards to getting hired. I'd love to work for the city of Seattle but I know that it is extremely competitive and am trying to decide which avenue would put me in the best position to get my dream job.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FridayStax View Post
    I'm 23 years old and will be graduating from Arizona State University in May with a B.S. in biology and a minor in business.

    I was wondering how military firefighting training/experience compares to the "conventional" way of applying (EMT cert, fire academy, volunteering, etc) with regards to getting hired. I'd love to work for the city of Seattle but I know that it is extremely competitive and am trying to decide which avenue would put me in the best position to get my dream job.
    Well first and foremost....get your degree.

    As for military FF, are you planning on going into the service? Personally, I would say get your B.S. degree and then look into getting your FF certifications. Possibly get on with a volunteer dept or even full time if you can.

    If you are wondering between candidates with military experience vs those without. It depends on the individual dept. Military vets do get extra points for their service. The fire service is paramilitary and prior vets understand orders, chain of command, discipline, and usually have a good work ethic. Although, just because you were a FF in the military does not make you better suited over a civilian candidate.

    A college degree does go a long way today and it does not really matter what the degree is in. You can look into getting fire certifications and experience and that can help you out as well. As for Seattle, I don't know the details, but being a big city, chances are you take your written, do your physical agility. If you pass that, you are going against all those that have also. If there is an interview, that is when you get to sell you. Military points can be given for the written test or for the overall score. If you score high enough as is, you shouldn't have to worry about those with military points.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jccrabby3084 View Post
    Well first and foremost....get your degree.

    As for military FF, are you planning on going into the service? Personally, I would say get your B.S. degree and then look into getting your FF certifications. Possibly get on with a volunteer dept or even full time if you can.

    If you are wondering between candidates with military experience vs those without. It depends on the individual dept. Military vets do get extra points for their service. The fire service is paramilitary and prior vets understand orders, chain of command, discipline, and usually have a good work ethic. Although, just because you were a FF in the military does not make you better suited over a civilian candidate.

    A college degree does go a long way today and it does not really matter what the degree is in. You can look into getting fire certifications and experience and that can help you out as well. As for Seattle, I don't know the details, but being a big city, chances are you take your written, do your physical agility. If you pass that, you are going against all those that have also. If there is an interview, that is when you get to sell you. Military points can be given for the written test or for the overall score. If you score high enough as is, you shouldn't have to worry about those with military points.
    I currently have no FF experience and am trying to decide which route to take. The military route would provide experience, several certs (I believe), and a little more discipline never hurt anyone.

    Also, the extra points would be great.

    The downside to that is to my understanding there is a min enlistment of about 4 years in the AF or 3.5 in the Army (going in to see a recruiter Thurs for specifics). So I could spend that time getting my certs and experience going. Either way, I don't expect to have a job as a full time FF within the next 3-4 years.

    I'm just trying to decide which path would be most beneficial so I get can get it going!

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    Military firefighting is dwindling as an MoS. The Air Force is your best bet for becoming amilitary firefighter, but that's a minimum four years, and you aren't any closer to your dream of Seattle. While you may get certs, experience is very lacking. One guyin my department right now is an active duty air force firefighter, and he's only run 1 call that amounted to anything in the last six months. There simply isn't the call volume to compete with even some small rural areas. The training is top notch, unfortunately, it's mostly just that.

    And the fact your certs will mean next to nothing in a big city setting anyway, because you'll still have to attend the academy, means unless your heart is set on the military, it probably isn't the place for you.

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    If you're focus is to join the military to serve your country and accumulate varied experience, then do it. If you want to be a Fireman, go get your paramedic license and go to Florida or California. Military firefighting does nothing to help get you a job unless you are planning on a DoD dept after the service.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry4184 View Post
    Military firefighting is dwindling as an MoS. The Air Force is your best bet for becoming amilitary firefighter, but that's a minimum four years, and you aren't any closer to your dream of Seattle. While you may get certs, experience is very lacking. One guyin my department right now is an active duty air force firefighter, and he's only run 1 call that amounted to anything in the last six months. There simply isn't the call volume to compete with even some small rural areas. The training is top notch, unfortunately, it's mostly just that.

    And the fact your certs will mean next to nothing in a big city setting anyway, because you'll still have to attend the academy, means unless your heart is set on the military, it probably isn't the place for you.
    From my research (and everyone's comments here) so far, it seems that the AF would be my best best if I were to go the military route. I've always been tempted to join a branch of the military (previously interested in Marines or Army) but it would have set me back in my previous career path (dentist). If I could join for 2 years, I'd be all over it. The 4 year minimum is what is making me lean towards gaining experience/certs as a civilian.

    Thanks for the input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnyv View Post
    If you're focus is to join the military to serve your country and accumulate varied experience, then do it. If you want to be a Fireman, go get your paramedic license and go to Florida or California. Military firefighting does nothing to help get you a job unless you are planning on a DoD dept after the service.
    I've always been interested in joining the military, which is what makes that option attractive. However, my main goal is becomming a firefighter so I want to do whatever will give me the best shot in achieving that goal asap (which sounds like doing it as a civilian).

    This may be a noob question, but why do you recommend CA or FL? Are there currently more FF jobs available there? My goal is to ultimately work in the NW (Seattle specifically).

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    From what I've seen on these forums, CA, FL, and NV seem to be growing by leaps and bounds. LA city and County are supposedly hiring thousands to fill a wave of retirees. I can tell you from first hand experience that MI is laying off FFs left and right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FridayStax View Post
    I've always been interested in joining the military, which is what makes that option attractive. However, my main goal is becomming a firefighter so I want to do whatever will give me the best shot in achieving that goal asap (which sounds like doing it as a civilian).
    OK, then "do it as a civilian", but join the Guard or Reserve in an unrelated field...you can have it both ways. Or try for an FF billet in a Guard unit, most Air Guard wings have FF billets in their Civil Engineering Squadrons, as I understand it.
    You want an education, well, as a Guardsman or Reservist, you're eligible for the GI Bill and in some cases states cut their Guard people extra state-funded education benefits, or reduced tuition rates above and beyond the Federal benefits.
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    Quote Originally Posted by the1141man View Post
    OK, then "do it as a civilian", but join the Guard or Reserve in an unrelated field...you can have it both ways. Or try for an FF billet in a Guard unit, most Air Guard wings have FF billets in their Civil Engineering Squadrons, as I understand it.
    You want an education, well, as a Guardsman or Reservist, you're eligible for the GI Bill and in some cases states cut their Guard people extra state-funded education benefits, or reduced tuition rates above and beyond the Federal benefits.
    get in touch with a Guard or Reserve recruiter to discuss your options. Air Natl. Guard Recruiters only recruit for their base. If you do decide that Military Firefighting is the way you wanna go, stay firm with that decision. Do not waver. I waited a year to finally get accepted to my Fire Department. 148th Fighter Squadron, Duluth, Minnesota.

    Having a "dream location" looks good in your head, but you have to remember, it will be extremely competitive. You only get Military preference points if you have certain awards for deployments you have made. Shouldn't be a problem as if you do go to an Air guard unit, you will deploy to the region eventually. i guess my suggestion here is spread your net wide here. Apply to as many departments as you can in the Pacific Northwest.. (Gorgeous area by the way..) Don't turn down a job offer waiting for that call from Seattle, it's always good to have your foot in the door. (it brings experience at least)

    A little about me. I am an 8 year Navy Vet with Aircraft and shipboard structural firefighting training. I just recently completed the DoD Firefighting academy and am currently an Air Force Firefighter with the MN ANG. I am a Security Officer for F/T work and an active volunteer Firefighter in my free time. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

    -Damien

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    DFurtman: *scratching head* Not sure why you quoted my post, Bro...I'm already in the Guard, albeit Army-side (and 68W, not 21M )....

    But your words are very good advice for the young hopeful.
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    Quote Originally Posted by the1141man View Post
    DFurtman: *scratching head* Not sure why you quoted my post, Bro...I'm already in the Guard, albeit Army-side (and 68W, not 21M )....

    But your words are very good advice for the young hopeful.
    lol... dunno why i did it either... haha

    -Damien

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    There is another military option where you only serve around 18 months active duty. It's called the national call to service program, but I'm not sure if the crash/fire/rescue (what the Marines call it) program is one of MOS's eligible for this contract. Depending on the units around your location, you could do the reserve option, you would just have to find somewhere that has a need for reserve firefighters, as not all bases staff that MOS. You'd get the training and then would only commit 1 weekend a month to the military, being able to spend the rest of your time testing for civilian firefighter jobs.

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    Default Just a thought!

    Have you ever thought about being a Dentist and a fire fighter? My wife is just finishing up her dental school while I am working towards my goal of being a fire fighter. Most Dentist only work 3 to 4 days a week which would leave you a lot time to work ten days a month as a fire fighter. (Now that's one well paid fire fighter!!) you can even have a practice with a partner so you would even work less.
    Now I'll let the other guys correct me if I'm wrong but my advice to you will be to finish school, get your fire certs, maybe work as a EMT, volunteer, and apply anywhere you can.
    Good luck to ya what ever you decide to do!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rustonrider View Post
    Have you ever thought about being a Dentist and a fire fighter? My wife is just finishing up her dental school while I am working towards my goal of being a fire fighter. Most Dentist only work 3 to 4 days a week which would leave you a lot time to work ten days a month as a fire fighter. (Now that's one well paid fire fighter!!) you can even have a practice with a partner so you would even work less.
    Now I'll let the other guys correct me if I'm wrong but my advice to you will be to finish school, get your fire certs, maybe work as a EMT, volunteer, and apply anywhere you can.
    Good luck to ya what ever you decide to do!
    Hey, that would be a very well paid firefighter indeed! However, it would be 5 years before I could get my DMD/DDS and then I'd be working full time under another dentist for the first few years. I'd be able to buy out his practice after a couple of years (it's a friend of the family) which would allow me to hire another dentist and work less. But, that would put me about 8-9 years out before I could really invest time into becoming a firefighter.

    Personally, I'd rather work soley as a firefighter (and get it going much sooner) and make less than to do both. It's something to think about though. Thanks for the input.

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    The expericance is good, If you end up in a war zone the vertrans credits helps.
    Slop sink, Flags and pump 150
    Getting there is half the fun

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