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  1. #1
    Forum Member terry073's Avatar
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    Default 35 year old rookie?

    hey y'all...

    i'm 34 and i reckon i just figured out what i want to be when i grow up. i've known all along... but i've takin' a round-about way of getting there i guess.

    my dilema: the wife! like i said, i'm 34... my employment history includes 5 years combat medic USN and another 5 as a deputy sheriff here in FL. i'm currently a construction superintendent (4 years removed from the S.O.).

    i've decided that i need to get settled on a career and one that will provide a good retirement. i grew up around a firehouse (dad is retired FF). i've always had an affinity for it... so i've begun researching FF academy here in central FL.

    my wife thinks i'm too old to start something like this. i'm in good shape and feel like i can put 20 in easy. she's also not thrilled with the starting pay, which i understand. but $$ aint eveything i tell her.

    so i'm wondering... are there many 35 year old rookies out there? i figure i can complete academy by Sept. '08 if i start in Jan. and take the night class route. no doubt i can handle it... but will FD's look at me and consider me too old? i know they can't openly age discriminate, but... ??

    what i'm looking for is a bit of encouragement and/or some comments from an objective point of view.

    also, if anyone is in the know, can i use my 5 years with the S.O. (florida state retirement) towards another 20 with a FD???

    thanks for any input!

    - terry


  2. #2
    Forum Member Higby916's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm a 35 year old rookie. I was 34 when I was hired and my class consisted of a range of people from 20 up to 40. You have time and it sounds like you have the drive and quite a resume. Give it all you've got!!

    Starting pay does suck, but it doesn't last forever. Some cities have a 6 month probation period, some 12 months, but either way, you suck it up for a little while and make ends meet until you are making 1st class salary. You wouldn't be the first and you won't be the last. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Forum Member JonathanG's Avatar
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    Default

    I wish you luck and say go for it! Keep us updated on your journey into the FF career.. or better yet, brotherhood.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Most cities would rather hire a 34 y/o with life experience over a 20 y/o with nothing but a high school diploma. I just finished an academy at a very large department and there were a handful of guys in their 30's, and two or three in their 40's.

    You should be able to get hired without going through an academy first, but I don't know how the departments in Florida work

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber Doc1411's Avatar
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    Default

    I turned 36 during my fire academy last fall. I was in a class of 53 with an age range from 18 to 45. The 30+ year olds performed a lot better than most of the young ones. The pay was a step back, but I didn't do it for the money. Go for it and good luck.

  6. #6
    Forum Member terry073's Avatar
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    Default thanks

    thanks for the support everyone! i'm doin' it... i'm leaning towards an academy in orlando since i can go at night. it doesn't start until Jan 08 though.

    i'll keep ya's posted.

    - terry

  7. #7
    Florida Boy!
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    Default

    as far as your FRS, most counties use FRS and as long as you were vested before with S.O. you will carry it with you= five less years till retirment.
    There is Life outside the Firehouse!

  8. #8
    FLA1786
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    Default

    If you want to get the ball rolling you could take your EMT this fall at Valencia CC or Seminole CC(they have a fire academy that does nights too) in Orlando. The program is much better then CFFA's. On my clinicals (I was at VCC) all the Academy guys said they wished they did it that way. The community college programs prepare you for the NREMT written test a lot better as well. You also only go 3 days a week day or night, and you dont have to do the 12 hour hospital clinicals(just 8). There was a guy working at a hospital with me in the acadamy who was doing the 7pm-7am shift and had to be back at the academy at 9am the next day for class. Good luck, if you have anymore questions about Orlando schools or anything just post.

  9. #9
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Default

    You have a pretty good foundation to start with. And youre NOT too old to get into the game. You bring some good things to the table- family, maturity, stability, etc.

    BUT, your competetion has a jump on you in the education field. Why should we hire you over everyone else? Currently a Paramedic, FF1, etc?

    Next- I would suggest testing where you can buy back those lost years in the Sheriff's retirement system. I am assuming you were in Florida's system? Get on somewhere that has the same system and continue where you dropped off. Buy back the lost time if you can.

    Lastly- Please do not use your Father's past postion in the fire service as your sole foundation. Other Candidates have and it doesnt always go over well. I have heard in the past- "I am a third generation Firefighter and..." while pounding on their chest. I am NOT saying you did this, just pointing out some if us started on the bottom with no prior family ties.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

  10. #10
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    Default

    A 35 year old rookie will do very well in the fire service if he is in good physical condition and is willing to fill the role of the probationary firefighter. You do not get a hall pass because you are older and have more "life" experience.

    Having said that, older candidates make excellent rookie firefighters. Add in a wife, kids, and a mortgage and you have the recipe for success. Simply put, this candidate cannot afford to fail.

    My department hires quite a few older candidates. Virtually all have done very well. Best of luck and follow your dreams.
    Also, make sure your wife is 100% supportive.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

  11. #11
    Forum Member terry073's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FLA1786 View Post
    If you want to get the ball rolling you could take your EMT this fall at Valencia CC or Seminole CC(they have a fire academy that does nights too) in Orlando. The program is much better then CFFA's. On my clinicals (I was at VCC) all the Academy guys said they wished they did it that way. The community college programs prepare you for the NREMT written test a lot better as well. You also only go 3 days a week day or night, and you dont have to do the 12 hour hospital clinicals(just 8). There was a guy working at a hospital with me in the acadamy who was doing the 7pm-7am shift and had to be back at the academy at 9am the next day for class. Good luck, if you have anymore questions about Orlando schools or anything just post.
    thanks for the info FL1786... i found a school in Tavares: Lake Technical Center. now, i don't know much about the different schools... which one is better, etc... but this one has a night class starts next month. that'll get me FF cert by Jan. only problem is it's 4 nights/week + 1 day on the weekend. then i can go a couple of months at the CC here and get EMT certified. i'm not worried about the EMT as i was previously certified and have had much more advanced courses. so EMT should be no problem.

    do you know anything about Lake Technical?

    CALFFBOU: i was simply illustrating that i grew up around firehouses... and i have a pretty good idea of what i'm getting into in that regard. no more, no less. no "chest pounding" in other words. although, up north, it's quite a proud tradition to be 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. generation firefighter. nothing to be ashamed about.

    anyhow, thanks for the continued input!

  12. #12
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    Default 37 YO Rookie

    I'm right there with you. I just recieved the good word this week that I have been given a conditional offer of employment with a large metro department.

    I turn 37 in August. I'd say go for it - it can be done!

    Good luck!

  13. #13
    Forum Member terry073's Avatar
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    Default congrats!

    Quote Originally Posted by strangewine View Post
    I'm right there with you. I just recieved the good word this week that I have been given a conditional offer of employment with a large metro department.

    I turn 37 in August. I'd say go for it - it can be done!

    Good luck!
    congratulations strangewine...

    i am goin' for it. academy starts aug. 20, runs through jan. 5. ideally i would take an EMT course that runs 1 day a week concurrently... but i doubt i can convince my boss to let me pull that off. that route gets me done by year end... otherwise i'll have to run EMT after FF and won't finish until april.

    either way i got the ball rollin'... i can't wait to get started.

    take it easy people.

    - terry

  14. #14
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    Talking

    You should do just fine! My husband started the Tucson Fire Academy when he was 40, and turned 41 a month after it started. Good luck!

  15. #15
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    Default

    I would also look into what some of the age policies are in some of the depts. in your area. Some depts. have age restrictions some also will take years of age of with experience. I am starting rookie school again at 31. Follow your passion and good luck.

  16. #16
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    Default

    Besides some of the other good advice here, the military service may also factor in as well. I have seen depts with a max age of 35 to apply, but that was also waived if you were a veteran for your time. In your case if you came across something like that, the dept cutoff is 35, with your 5 years military time, you are considered 30 and have some leeway.

  17. #17
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    Cool Grandpa

    Yeah I got on at 35 yr old, go for it. My guess is your wife doesn't want you around the house as much as the schedule will allow (haha). My wife finally made me get a second job!

  18. #18
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FLA1786 View Post
    If you want to get the ball rolling you could take your EMT this fall at Valencia CC or Seminole CC(they have a fire academy that does nights too) in Orlando. The program is much better then CFFA's. On my clinicals (I was at VCC) all the Academy guys said they wished they did it that way. The community college programs prepare you for the NREMT written test a lot better as well. You also only go 3 days a week day or night, and you dont have to do the 12 hour hospital clinicals(just 8). There was a guy working at a hospital with me in the acadamy who was doing the 7pm-7am shift and had to be back at the academy at 9am the next day for class. Good luck, if you have anymore questions about Orlando schools or anything just post.
    How was the state exam compared to the class ones? Did you get hired on? Where did you go for standards?

  19. #19
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    Thumbs up Lake Tech

    The Lake Tech Ctr also has an excellent EMT program. I went through their night program. I ended up going to IRCC for fire but the Lake Tech Ctr's program is known as top notch. I am in the hiring process with Orange County. BTW, I am 32 myself. Just keep in shape and you should do fine.

  20. #20
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    Default never too old

    I was 35 when hired by my department. As the management will tell you, with older recruits, you know that they have life experience, and more than likely wont skip work to party, long weekends, ect. Starting pay sucks, but when your first class, its all worth it.
    Good luck

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