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Thread: A few questions

  1. #1
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    Default A few questions

    Hello all, nice to meet everyone. I'm a brand new aspiring firefighter. I would like to ask a few questions. I am 27, I have been working in the oil field since I turned 18, as I married my high school sweetheart and had to get a decent job asap to support us financially. Recently a friend of mine since high school got hired on to a fire department in Ft Worth. He suggested I try to become one as well, saying I have the heart of one. I have always loved helping people, volunteering to help build churches and whatnot on my sparetime. I became fascinated with the idea and can't get the thought out of my brain. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. It's my dream job to actually get paid to help people. Anyhoo, what it boils down to.

    I do not have the greatest track record. My credit history isn't the greatest. Actually I have none. I always paid for everything cash (oil field work does pay well at least) I do have a truck repo on my credit from about 5 years ago though. So I guess all I have is bad credit. Blah I was arrested once when I was 21 for not paying a no insurance ticket I had. Other than that, never been in trouble of any kind. All that in mind, I cannot take off from work to go to a fire academy. So I decided to do it online. Trainingdivision.com.....Is that place any good? Would an online academy worsen my chances? By the time I get everything, such as a degree in fire science etc I will be pushing 30, with my track record...at 30 What kind of chances do I stand of actually making it? I would hate to frustrate my wife, and miss spending the much needed time with my 2 kids by spending 1000's of dollars and man hours on trying to pursue this and not standing a chance against the younger 21 yr old recruit with an impeccable record all around. I would appreciate any advice. Sincerely Thanks


  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dissonance View Post
    Hello all, nice to meet everyone. I'm a brand new aspiring firefighter. I would like to ask a few questions. I am 27, I have been working in the oil field since I turned 18, as I married my high school sweetheart and had to get a decent job asap to support us financially. Recently a friend of mine since high school got hired on to a fire department in Ft Worth. He suggested I try to become one as well, saying I have the heart of one. I have always loved helping people, volunteering to help build churches and whatnot on my sparetime. I became fascinated with the idea and can't get the thought out of my brain. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. It's my dream job to actually get paid to help people. Anyhoo, what it boils down to.

    I do not have the greatest track record. My credit history isn't the greatest. Actually I have none. I always paid for everything cash (oil field work does pay well at least) I do have a truck repo on my credit from about 5 years ago though. So I guess all I have is bad credit. Blah I was arrested once when I was 21 for not paying a no insurance ticket I had. Other than that, never been in trouble of any kind. All that in mind, I cannot take off from work to go to a fire academy. So I decided to do it online. Trainingdivision.com.....Is that place any good? Would an online academy worsen my chances? By the time I get everything, such as a degree in fire science etc I will be pushing 30, with my track record...at 30 What kind of chances do I stand of actually making it? I would hate to frustrate my wife, and miss spending the much needed time with my 2 kids by spending 1000's of dollars and man hours on trying to pursue this and not standing a chance against the younger 21 yr old recruit with an impeccable record all around. I would appreciate any advice. Sincerely Thanks
    30 is not too old. We had guys in their late 30's early 40's in my academy.

    You have to ask yourself if you want to take a paycut to become a FF. I assume that you are making a heck of a lot more than $30-40K a year and that is the avg. starting wage. A lot of the guys in my class took sizable pay cuts for a CHANCE to become a paid FF. Remember, just because you get into an academy does not automatically guarantee a J-O-B.

    Your history isn't that bad... you didn't kill or have any sexual misconduct, right? A lot of people make mistakes and have problems. They look for a pattern of consistent problems with Johnny law. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't get an interview (with the exception of possibly; Kalifornia).

    I can't comment on the online training as I have never done it. That said, this is a hands on job that requires hands on skills. I would imagine that a real died-in-the-wool academy would be a better bet for any prospective candidate. Just my opinion.

    There are lots of Baby boomers on the cusp of retirement and around here; S. Arizona, Dept.'s are hiring like crazy. Good luck.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    Default

    Just a suggestion:

    Is there a local volunteer fire service you could look into before taking the full plunge? That might be a good way to test the waters and determine if this is even for you.

  4. #4

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    Cool Here ya go

    I am in your shoes right now I am a 27 year old probationary firefighter for a volunteer/paid by call department here in ohio, I can sympathize with you on the money issue and the time it takes for the training, I feel that if its in your heart to become a firefighter I would have to say go for it and don't second guess yourself, I almost did and don't regret my decision one bit, I completed my volunteer class training and passed the state certification and have many calls under my belt and have the full support of my family, friends and loved ones close to me in pursuing my choice to become a full-time firefighter one day, hopefully before I am 30, HA HA HA HA. So I say to you is go for it do not hesitate.

  5. #5
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    Lol I'm sorry, I should have mentioned I just recently got on with a volunteer fire department almost 2 weeks ago. So far so good. I have only been on 2 calls though lol

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    Its great that you have a strong desire to help people and join the fire service, because it is truly a great career. However, the fire service has evolved and is no longer the typical "blue collar" job people perceive. Firefighting has become a profession in America, and to be a "professional" takes a lot of time and hard work. That being said, I think that you should certainly pursue your career but you will have to make some sacrifices. First off, and online academy will not even come close to preparing you for this profession. Attending a real academy not only teaches you the book knowledge, but also orients you to things like working with a team, following a chain of command, being accountable to show up or perform a task. Furthermore training evolutions allow you to participate in tasks like hooking up a hose, turning on a hydrant, throwing a ladder, advancing a hoseline, searching for victims. These things are essential in the fire service and Can Not be taught in an online academy. My suggestion would be to gain the support of your wife and family by explaining that if you become a firefighter your family will have great benefits and you will have more time to spend at home. Ask them for help! Maybe they could get a second job for a while, or loan you some money while you attend the academy. EMT courses can be taken online...no problem. Fire standards generally shouldn't last more than 3.5 months, and you could still work at night or on the weekends. Don't worry about a fire science degree until you are employed. Then your dept. will help pay for you to get it! Also, don't stress over your credit. It looks bad, but there are ways to make up for bad credit, and it is not detrimental. The arrest will be a hurdle to get over. Be sure you have all the necessary documents concerning the incident, and if you can show it was simply for not paying a ticket...you can probably get around it. Good luck with everything.

  7. #7
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    I agree with Chiefdh, if you truely have the desire to do this, just take your generals that don't take that long. I also agree that you should not take the classes online, maybe for some continuing education that would be fine but not when you are just getting started. Another good way to bump up your chances of getting a job is to get all of the medical stuff out of the way before you attempt to get a job, there, I would also suggest NOT doing it online. Give some serious thought to going to paramedic school, it has come to the point that just an emt cert is not that much help anymore. You'll make yourself more marketable plus, you are not narrowing your options to just Fort Worth, I know it takes alot of time but take it from someone who it worked for. You have a large spread to choose from down there in Tx, I am in Minnesota where we only have around 20 ft fire dept., you need to give yourself every opportunity. You need to just make the decision and totally immerse yourself for that period and make the sacrifice, in the end it will pay off. The time you sacrifice now with your family may lead to many, many years of only 10-12 work days a month. Check with the chief of your volunteer dept. to see if they will pay for some of your classes, most do because it benefits both you and your dept. Also, I would not worry about your past too much, if what you have written in your post is all there is. Just be honest, if you get to the background portion of the process DO NOT HIDE ANYTHING!! the investigators will find everything. If you come forward with anything atleast you will have a chance to explain yourself, and that you are on the straight and narrow. They will repect that and may overlook that past. I also would not worry about the age thing too much, nationwide the avg age of a fulltime firefighter probie is around 30-31 yrs of age. When hiring, deptartments also look at maturity, and life experience.

  8. #8
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    Default Thanks

    Thanks everyone for the thoughts and replies. I am currently going to EMT school and from there I will try to push for paramedic. I don't think I will go to fire academy until later. I went and talked to one of my local fire departments the other day. I was told if I became paramedic certified, they could practically guarantee me a job. That around here, a full paramedic is hard to find, most everyone just has a EMT cert. They have been shorthanded on paramedics for the last couple of years and can't seem to hold onto them. So, I was told to get my paramedic cert, and they would send me to fire academy. Stating it was much easier to send someone to fire school then EMT school. Anyhoo, thanks again

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