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I am a Marine who wants to know how to become a firefighter

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  • I am a Marine who wants to know how to become a firefighter

    What's up brothers. I am stationed out in Okinawa, Japan. I want to become a firefighter. My MOS is supply so that doesnt help me. I have already taken one college class in Hazardous Materials. I want to know what I can do so when I do get out, I wont have to worry about not succeeding this dream of mine. How can I make this a sure thing and not worry about it and what do I have to do in order to become a firefighter? Thanks for the posts.

  • #2
    First.. thank you for your service.

    You already have an advantage in the form of veterans preference. Depending on the hiring system in place, veterans get extra points added to their score (providing they pass the entrance exam).

    Keep your service record clean and get your DD214.

    When you do get out, stay out of trouble with the local constabulary.

    Don't get a DUI...

    Stay physically fit.

    Keep an eye out for recruiting announcements and exam dates, and keep in mind that there will be competition.

    Don't become discouraged... persistance pays off.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    • #3
      In addition, start looking around and figure out where you want to work. Is it your hometown? Your nearest metro area? And so on...

      Hiring requirement vary from area to area and city to city. A dept in the Los Angeles area may require you to have all your certs and be a paramedic before you even apply. Whereas a dept in the midwest might not have any requirements and judge you solely on potential. Getting an idea of where you want to work will help us (and you) figure out what might be the best way to prep.

      One thing that is fairly consistent is the oral interview. At most depts, it is 100% of your ranking on the hiring list. Everything else is just pass/fail. So get a couple review books for the written test an go over them (your base library will probably have some) and then start practicing for your oral. Do a search for "oral interview" on here and you'll find plenty of information. It is unlike any interview or board you've been before in the past.

      Start applying a few months (3-6) before you ETS. Hopefully you can catch a process starting right around the time you are released. It is a long process and takes most people a couple years to get hired, if they're lucky. There is no way to make this a sure thing, but there are ways to increase your chances.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by QuickBack View Post
        What's up brothers. I am stationed out in Okinawa, Japan. I want to become a firefighter. My MOS is supply so that doesnt help me. I have already taken one college class in Hazardous Materials. I want to know what I can do so when I do get out, I wont have to worry about not succeeding this dream of mine. How can I make this a sure thing and not worry about it and what do I have to do in order to become a firefighter? Thanks for the posts.
        I'm a former Navy vet and have and can speak from some experience here. First off, depending on how much longer you have left in your enlistment, there is much you can still do. Don't worry about your MOS as a relative to the fire service, it really doesn't matter, being a vet you have the same chance as getting hired as a vet who did FF as their MOS.

        What you should look into doing is obtaining college education as you can while still in. If there are classes offered, take advantage, it shouldn't matter if the class is business communications or history, take advantage of college courses because credits do transfer. If close to your EAOS, look into the Navy/ Marine Corps campus and look into taking CLEP and DANTES tests. These are tests where you challenge a subject and if you pass, you get the recommended college credits....of which should also transfer.

        Now, personally, I definately and highly recommend going to school for a fire science degree and education. I would recommend looking into a tech school for an Associates because they tend to cater to the job requirements to get on a dept, rather than furthering education for promotion as a bachelor's does. However, if you prefer a BS, go for it. Either way use your GI Bill benefits, you earned them. Also look into obtaining a paramedic certificate, that also helps in the job world.

        There are many job sites like Fire Recruit.com (which I used) which gives a great idea of who's hiring, where, and the requirements. I recommend testing for depts even if going to school, the process for a FF job is unique and the more you test, the better you may get. If you got hired before completeing school, well even better. I would advise against just looking for that one specific dept or that one specific area you want to work, broaden your scope and your chances greatly increase. Also, just don't focus solely on the testing process, look at obtaining as much education you can from a degree to certs.

        Vet points will also help your chances, yet the chances get better with a degree, fire certs, and paramedic. When you do get out, go to the nearest VA office to you and register your DD-214. These places are also very helpful and knowledgeable with benefits you may be entitled to.

        Not trying to get too far ahead, but if you do get hired by a dept, chances are you will do a probation period. If you still have GI Bill funds, you can claim the probation period as apprentice training and you can receive GI Bill benefits. There is a time limit of 10 years to use the GI Bill, so do take advantage. Good Luck.
        The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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        • #5
          I agree with just about everything jccrabby says, except the part about getting a FS degree. Here's my take on it... You will get all the FS knowledge the Dept wants/requires you to have in the academy. If your job changes (engineer, investigator, etc.), they will provide the additional training. However, with a degree in something else, it will still give you the credit for having a degree. I have yet to see an application requiring a FS degree or credits. Any degree might give you extra points or pay incentive once you're hired, but doesn't have to be FS. Plus, on the chance things don't work out getting hired, there's not a whole lot a FS degree can be applied toward outside the Fire Service.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by zzyyzx View Post
            I agree with just about everything jccrabby says, except the part about getting a FS degree. Here's my take on it... You will get all the FS knowledge the Dept wants/requires you to have in the academy. If your job changes (engineer, investigator, etc.), they will provide the additional training. However, with a degree in something else, it will still give you the credit for having a degree. I have yet to see an application requiring a FS degree or credits.
            Actually, there are many depts that are requiring further education. Here in WI, there are a number that require a degree in FS and if you would like to see the job requirements of a dept requiring a FS degree, I'll be happy to send you a copy of our depts. Now, I do agree with the issue that a degree in something else can help, but realistically, with education today, I can apply my AS degree to any number of BS degrees out there and they don't necessarily have to be fire related.

            As for the education standpoint, as I mentioned when looking for a job, there were several depts that required further education, or did give points. Now when looking for a job, 2 years is a lot less to obtain that degree in FS, than a BS in any number of other studies. Typically, that is what you see, a dept asking for an AS in FS or a BS in anything. You really are seeing a push in further education and a less of a drive of depts sending people to school for further education. Much like paramedic, it is easier to require medic from applicants, or give extra points for those who are a medic, than it is to spend money sending existing personnel to medic school.

            Now a training academy will vary and there are all sorts of ways of training for dept promotions. The reason I disagree with a straight testing approach is there is a bigger push for education and it broadens your opportunities moreso than just testing and relying on vet points. As for worrying about a degree outside of the FS, does it really matter? If one is driven to become a FF, why spend time on studies unrelated to your goal? If a dept asks for certs or education, why spend time studying to be an electrician if that isn't the goal?
            The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

            Comment


            • #7
              Everyone has an opinion, there are exceptions and more than one road to a badge and there are no guarantees in life which ever path you take.

              Education will never hurt you. If you really want to get a firefighter job consider these points:

              Is there a requirement for an advanced degree to get a firefighter job?

              Answer: It’s rare to see departments require an AA or an advanced degree to apply. Those areas like MI and WI are setting the bar higher to cull the heard because HR doesn’t want to spend the money to test and there are few jobs available there now. Look at the recent postings for Flint, MI: http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...=114897&page=3

              Even if you get an advanced degree in a fire science related field you need to get the JOB first to be able to use it.

              Where are 80% of the job offerings?

              Answer: Fire/medics

              There are up to 800 candidates chasing each firefighter job. How many are chasing a fire/medic job?

              Answer: 12-20. Which odds do you like better?

              What’s the time line? If you’re just starting college and want to get your BA, it could take you 4 maybe 5 or more years depending on when you can line up and complete all your classes and requirements. Then, if you wanted to go further the timing it to get into and academy and or paramedic school and get some street time another 2+ years? So around 7 years give or take to get in position to go after the badge. Are you going to need student loans? Do you have a special person in your life that is going to wait while you pursue your career? How long can you tread water?

              Try and get your EMT before you separate because you will able to take more tests as an EMT.

              The path to become a medic is about 2 years with gaining some savvy street time. If you can get in an academy in that time period it will be convincing evidence that you have the hands on experience that a department can take a risk on you.

              Can you continue your education once you’re hired? Will departments give you an education incentive?

              Answer: Yes to both.

              Yes, having a degree will help with promotions but you have to get the job first. How long will it be before you will qualify to take a promotional exam?

              Answer: Engineer depending on the agency 3 plus years. An officer? Five or more years. So if you get on you could obtain the necessary education before your first promotional test to be in position. And, the department will pay for you to go to college.
              _____________________________________________

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

              More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
              http://www.firehouse.com/contact/10544410/bob-smith


              Fire "Captain Bob"

              www.eatstress.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Depending on how old you are, move to Boston after your service and take the next exam in 2012. If you are a vet and resident over a year in any city you go to the top of the list as long as you score a 70 or above and pass the physical. Thanks for your service.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bbell1977 View Post
                  Depending on how old you are, move to Boston after your service and take the next exam in 2012. If you are a vet and resident over a year in any city you go to the top of the list as long as you score a 70 or above and pass the physical. Thanks for your service.
                  Don't disabled vets go on top of the list?
                  _____________________________________________

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

                  More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
                  http://www.firehouse.com/contact/10544410/bob-smith


                  Fire "Captain Bob"

                  www.eatstress.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I was just in your shoes when I got out in 2008. Looking back and knowing how competetive this process is I'd have started a lot sooner. Get your EMT now, find out where you want to work and get after it. But you can't put all your eggs in one basket, it's just to competitive to be that selective.
                    Anyone know how a department looks at disabled vets? I have a disability rating but I never actually list it for fear of them reading into the word "disabled".

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Silent8404 View Post
                      I was just in your shoes when I got out in 2008. Looking back and knowing how competetive this process is I'd have started a lot sooner. Get your EMT now, find out where you want to work and get after it. But you can't put all your eggs in one basket, it's just to competitive to be that selective.
                      Hmmm, weird how I basically mentioned that same stuff, speaking from experience, but seems that doesn't count for much when you got folks pushing a book or others who don't think you know what you are talking about.

                      Like you, I wished I also started sooner. When I went in many, my recruiter included, were under the impression the military training would suffice for experience and one should have no problem walking out of the service and onto a dept. I did plan on going to school for a degree, but my issue was I thought the classes were specific. When there was a college instructor who came to the ship, the class was like history, math, etc, general studies basically. I did do a couple such courses only to find that all courses transferred and several of my general courses for my degree were taken care of. Had I known that, I could have potentially received my FS degree in a year or just over because many general courses would be taken care of. Vet points do matter, but so do qualifications, certifications, and education. The more you can offer the better your chances of getting hired.

                      EMT can help, but may be very difficult to obtain while serving since the OP states he is stationed in Japan. Whereas college courses are offered through the Navy/Marine Corps campus on virtually all bases and also offer CLEP and DANTES testing. EMT is rarely offered through the military for non rated or non MOS personnel, meaning one has to have a good reason to go through such a course and tends to also mean more service time to an enlistment....not the thing someone looking to get out and find a fire job wants to do. However, luckily, most tech schools or community colleges do offer an EMT program, so it helps to find a school early. EMT-B is typically a semester course and there are some paramedic courses that are a year program, but one typically has to be an EMT-B first to apply.




                      As for disabled vet, I guess it would depend upon what the disability is in. If you meet the requirements for the job, there shouldn't be an issue. However, I don't know of many depts that have a disability vet points, there may be some and standards may have changed because of the two latest wars. Most depts just have vet points and the application should have a sheet explaining what qualifications are needed to receive points.
                      Last edited by jccrabby3084; 07-14-2010, 01:02 AM.
                      The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for your service!

                        And Capt Bob is spot on.

                        With the economy being what it is today. Departments dont want to shell out Overtime for people to go to medic school. For instance i took an accelerated Paramedic program that has a very good reputation in illinois. i was in and out of medic school with my license in hand in 9 months. I am currently on the list for a Department. They continued to call me through medic school to see how i was doing. once i told them i had my license they started to finish up the hiring process. I was number 35 on the list and the guys below me had no Medic license.

                        Get your EMT-B then Get your Medic License. In fact some hospitals are now affiliated with colleges and you get college credit for these classes and you can get an AA degree in EMS Services.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CaptBob View Post
                          Don't disabled vets go on top of the list?
                          You're right Bob..Disabled vets go first.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just re-up and latmove to 7051. you'll get all the training you need (more than you actually need to get a ff job in most cases), plus the experience.

                            its a hard mos to get into and depending on your duty station life can be absolute hell, but the training and experience you'll gain is unbeatable.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bbell1977 View Post
                              Depending on how old you are, move to Boston after your service and take the next exam in 2012. If you are a vet and resident over a year in any city you go to the top of the list as long as you score a 70 or above and pass the physical. Thanks for your service.
                              Steve wrote: When I was 10 years old, my father as a captain on the Boston Fire Department took me to work with him. That afternoon we got a call. We rolled out with a lot of other rigs to an apartment fire. I saw my dad get off the rig, direct people for rescue and extinguish the fire. I knew right then that I would not be satisfied until I achieved my badge. — Steve

                              Steve became a firefighter in a smaller city in Mass but wanted to follow in his father’s foot steps by working for Boston. He got a 100% on the written but after Disabled and regular DD214 vets he came out 151 on the list. Boston doesn’t give oral boards. He knew there were a large number of candidates in previous tests that didn’t make it through backgrounds. As the list was winding down to the last hiring he got the call. Steve’s dad pinned his badge. It doesn’t get much better.
                              _____________________________________________

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

                              More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
                              http://www.firehouse.com/contact/10544410/bob-smith


                              Fire "Captain Bob"

                              www.eatstress.com

                              Comment

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