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Aspiring Firefighter, need academic direction

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  • Aspiring Firefighter, need academic direction

    Hello forum,

    Currently I'm a high school student aspiring to become a firefighter, with only about 24 hours of volunteer work and am going to try to join a long term volunteer program with a local station.

    I was hoping that some of the members here could point me in the right direction to achieve my goal.

    Right now I'm planning on attending Western Oregon University to attain my Fire Service Administration degree right out of high school. From there I plan to attend a community college for my EMT-Basic, join a fire station in some way (as a worker or volunteer) while continuing my education up to a Paramedic License.

    I do plan on moving up the chain of command throughout my career so I thought that I might as well get my Fire Service Administration degree that will also show my commitment to the career.

    I was wondering what thoughts some of you here have of this, and if you have any suggestions on what I should plan to do.

    Any help is appreciated.

  • #2
    Ah, thank you for the move! Was wondering where this kind of section was at.


    • #3
      I have an associate's degree in Fire Science. Got my firefighter II card (card needed for full time firefighting in OH) and EMT-basic and then moved on to EMT-Intermediate during my degree. I wish I would have went to Paramedic school earlier. I have my paramedic now and its a bear testing and doing all that fun stuff. As I'm sure some of the other guys on here will tell ya, certifications are good, experiance is better and a good head on your shoulders will top everything off. The degree is good in the long term. LOOOOOONNG term. It's also a good talking point for interview with civil service although im sure any degree can be made into a good talking point. Some civil service tests are giving points for associate/bachelors degrees in EMS or fire, kind of far and few between but i've seen more and more. Also as one of my good friends who has been a medic for YEARS now, your Paramedic is your "golden ticket" there are plenty of tests that you can't even look at without it. Smaller departments especially. If I had it to do over again, I'd try to do it all together. It sounds tough and I'm sure it will be but after the 2 years or so it takes it'll pay off

      hope it helps
      Firefighter, EMT-P, CICP, EMSI, HazMat Tech


      • #4
        Job advancement

        You sounds like your on your way. I'll let you know what I did and hopefully it can help you to achieve your goals. Graduated high school and started the fire academy next semester where I recieved HazMat certs., confined space rescue, auto ex., etc. I enrolled into my EMT class which started the next semester after the academy. I joined a local city department and became a explorer for a few months. I then joined the local FD as a volunteer where I actually stayed at the station for certain days of the month. This took me about 4 months to jump through the loops before starting. Never responded in my own vehicle. At this time I actually started figuring out the way the fire service works and how to act in the firehouse. After volunteering for about 3-4 months I got picked up as a seasonal firefighter. As soon as my EMT class was over with I started on my AS Degree (Fire Tech.) Even during fire season I was loaded up on 14-22 units. It was very difficult at times going up North and down South for fires but most of the teachers understood. For my first two offseasons I was still loaded up on classes for my Degree and started taking state fire marshall classes working towards my Fire Officer certificate. Three years later after starting my Degree I recieved my AS Degree and had various fire management classes and certificates. During my third off season I attended my Medic School and finally recieved my Fire Officer certificate. Currently I have been testing with many departments and I am starting my field portion of my medic school. Throughout the time I also volunteered over 200 hours through my department's volunteer in prevention program which does parades, fairs, school events, etc to teach fire prevention to kids. I also got my cpr, ead instructor. Two resume builders. After I finish my medic I will likely get some time on the box and finish up my technical rescue classes.

        Hope it helps.


        • #5
          Just a thought

          You are ahead of the game in a lot of aspects because you already know what you want to do with your life and you are still only in high school. Most people that join the fire department don't realize that the fire department is their true calling, and they're already involved in a different career path.

          If I had to do it all over again this would be the path I would take. After high school attend a community college and get your AAS in fire science, as part of your degree you will obtain an EMT-B, which as you have probably realized is the basic requirement for all fire department tests. While enrolling in school try to get Volly job with a local fire department, here is where you will learn about the fire service culture, specifically how to work and behave. Lastly, try to get a job with an ambulance service and work on your EMS skills (The best paramedics were great basics.) If you find that you like EMS then the fire service is for you, most FD's average about 70-80 % total calls as EMS. Lastly, think about P-School. But, please do this only after several years as a basic and learning a little about EMS before trying to go from zero to hero.

          Save the fire service administration degree for several years down the road. There are several national universities that offer this degree online, and most departments have some type of tuition assistance program where they help pay for your schooling. Why waist your hard earned money if the department is willing to pay for these classes. I feel you would have a tough time going the fire service administration route right out of high school because these classes talk about budgets, public policy, strategies and tactics and crew resource management (All which require life experiences and on the job training.) Best of luck to you.


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