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Education for a better chance in a paid Dept,

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  • Education for a better chance in a paid Dept,

    Well, I would just like to say up front that I am very new to this website and I love the idea of a nation wide firefighting forum, anyways..

    As of now I'm 19 and still in high school which is not very enjoyable. I've been a firefighter since I was 16 (and I mean the day after my birth day :] ). Now that my senior year is nearing it's end I will pursue my life long dream to be in the service. It's not that simple though, and here's why.
    I was born in Poland and when I was just about 12 my mom decided that her along with her two sons (one of which being myself) would join my father in the US which have been his home for 3 years. So there I was growing up in a new country with only a work visa under my dad keeping me as a legal resident. It's now been 9 years that I've been waiting for my green card and according to our lawyer along with the up-to-date visa bulletin, I should be a green card holder withing the next 4-5 months tops. That being just about the time that I'll be out of highschool.
    I have already set up an appointment with the Marine recruiter for tomorrow to talk about some details. But I'm mostly interested in the GI Bill which will hopefully get me through college. Now the question is what is the most Fire Dept related major that the higher ups might enjoy looking at when applying to a paid town. Besides fire science which is only a short class and probably going to end up on my schedule anyway.

    I also have another question for those familiar with the rules and regulations.
    Last year I was arrested for possession and influence of a controlled drug substance commonly know as Marijuana. Which kind of suck since I was neither in possession nor under the influence but I guess cops like the idea of a group punishment around here. I have gotten my butt kicked for this from the guys at the fire house countless times so I'm not looking to get ridiculed but to look for information. My lawyer got me on a 6 month probation following a record expungement program that I have already completed. He (my lawyer) claims it should not come in the way of my enlistment but I know for a fact that an FBI background check will show my past sins. Will service in the military help to put this misunderstanding on a better condition if it were to come up on a fire dept. interview?

  • #2
    The military service looks real good and also gives bonus points on a lot of departments. The GI bill is also a great thing to get out of it. An associate degree in Fire Science is a 2 year program and if you are looking at just being a firefighter and not looking to progress much higher in ranks it is not a bad way to go to get your along the first few promotions. I think a lot of people might say some sort of Business Administrative 4 year degree to go for the higher ranks but I am not to sure on that. If you can get some medical training in there too that would help a lot. EMT is a good start or if you can get your Paramedic that helps out a lot.

    The drug charge may cause some hiccups in the process and I am sure there are others on here that know more but that will come up in the background check and can cause some red flags. You might want to explain that at the first opportunity that you can so it does not come up as a surprise later on.


    • #3
      Good for you, setting a goal at such a young age. The problem you overlooked is your choice of friends. Unfortunately your "friends" cost you a big mark on your record.

      Any degree you get will be helpful. You can target a degree in emergency management, public administration or business. All are applicable to the fire service. I encourage you to work ONLINE toward your degree once you get settled into your assignment. I completed many of my courses at www.coastline.edu. They specialize in distance learning, especially for men and women in the military. The classes are relatively inexpensive as it is through a junior college.

      While you are in the military, you should take advantage of any additional training they will provide such as corpseman (sp), EMT, first responder, haz mat, ICS, diesel mechanic etc. These additional certifications will make you more marketable when you get out.

      Lastly, the military is a fantastic way to learn responsibility and see the world. If I were younger and in your position I would join today.

      Choose your friends wisely! Good luck, stay safe, and THANK YOU for serving our country.
      Paul Lepore
      Division Chief


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