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  • Trevkm7
    replied
    Hey guys great advice and I'm taking all of it into account...Because of my money situation and the fact that if I went to school I would get a good amount of debt, I am really looking into joining the air force to be a firefighter. Now IF i could get into the air force as a firefighter would all of my certs still be with me when I come back into the civilian world? I'm really interested in serving, it seems like a cool experience and a way to get away from home and live on my own while earning some money,I just want to know if it will do all that and give me the certs I need to get hired when my duty is up.

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  • powerhourcoug
    replied
    I got my four year degree in Communications first. I wasn't thinking about firefighting at the time.

    Now that I'm hired, my department pays for my schooling. Good thing about having a 4 year degree out of the way, is it only takes a few classes to get a fire science degree. I'll do my masters next, and the department will pay for that as well. Again, I'll be ahead of the curve because I'll already have my AA and BA.

    I currently am, and will be way ahead of 99.9% of my competition by promotional exam time (but that is a long ways away - I like riding backwards too much).

    Furthermore, and not that this job is about the money, but many departments will pay you extra for being educated. I'll get an extra 2% of top step wages once my fire science degree is done. That's an extra $50,000 over the course of my career. Some departments pay 4% and 6%, respectively, for Bachelors and Masters degrees. I think you can do the math.

    Finally, you may get hired as a firefighter, but you'll always want to have a backup plan. Firefighters suffer 80,000 OTJ injuries annually, many of which result in early retirement.

    I have 2 uncles who were forced to retire early due to severe injuries. Every time I see them, the first thing they tell me is to make sure I have a back up plan in life. Not all of us get to kick in doors and eat smoke for a full 30 years.
    Last edited by powerhourcoug; 03-08-2011, 02:27 AM.

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  • BFDCP
    replied
    I have to agree with Chief Lepore. I was hired at 22 with about 1 year left of school. I was so determined to be hired at a young age, I (foolishly) passed on going straight to a 4 year university after high school and enrolled in junior college and worked different jobs. As it turns out life happens, you get married, have kids and it becomes harder and harder to finish that education that will be invaluable when it comes time for promotion or even more important telling your kids they NEED a 4 year degree to have any decent job. Not to mention, I do regret not having that traditional college experience.

    You have plenty of time to get hired. Saying that you don't want to be waiting around until your 25 is a bit of an insult to those who don't get hired until they are in their 30's. I read somewhere that the average age of a recruit these days is 28...so there is plenty of time to live your life.

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  • paulLepore
    replied
    You are very welcome. Getting hired on the fire department is very unique as you have to pay it forward. What I mean by that is that you must complete your education, training, and experience before getting hired. When we have an open seat, I want to hire someone who is best quaified (and suited) for the position. As a general rule the person who can convince me that he or she is the most qualified for the position will get the job.

    Of course there are many other factors involved with selecting the right person such as their character, background, and history of responsibility.

    It is true that most places will train you upon being hired, but again, the person who comes with the most training et al will be an easier fit.

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  • Trevkm7
    replied
    Originally posted by paulLepore View Post
    Trev,
    That's an entirely different question altogehter. I am sure that others will weigh in on the topic.

    I will tell you that I LOVE my job, although I had much more fun when I was working as a firefighter/paramedic on the box with a good partner. Being a Captain was great too as I could build a crew around me. Being a Battalion Chief was fun, but being in charge of 50 firefighters each day can be a challenge. Now as a Division Chief, I have an entirely different set of roles and responsibilities.

    If I had it to do all over again, the only thing I would do differently is to have gone to a university and earn a 4 year degree before getting hired on the fire department.

    As far as selecting a career in which you will make more money, that may apply on your end of the country bit it certainly does not apply here in California. In LA and Orange County most of the firefighter medics make over 100K. The standard of living is a little better in Northern California. I understand that California is one of the few areas in the country where this is the case. Money certainly is not everything, being happy in life is.

    I am 3 1/2 years from retirement and am really looking forward to it. I know I will miss it, but I have plenty fo things to keep me busy.
    Thanks so much for the help and incite, I really just needed someone who has done it before to talk to and I had nobody to give me some perspective...thanks again

    Leave a comment:


  • paulLepore
    replied
    Trev,
    That's an entirely different question altogehter. I am sure that others will weigh in on the topic.

    I will tell you that I LOVE my job, although I had much more fun when I was working as a firefighter/paramedic on the box with a good partner. Being a Captain was great too as I could build a crew around me. Being a Battalion Chief was fun, but being in charge of 50 firefighters each day can be a challenge. Now as a Division Chief, I have an entirely different set of roles and responsibilities.

    If I had it to do all over again, the only thing I would do differently is to have gone to a university and earn a 4 year degree before getting hired on the fire department.

    As far as selecting a career in which you will make more money, that may apply on your end of the country bit it certainly does not apply here in California. In LA and Orange County most of the firefighter medics make over 100K. The standard of living is a little better in Northern California. I understand that California is one of the few areas in the country where this is the case. Money certainly is not everything, being happy in life is.

    I am 3 1/2 years from retirement and am really looking forward to it. I know I will miss it, but I have plenty fo things to keep me busy.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trevkm7
    replied
    Originally posted by paulLepore View Post
    Trev,
    I certainly understand the challenge of going to school while working full time. 7 years ago I was 9 classes away from an AA degree. I just finished my Masters degree. This while working a full time job, being a husband, father, and writing a couple of books. Time management skills are very important.
    The more you can accomplish, the more desireable you are for us to hire. While you have a full plate, there are plenty of pepole who are doing everything you mentioned above and have a wife, kids and/or a mortgage payment. Life is full of choices. You can choose how to spend your time.
    You have a good start, but there is certainly room for more (JMHO).

    And yes, volunteering ABSOLUTELY does help you get hired!
    thanks for the incite Paul,I definitely see where your coming from as someone who is actually looking over all the applicants,your going to pick the person most dedicated to getting a job on the fire dept.It just seems like alot of schooling to do (between the fire tech associates degree and the paramedic schooling)just to "have a better shot" at getting hired when it is not a definite thing. I'd like to ask, seeing as there are many other careers that require around the same 4 years of schooling that pay more...are you genuinely happy with your job as that is my main concern.If I go through all the schooling and finally get hired and I love it and could be making more money doing something else I would still be elated to get up and go to work doing something I love everyday...I guess thats where volunteering comes in because I can actually find out first hand if I enjoy the job.
    Last edited by Trevkm7; 03-02-2011, 12:36 PM.

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  • paulLepore
    replied
    Trev,
    I certainly understand the challenge of going to school while working full time. 7 years ago I was 9 classes away from an AA degree. I just finished my Masters degree. This while working a full time job, being a husband, father, and writing a couple of books. Time management skills are very important.
    The more you can accomplish, the more desireable you are for us to hire. While you have a full plate, there are plenty of pepole who are doing everything you mentioned above and have a wife, kids and/or a mortgage payment. Life is full of choices. You can choose how to spend your time.
    You have a good start, but there is certainly room for more (JMHO).

    And yes, volunteering ABSOLUTELY does help you get hired!

    Leave a comment:


  • surferdude311
    replied
    Originally posted by Trevkm7 View Post
    I dont have time to volunteer because I am taking 12 credits at community college and also working 20 hours a week to pay for it...not just because of school, I will make time in the near future though,my plan was to get my emt license and make that my job so that I can get paid while getting the experience needed to get my paramedic cert,but if volunteering is going to help more in terms of increasing my chances of getting hired then that is what I am going to do. Thank you for the advice
    volunteering doesnt help u get hired one bit....go paramedic youll get the job!!

    Leave a comment:


  • Trevkm7
    replied
    Also the "fall back plan" of going to college was basically so that if I don't get onto a fire department by the time I am finished with school I could choose a different career.Firefighting is what I want to do but I don't want to wait until im 25 to do it. My parents are old school,nothing is given to me and I work for everything I have and I just don't know that I could make it to 24 or 25 without making money along the way,waiting tables at restaurants is good pay for a highschool or college student,but at 23 or 24 it is a lowly job. I guess I have to reassess my plan,because if I keep doing this and not bettering myself as a job candidate I won't ever get hired, I have already taken two fire tech courses at college but next semester I will be taking more because you guys have shown that if you want to get hired that is the best route.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trevkm7
    replied
    Originally posted by paulLepore View Post
    If you want to join the military to serve your country then do it! Do not do it because it will make you a more marketable firefighter candidate. Very few places are going to hire you at 18, The examples posted above are not current as LA City has had a hiring freeze for quite some time. The realiity is that very few people will be hired at even 22 years old, especially with all of the candidates we have to choose from.

    I am a little confused when you say that you are in school as a fall back plan. You should be there working on your AS degree. This is what you will be doing if you are a serious candidate. Also, having too full of a plate because you are a full time college student at the junior college and do not have time to volunteer is a poor excuse. Your competition is doing it, so too can you. IF someone your age were to be hired in your region, I would put my money on the one who is able to accomplish all of the above.

    Good luck with your decisions.
    I dont have time to volunteer because I am taking 12 credits at community college and also working 20 hours a week to pay for it...not just because of school, I will make time in the near future though,my plan was to get my emt license and make that my job so that I can get paid while getting the experience needed to get my paramedic cert,but if volunteering is going to help more in terms of increasing my chances of getting hired then that is what I am going to do. Thank you for the advice

    Leave a comment:


  • paulLepore
    replied
    If you want to join the military to serve your country then do it! Do not do it because it will make you a more marketable firefighter candidate. Very few places are going to hire you at 18, The examples posted above are not current as LA City has had a hiring freeze for quite some time. The realiity is that very few people will be hired at even 22 years old, especially with all of the candidates we have to choose from.

    I am a little confused when you say that you are in school as a fall back plan. You should be there working on your AS degree. This is what you will be doing if you are a serious candidate. Also, having too full of a plate because you are a full time college student at the junior college and do not have time to volunteer is a poor excuse. Your competition is doing it, so too can you. IF someone your age were to be hired in your region, I would put my money on the one who is able to accomplish all of the above.

    Good luck with your decisions.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trevkm7
    replied
    Originally posted by PaulC. View Post
    Hi Trev-

    If you really want to be a structural firefighter working for a municipality in the US...go straight to getting that done. Military service is commendable and important, but it would really just be putting one more thing in the way of achieving your dreams if its not something you have a burning desire to do. I just wrote a few articles on this subject on my blog that you can check out for more.

    Best,

    PaulC.
    I see it the same way,I want to be working as a firefighter sooner than later,and going to the military puts a 4 year gap minimum in between when that could happen and now.

    Leave a comment:


  • PaulC.
    replied
    Hi Trev-

    If you really want to be a structural firefighter working for a municipality in the US...go straight to getting that done. Military service is commendable and important, but it would really just be putting one more thing in the way of achieving your dreams if its not something you have a burning desire to do. I just wrote a few articles on this subject on my blog that you can check out for more.

    Best,

    PaulC.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trevkm7
    replied
    Originally posted by AJ770 View Post
    Don't join the military to help become a firefighter, Join the military to serve your country. I spent six years in the Army non firefigher related Mos. I hated people who cried when it was time to deploy. The Military is not a college paid/help you get a job Solution. Its to defend this country.
    as I said,if I did join the military I would never join just to take advantage of it,I would do my job and serve my country to the best of my ability,and definitely would never serve if I was hoping to not be deployed. I was simply seeing the military preference points and training to something I want to do as a civilian as a plus

    Leave a comment:

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