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  • Get in school

    It’s time to get back into school. If you are testing for the fire department we expect that you will be ACTIVELY pursuing your degree. If you already have Associates then I encourage you to pursue your Bachelors.

    You can bet the Chief Officers who are interviewing you either already have their degree or they are currently working toward getting it. It looks really badly when you tell us that you are too busy to go to school.

    For the record I just finished Biology 100 and am currently enrolled in English and Humanities.

    Boy do I wish I would have gone to school when I was younger. It’s much easier to do before the responsibilities of a full time job, wife and kids.

    I am enrolled at Coastline Community College www.coastline.edu working an a few loose ends. Their lower division classes transfer to any community college. Once I finish a Coastline I will resume my upper division classes at Cal State Long Beach where I only have 3 upper division classes for my Bachelors.

    With the advent of Internet classes firefighters assigned to shift work can complete a degree without having to get shift trades and standbys. I do most of my owrk at night when the kids are in bed. It really isn't that bad and I am learning a bunch of new information.

    Get in school!

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

  • #2
    Out of curiosity...why does the fire service need more "critical thinkers" (read: liberal arts educated kids) who question every god*mned directive they are given and lack many of the basic skills needed for manual labor and firefighting?

    What prey tell are they going to do with that degree once on our job?

    If one wants to be a fireman they would probably do much better off, enlisting in the service for a tour or taking up work in the trades. (Carpentry, ironworking...etc.)

    Having a college education is fine but demanding that everyone of your prospective hires has a BS degree (or is working towards it) because you do is a bit shortsighted...one of the strengths of our job is the varied skills and talents that come from having men on my job who were carpenters, pipe fitters, ironworkers, sandhogs, Marines, Army soldiers, Sailors. (And to be fair, stockbrokers, salesmen, and pizza delivery men)

    Demanding only limp-writsted college book worms that are taught to question everything and many times lack the mechanical aptitude too perform blue collar labor will do nothing to improve the fire service as a whole.

    JMHO.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 08-31-2006, 09:29 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Not too mention it devalues the degree. Years ago having a High School Diploma meant something. Now my wife with a BS in Biochemistry can't even get a decent job in her field. Lots of positions are requiring higher and higher degrees. Another part of the problem is that fewer and fewer jobs are willing to do on the job training. If you don't come into the interview already knowing how to do the job, you're not gonna get hired.

      Sucks.
      Fir Na Tine
      Fir Na Au Saol

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by needlejockey
        Not too mention it devalues the degree. Years ago having a High School Diploma meant something. Now my wife with a BS in Biochemistry can't even get a decent job in her field. Lots of positions are requiring higher and higher degrees. Another part of the problem is that fewer and fewer jobs are willing to do on the job training. If you don't come into the interview already knowing how to do the job, you're not gonna get hired.

        Sucks.
        Yeah let's look for the least common denominator in life. Education gets folks to find ways to work more effeciently and effectively. Smarter not harder saves lives. I can get anyone from a H.S. Dropout to a double PhD into great physical shape, but I can only expect the educated man to look at a situation and pick the best solution out of the multitude of options that they might have available to them.
        Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
        -Big Russ

        Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

        Originally posted by nyckftbl
        LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by FFFRED
          Out of curiosity...why does the fire service need more "critical thinkers" (read: liberal arts educated kids) who question every god*mned directive they are given and lack many of the basic skills needed for manual labor and firefighting?

          What prey tell are they going to do with that degree once on our job?

          If one wants to be a fireman they would probably do much better off, enlisting in the service for a tour or taking up work in the trades. (Carpentry, ironworking...etc.)

          Having a college education is fine but demanding that everyone of your prospective hires has a BS degree (or is working towards it) because you do is a bit shortsighted...one of the strengths of our job is the varied skills and talents that come from having men on my job who were carpenters, pipe fitters, ironworkers, sandhogs, Marines, Army soldiers, Sailors. (And to be fair, stockbrokers, salesmen, and pizza delivery men)

          Demanding only limp-writsted college book worms that are taught to question everything and many times lack the mechanical aptitude too perform blue collar labor will do nothing to improve the fire service as a whole.

          JMHO.

          FTM-PTB

          Hey buddy, it's *VERY* likely he's talking about some sort of Fire Science degree type, not liberal arts.

          Oh yeah, we don't just fight fires anymore either. I don't know if your still back in the 70's or what. We need critical thinkers these days. Not thinking critical will get ya killed.

          The good thing about the fire service is that, whether your a English graduate or a skilled welder, you can be trained on everything you'll need to know. Thats why they most likely have academies for, no??

          Let's see whose word I would take when competing for a job... a Battalion Chief that sits on a hiring board or FFred's?

          Comment


          • #6
            I think they are looking for critical thinkers because of a shift in the fire service. THe old days of "look at his arms.." and "he is huge" being requirements for getting hired are long gone. Now, they want people who can think on their own. Rather than having to tell someone "i want a 4x4 hole cut using a k-12 saw with a metal cutting blade" and basically having to do it for them, they want people who if you tell them "Cut me a whole in that metal sliding door", they cant figure that out all by themselves.

            Plus, with all the updates in building materials, hazmat, and crap... the old days of putting the wet stuff on the red stuff are gone. Now.... people have to "think" a little
            The Box. You opened it. We Came...

            "You'll take my life but I'll take your's too. You'll fire musket but I'll run you through. So when your waiting for the next attack, you'll better understand there's no turn back."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by division2
              Let's see whose word I would take when competing for a job... a Battalion Chief that sits on a hiring board or FFred's?
              Exactly what I was thinking

              Comment


              • #8
                I dont think FFFred has any valid points. I'm only 21 and in school right now and trying to get on a department, but I have worked with my dad who is a carpenter since i was old enough to sweep up around a job site. My dads been a carpenter for almost 30 years now and he never graduated high school and has been injured while working and almost killed twice. Ever since I was young all I heard from him was go to college and get an education so thats what im doing. I dont think that people trying to get ahead in life and have it better than their parents are going to make bad firefighters. Also say you get hurt on the job and have an education. It gives you alittle more to fall back on than your benefits. If I were FFFred I would get in school.

                Comment


                • #9
                  more education, the better!

                  FFFred is absolutely right.. the fire service has NO place for "critical thinkers" nevermind the pre-fire plans, SOPs, scene size up, command unit.. what are those for anyway?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Let's see whose word I would take when competing for a job... a Battalion Chief that sits on a hiring board or FFred's?



                    I'll pick FFred anytime,Street smart vs book smart, old school vs the young
                    " I never saw that done in the book "clueless.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by signal22
                      FFFred is absolutely right.. the fire service has NO place for "critical thinkers" nevermind the pre-fire plans, SOPs, scene size up, command unit.. what are those for anyway?
                      I guess if you are content to be the junior ranking guy at the firehouse with no say in the way the department operates at the time of retirement Fred is right on.
                      Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
                      -Big Russ

                      Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

                      Originally posted by nyckftbl
                      LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Out of curiosity...why does the fire service need more "critical thinkers" (read: liberal arts educated kids) who question every god*mned directive they are given and lack many of the basic skills needed for manual labor and firefighting?

                        I’m so glad you asked. First of all, a critical thinker is not the same thing as a “liberal arts educated kid.” If someone can’t follow orders and they lack the basic skills needed for manual labor and firefighting, they do not belong in the fire service. You may have a warped perception of what a college degree is and what it takes to obtain.



                        What prey tell are they going to do with that degree once on our job?

                        The same thing everybody does with their strengths and experience - use it to become better and better at the job.



                        If one wants to be a fireman they would probably do much better off, enlisting in the service for a tour or taking up work in the trades. (Carpentry, ironworking...etc.)

                        I have no argument that trades and military experience are excellent tools to have in your toolbox. They are a vital part of what we do. However, the face of the fire service is continuing to change, and if we want to be taken seriously by the public and our city officials (who are actually our bosses), we should certainly have a heavy percentage of educated professionals among our ranks. Besides, many of the candidates that I run across spend more time complaining about how they can’t get a job than they do learning any kind of trade or pursuing an education, and I believe they are the ones this post was directed at.



                        Having a college education is fine but demanding that everyone of your prospective hires has a BS degree (or is working towards it) because you do is a bit shortsighted...one of the strengths of our job is the varied skills and talents that come from having men on my job who were carpenters, pipe fitters, ironworkers, sandhogs, Marines, Army soldiers, Sailors. (And to be fair, stockbrokers, salesmen, and pizza delivery men)

                        Paul said very clearly that he DOES NOT have a degree - he is working toward it; that is how important it is to have. The shortsightedness comes from people who have not put in the effort and hard work to achieve this accomplishment, and wish to pigeon-hole everyone who has done it so they feel like a bigger man. Some of our most highly respected Firefighters on my job have a background of military service, hands-on trades experience, and Bachelor’s Degree level college educations.

                        You are right that one of our strengths is our variety of background. The advice given in this post was for individuals pursuing a career in the fire service. Why wouldn’t you pursue every avenue possible if the job means that much to you?

                        Demanding only limp-writsted college book worms that are taught to question everything and many times lack the mechanical aptitude too perform blue collar labor will do nothing to improve the fire service as a whole.

                        This pretty well speaks for itself… my department has a thorough testing process and probationary period to weed out those who lack the mechanical aptitude to perform the job. What “improvement” in the fire service as a whole do you propose?



                        JMHO.

                        I assume this is intended as a reference to your “humble opinion?”



                        FTM-PTB

                        BTW, I’m a FOOL myself…
                        Chris
                        Professional Firefighter

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          How long can you tread water?

                          Getting an education will help you in many ways. But like was mentioned above Paul points out you can gain an education on line.

                          Everyone has an opinion, there are exceptions and more than one road to a badge and there are no guarantees in life whatever path you take. This might help:

                          Ask yourself who’s getting the badges? Those who have advanced degrees or medics?

                          Those few departments that place a higher priority on and an advanced degree should not be considered the bellweather on how to get hired.

                          Michael J. Ward, MGA, MIFireE Assistant Professor
                          Fire Science Program Head
                          Northern Virginia Community College
                          Annandale, VA
                          http://www.gwumc.edu/ems/ward.html

                          wrote in a previous posting on what's the best preparation to get hired:

                          Entry Level: Medic

                          Promotion: Degree

                          So why not get the job first and gain your education, certificates and degrees at a local college or on line before you’re eligible to take your first promotional test in what 4 to 5 years? Many colleges provide classes on a firefighters schedule.

                          Where are you going to get the most bang for your buck? We have enough chiefs. We need more Indians. We’ve all seen those who’ve become educated beyond their intelligence.

                          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’s going to wait while you pursue your career?

                          Option: If you have the interest and ability how about becoming a medic where up to 80% of the job offerings are for fire/medics? Time line? Gaining your pre-requisites, EMT ambulance time, medic school and gaining some medic experience on the street. Around 2 years.

                          No matter what path you take you still have to learn how to take a firefighter interview.

                          This from a previous from our son Captain Rob:

                          Which Path?

                          In our last four academies we have hired 39 medics and 12 firefighters. The reason was that my department was changing over to having a medic at each station. We are down about 25-30 people right now. We probably won’t hire all medics, because medics aren’t the people who are retiring and we don’t need everybody to be a medic, and they cost 10% more.

                          But when I asked around to find out which of those 51 people had
                          gotten a degree, nobody knew. Because, at least with my department, it isn’t a requirement in the hiring process. Of course it counts for something, just like being an Eagle Scout, or having experience on an ambulance of fire job, but it isn’t even mentioned on the job announcements. Most fire departments are the same way.

                          I don’t think there will be the same mass hiring of medics in the
                          future as there has been, because most of the departments that are or
                          were changing over have. But there are still far fewer people competing for those jobs than for the F/F-EMT spots.

                          If two people had 5 years to prepare for a job, and went different
                          routes, who do you think would have the better chance at getting hired?

                          Person one graduates, gets his F/F1 and starts to volunteer with the
                          local fire department. He gets his EMT and then starts working on the
                          ambulance. While doing that he works on finishing his fire technology
                          stuff. After six months he is accepted into medic school, and works for
                          two years as a medic and volunteering with his department. The last
                          year he applies for and is accepted to do one year of CDF seasonal
                          firefighting. He has been taking every test he qualified for since he
                          got his F/F1

                          Person number two graduates and goes to a top-notch four-year
                          college, he is a smart guy he does very well in sports and classes.
                          After four years he is one of the few that can graduate on time, most
                          take five years now, but he took summer classes. After he returns home,
                          he gets his F/F1 and EMT in one year, because he is a smart guy and
                          knows how to learn.

                          So here we are on test day, both our guys are sitting in their
                          suits waiting for their turn in the hot seat to ask for a career. The
                          first guy can go in and can show he meets the requirements F/F1 and EMT.

                          He can talk about having experience as a firefighter for four years, and
                          seeing millions of acres of fire with CDF. He can talk about working as
                          an EMT, then medic for a few years. He has taken enough tests so that
                          this isn’t new to him, and he can deliver all of this in a calm
                          comfortable manner.

                          Guy number two is going in for one of his first tests. He has
                          taken tests since he got his F/F1 but there have only been two. He
                          tells them he has his F/F1 and EMT, will have all of his fire technology
                          classes done in six months, but he also has a B/A in something.

                          Which guy would you want to be? Who has the better chance? It’s
                          pretty simple, really it is.
                          Last edited by CaptBob; 09-03-2006, 05:22 PM.
                          _____________________________________________

                          "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


                          • #14
                            "Ask yourself who’s getting the badges? Those who have advanced degrees or medics?"

                            That's a fine question; my dept. (large CA agency) historically hires equal numbers of paramedics and degree holders, with the exceptions leaning in favor of advanced degrees. We have a first rate paramedic program. Many individuals with medic certs finish probation and are activated as medics, complaining all the way that they "want to be firefighters for awhile". Well, they went to medic school, so they're going to be paramedics.


                            "Everyone has an opinion, there are exceptions and more than one road to a badge and there are no guarantees in life whatever path you take."

                            Agreed.



                            "We have enough chiefs. We need more Indians. We’ve all seen those who’ve become educated beyond their intelligence. "

                            Wow. So this is about people who are overly educated? Every single person, on every run has to function at a very high level in many areas:

                            Decision making
                            Critical thinking
                            Task completion
                            Following directions
                            Adhering to policies and procedures
                            Physical performance of duties

                            There are an infinite number more...

                            Whenever this topic comes up, the focus shifts from the first five to the last one. I will be very clear here. Every member of the team MUST be able to physically and manipulatively complete the job. But I could teach a gorilla how to drag a hose and force entry into a structure. I cannot teach him the Incident Command System or how to give a drill in front of his crew. I cannot teach him how to complete a patient assessment or how to successfully complete probation. An individual must be teachable in order to succeed in the fire service, and typically college grads have already exhibited this very important quality.

                            I do not believe that every college grad is right for the fire service any more than I would say that every construction worker or welder is right for the fire service.


                            "So why not get the job first and gain your education, certificates and degrees at a local college or on line before you’re eligible to take your first promotional test in what 4 to 5 years? Many colleges provide classes on a firefighters schedule."

                            Because most young firefighters will not do this. This is not realistic. They may start, but most that I have seen fizzle out because they aren't hungry enough for it. They have the job, and lose sight of the value of the degree.

                            I have stated before that Fire Dept.s are looking for mature, capable workers who understand how to work within a pre-defined system to fulfill the requirements to be successful. No chance anyone could get that in college, I guess? I have encountered enough ambulance drivers who are no closer to being ready to be a firefighter than the guy working the counter at the local burger stand to realize that most dept.s want "squared-away" firefighters rather than bone-head paramedics.

                            Medic school may or may not help you get the job. You have to actually be the right person in order to learn the culture, fit in, and succeed with a good reputation. Not everybody is a good fit to be a firefighter.

                            This topic WAS about getting in school as you pursue your job, but thanks for the sidetrack (have I read that post somewhere before?). Of course medic school is an option, as is fire academy, volunteering, learning a second language, learning a trade, joining the military - there are thousands of routes to take. Yet every time Paul or I bring up college attendance, we get the same reply.

                            I still don't understand your opposition to working hard for something that may take more than 4 years and better yourself in whatever career you end up in.
                            Chris
                            Professional Firefighter

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I definitely agree that having critical thinking skills is necessary as a fireman. However, you don't necessarily have to have a college degree to think critically. I have a B.S. in biochemistry, and I work with several other individuals with similar qualifications; however, there are several of these individuals that I wouldn't trust to "critically think" their way out of a paper bag. On the other side of it, I know several people who have no or low degrees that are better critical thinkers than I am. In the end, it doesn't really matter how highly trained you are academically, it's all in how you were taught and how much your personality predisposes you to critical thinking.

                              <rant>Unfortunately, the bachelor's degree and associate's degree are being required for so many jobs now that they essentially hold the same weight as a high school diploma used to. If I want to get a good job in my field (i.e., room for promotion and making enough to support a family) I have to at the very least get a master's degree. Where does that leave someone with a masters ten years from now, if this trend continues? </rant>

                              Though it would be wonderful if people would actually get jobs based on skill, it looks like we're stuck with degrees as being the defining factor for who gets a job anymore.

                              Comment

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