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  • Getting Hired in Illinois

    I am currently certified by the OSFM in Arizona through IFSAC as a Firefighter II. I will be moving to the Chicago area in January of '07. My understanding is that the Illinois OSFM does not recognize out of state certifications and I need to be hired before I can apply and challenge the state exams for Firefighter II certification in Illinois.

    My question is regarding the hiring process. I am a NREMT certified Paramedic as well and the majority of job postings I have seen on firehouse.com and other places have required FFII certification by Illinois. If I can't get hired without being certified in Illinois, and I can't get certified in Illinois without being hired do I have to repeat my FFII academy in Illinois in order to get hired? Or is it an accepted practice of a department to hire an out-of-state firefighter and request I be allowed to challenge the state exam?
    Also, is anyone aware of a community college or other traing program that offer refresher type courses where I would be able to keep up on my skills and knowledge while I am testing?

    Any reply would be very helpful as I am moving in 4 months.

  • #2
    I'm going to reply assuming you are moving somewhere near chicago. If not you may have a hard time finding work since 75% of the states population resides in the chicagoland area. The rest of the state is really pretty rural. So here we go. While there are some departments that require ffII certs, they are more the exception than the norm. It is much more common to require emt-p or just a h.s. degree. As far as community colleges go, there are several that offer an A.S. in fire science, but that does not really involve much hands on time. If you need work right away, there are 3 companies in the chi area that provide 911 ems service to several municipalities. They are paramedic services of IL (psi), public safety services of Il (pssi), and metro paramedic services. The run out of fire houses and handle 911 calls. They are always looking for help. Tjhe primary reason for that is that they only pay about 32k to start. By contrast, most municiple fire departments start around 45k and go up to about 65+ after 4 years. Anyhow, I hope this helps and if you reply with a more specific location where you are moving I may be able to give you a heads up on upcoming tests.

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    • #3
      Try to get hooked up with a volunteer or paid on call department in one of the suburbs. From what I've heard they arn't that hard to come by. We had a guy come to our volunteer department with certs out of Wiscounsin. He was able to challenge and get his IL certs. As long as your affliated with a dept. of some sort you should be fine.

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      • #4
        I am going to be living on the south side in Chicago. I've been talking with my fiance's family and finding out different suburbs but really don't know anything about the individual departments. Thanks for the help and advice.

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        • #5
          Cicero Il (just outside of chicago, pop 85k) is testing, apps available oct 2,3,4,5,10,11,12,13. over 23 yo under 35. h.s. diploma. police and fire commision # (708) 656-3600. Good department. IAFF. See some fires. Ems is contracted to a private company.

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          • #6
            I am from the southside, and I found that www.publicsafetyrecruitment.com is pretty up to date w/testing around the Chicagoland area. Just a thought. Good luck.

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            • #7
              If I get my FFII in WI, I realize that I wouldn't be able to challenge it in IL until I get hired in there. Would this still help on an application for an IL Dept though?

              I am asking because I am thinking about getting my FFII from Madison Area Technical College, WI. I plan to move back to Chicago suburbs in August. Trying to figure out if it would be worth it. I figured the experience would be reason enough to take it though.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tvalen View Post
                I am currently certified by the OSFM in Arizona through IFSAC as a Firefighter II. I will be moving to the Chicago area in January of '07. My understanding is that the Illinois OSFM does not recognize out of state certifications and I need to be hired before I can apply and challenge the state exams for Firefighter II certification in Illinois.

                My question is regarding the hiring process. I am a NREMT certified Paramedic as well and the majority of job postings I have seen on firehouse.com and other places have required FFII certification by Illinois. If I can't get hired without being certified in Illinois, and I can't get certified in Illinois without being hired do I have to repeat my FFII academy in Illinois in order to get hired? Or is it an accepted practice of a department to hire an out-of-state firefighter and request I be allowed to challenge the state exam?
                Also, is anyone aware of a community college or other traing program that offer refresher type courses where I would be able to keep up on my skills and knowledge while I am testing?

                Any reply would be very helpful as I am moving in 4 months.
                hey man sorry to be off topic but i am moving to MESA AZ soon also and i wanted to ask you a question. hows getting hired like in AZ? i really dont care where i work as long as i get paid at least 20k a year, and im having trouble getting hired in CA i'll take ANYTHING I CAN GET !!! lol.
                my certs:
                FF-1 Academy (16 certs)
                EMT-B
                CAL-Fire 67 hour wildland.

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