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    Hi, I'm 18, getting ready to graduate high school, and have come to a critical juncture. I am planning to go to college, for engineering. But, I have always wanted to become a firefighter. My father was a firefighter, and he said it was the best job he'd ever had. I am looking into the local Fire Academy here in KC, offered by our community college. It's FF1 and FF2, EMT, and Hazmat. It's four months, every day, and costs about $3k. Once through that program...I will start applying and practicing the oral boards. Am I on the right track here, if I decide to become a firefighter? Thank you.
    Probationary Firefighter

    FF/EMT-B
    Paramedic in training..

  • #2
    You're on the right track....the question is Do you really want to be a firefighter?

    Try it out though...and if possible get involved with an Explorer post or equivelant. You get to see what it takes to be a FF and see if it is a path for you to take. You can be an Explorer at 18...If you like it...go through the academy. It would be a shame to spend the money and find out you don't like it. Thing is you won't find anyone on this forum to say they don't LOVE the job!
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    • #3
      Awesome, I am a city employee here in a suburb of KC. I am working with them on starting me as an explorer. And I do have to admit, this forum is a little biased...
      Probationary Firefighter

      FF/EMT-B
      Paramedic in training..

      Comment


      • #4
        I too love my job. I can't imagine doing anything else. I too knew I wanted to be a firefighter at a young age. I got hired by a fire department at 20 years old. In retrospect it was waaay to young.

        If I had it to do all over again I would have gone off to school and earned a 4 year degree. I recommend you strongly consider doing the same. The fire department will always be there. In reality you will have a very difficult time getting hired at a young age. I am not saying it can't be done, but it will be very tough.

        Enjoy being a kid. Go to college and when you're done at 22 (still young), you will have a better chance of getting hired. More importantly you will have a degree that will benefit you forever. If you do get an Engineering degree, you will be able to make some good money on your days off.

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

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        • #5
          A couple of things to think about. First, you have to be happy with what you're doing. Don't do anything because you think it will make someone else happy. Firefighting is a lot more hard work than most people think. Even as a firefighter's son, it is hard to understand a lot of the less glamorous parts of the job. It would probably help you to find a good volunteer or bunk-in program to test the waters and get a feel for the profession. You will get a lot of training out of it as well. You could bunk in as a college student. The volunteer department I started in had a lot of college students as residents. Engineering is a great profession with a lot of different fields that you can get into. For my money, I would look into a civil engineering or fire protection engineering program. They are both great programs with a lot of job opportunities. Plus, they both relate pretty directly to the fire service (structural engineering is part of the civil engineering discipline in most undergraduate programs). If you do decide to become a firefighter, you will always have a good career to come back to either after you retire or if you get hurt. Decide what you want to do. If it's engineering, you can still volunteer at a local department. If it's firefighting, then got get 'em. But, keep that ace in the hole.

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          • #6
            I think YOU should go for it. Don't worry about getting a "four year" degree or being a "kid" do what makes you happy. I sacrificed friends and girlfriend to get into firefighting and dedicating my time mostly every night with just reading, going to training, and responding to calls. I know your 18 and I agree with Chief on maybe you wanting to be a kid, but just know it's all serious work. I got hired at 20 as well. Your right on the track

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            • #7
              I think University of Maryland has a Fire Engineering program. If you wanted you could do that and stay at a local fire house. A lot of the fire departments in that area have live-in programs. Might want to take at least FF1 though to see if you like the job. That's what I did. I liked everything at the time, but figured that after doing all of the practical stuff I would know for sure. So last fall I took FF1 and now I love everything even more. It's also a good confidence booster when applying to bigger departments. When you make it into the academy, you will know that you can do it because you've done it before. Hope that helps.

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