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Are Trade Skills Helpful

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  • Are Trade Skills Helpful

    Hello all, I'm looking at starting an EMT program in February with the eventual goal of getting my paramedic. I will also be joining the local volunteer fire department to get some experience under my belt.

    However, I was wondering if it would look good on a resume if I took some classes at the local community college in the trade skills (carpentry, construction, etc.)? If so, what would be the best field to take classes in?

    Or should I concentrate on getting my EMT certification and my firefighting skills? I've been reading one of Paul Lepore's books quite a bit lately and he is a big proponent of firefighters having that sort of knowledge.

  • #2
    Would concentrate on ff and emt first

    Then go for any training , education
    National fire academy etc


    • #3
      I know Paul and can relate to what he's saying. Back in the day, some 30 years ago, fire and police department's were hiring a lot of ex-vietnam vets and tradesmen. Generally speaking, many civil service jobs at that time were the main source of income these guys had and many would hold second jobs as carpenters, contractors, electricians, framers, ect. ,for additional income. This is because civil service jobs didn't pay much then. What was discovered was that these "tradesmen" made great firefighters, for obvious reasons. People with building trade experience knew a lot about building construction, electrical wiring and how to fix things around the station. These skills became very much valued.

      Nowadays, not so much the case! There are some newer firefighters that can barely figure out a lawn mower, or identify basic hand tools, let alone understand how buildings are constructed. That is a LONG explanation, but basically, if you don't already have those skills, don't worry about them right now. Like fire49 said, get EMT or Paramedic training, fire science and more pertinent education. Worry about the trade education later.

      "The Axeman"
      "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields POWER AND DOMINION IN ACTION!!!"


      • #4
        There is no “Magic Bullet” that will get you a job. Obviously you want to have your training and education in fire and EMS first. But there are a lot of other things that count in an interview.

        There is no one thing that is looked upon more favorably than military service. Having served tells us a lot about you, you understand the chain of command, how to take an order and are able to work under pressure.

        A lot of jobs and skills will help you in presenting yourself in an interview. Construction, basic labor, working repairing engines, customer service jobs, working with kids all count for something. I have worked with a lot of people that were teachers that have had great success.

        Basically what it comes down to is you need to go into an interview as a complete package. So many people have given candidates the impression that they should only talk about the fire and EMS stuff they have done. That is where you should start, but it is the other stuff that will separate you from the other people.

        I talked to a guy who had worked on scooters. His comment was, “I can give a saw a couple of pulls and if it doesn’t start I can tell you if I can fix it quick, or we need to get a new one. Afterward, I can take it completely apart and put it back together in 10 minutes”. That is something that relates directly to the job, and we can see where this person will be an asset.

        I would get your F/F1 and EMT before you worry about anything else. Those are the things you need to qualify to take the tests and be competitive. After that I wouldn't necessarily take a class in carpentry or automotive repair, actually do those things. A great way to get experience in a lot of different jobs is by working for a temp. agency. In a very short period of time you can have done a lot of different things and gain a little knowledge in all of them.

        We hired a guy a few years ago that came with nothing but the basic classes. He was asked to go and get a screwdriver. He asked, “Do you want the flat one or the one that looks like a flower?” You don’t want to be that guy. Of course his nickname is now flower.

        Good Luck, Capt Rob
        Good Luck, Capt Rob


        • #5
          You just can't go to the National Fire Academy. You must be associated with, either a career or volunteer member of an organized fire department and your fire chief or head of that department must sign a federal application for you to attend.

          Just sending in that application, doesn't guarantee you a seat. Usually they will get loads of applications for maybe 25 to 30 seats for a particular course.

          Your construction skills may help you in a volunteer department but don't mean anything in a career department. Most volunteers departments and a lot of career department like for you to have some type of firefighting training and certifications.

          Usually in Virginia and over in Maryland, you need nothing but to either get appointed to a volunteer or career department. They will send you to their school and certify you. Even if you came from some other state[s], unless the department will honor that certification, you are going through the recruit class at their place.
          Stay Safe and Well Out There....

          Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers


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