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Much of a chance?

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  • Much of a chance?

    Hello all,

    I just wanted to ask your opinions on how I should proceed pursuing becoming a firefighter, mostly because of my age. 32

    I have been interested in becoming a firefighter within the past few years, mostly because I am just so unsatisfied with my career ( computer server support) because i feel I am not really helping people out or doing anything important... anything that makes a differnece. This feeling was reinforced when I met my sister-in-laws three cousins who are FDNY. I asked them about it and they all said how much they loved it. I then found out about shifts, etc and even was more interested. When I saw that applications were being accepted now until August31, I jumped on that. I picked up an application, filled out and sent it in. I have been reading up on the tests, etc since then.

    I'm excited about it, but I'm really wondering though, after reading through alot of the threads on this forum, is it worth it for someone my age to attempt this? Reading about how younger (right out of high school or a little older) people are taking fire science college classes, people with military backgrounds, EMTs, all seem to really be on track for becoming a firefighter, while I have none of that, and already 32, college is not really an option. Taking some classes, yes, but not a degree towards this. How much of a chance does someone my age, lacking that extra preparation, have to actually make it up the list and get hired? I realize I have plenty of time before I am at the top of the list, so I guess I could try to do things to improve my chances during that time. I plan to, but I am still figuring out what those things should be. I guess the only things I have going for me are that I am still in great shape. I workout 5 days a week and have for years. I stepped up the cardio to get ready for the test. I have a PADI advanced SCUBA certification. ( the town I would like to be hired by is on the Hudson river, so I assume being a diver would be a plus) But other than that, not much else.

    I have read that some areas don't have age limits. NJ does. 35. ( i believe that is the whole state) FDNY is 30 I believe, so that's out.

    So, I just wanted some opinions from people who know. You guys have been through all this already and know what is really involved. Let me know what you think.


  • #2
    As far as any of your concerns about being hired, including your age concern... none of that matters where I am. Feel free to PM me if you want more information, but previous military experience, college degree, previous certifications, etc. etc. don't matter one bit. No matter what previous experience you have, etc. you will still be sent through the exact same academy as the kids who are fresh out of high school that have zero pervious fire experience. The only way a college degree is really going to help you is when it comes to promoting. Most promotional processes will require at least an Associates degree (once you get to promting past FF). If I were in your shoes, I'd try and start volunteering locally somewhere. I'd also start taking some college classes (if you don't already have a degree.. down here, for the most part, it doesn't matter what your degree is in). As I said up above, feel free to PM me if you want some more information.
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.


    • #3
      hey mjf, just to let you know I was just hired as a FF recruit and I just turned 30. The only thing stopping you is YOU. If being a FF is your dream then go after it. Apply everywhere you can. Good luck.


      • #4
        New Jersey has an age limit (35, as you said). But if you're a volunteer, the age limit is rasied to 40 if you have 2 years of Vollie time.


        Originally posted by NJ Dept. of Personnel Website

        Not less than 18 or more than 35 years of age at the announced
        closing date for filing applications for the position. In determining
        maximum age eligibility of veterans, time spent in active military service
        during periods specified in the Department of Personnel laws and
        rules will be deducted from the attained age.

        NOTE: When applicants have reached their 35th birthday, they are
        considered to be over 35 years old. Age limits are based on the announced
        closing date for filing Department of Personnel applications.

        NOTE: In accordance with NJSA 40A:14-45, following is an exception
        to the 35 year age limit.

        Applicants who are qualified firefighters having served in a volunteer fire
        company or force of the municipality for at least two (2) years preceding
        appointment may be not less than 21 years of age, nor more than 40 years of age.
        I'll be 36 in October, and will take the test when it comes out again in a couple of years after I get my 2 years in. Just kinda kicking myself for not "heeding the call" earlier in life. Better late than never, I guess.

        Stay Safe!


        • #5
          Also remember this. You're comparing yourself (32) to 18 year-olds. By my count, you have 14 years of life experiences, maturity, etc. that you bring to the table. Good luck to you.


          • #6
            Thanks for the advice, everybody. I was beginning to feel like it was a lost cause. But I'm going to continue. I really want this and have decided I'm going to keep with it.

            Nine3Probie, I totally feel the same way.... why did I not make this decision when i was much younger.. even a few years ago when I was first truely interested! Well, at least I know I want it now and I'm looking for the best things to do to prepare for interviewing and to help my chances, and talking with every firefighter I know for their advice and opinions.

            Thanks all!


            • #7
              Hey I'm 36 and I've decided I'm going for it. I may fall flat on my butt however I'm going to give it my all since I'm not going to get any younger. Although I'm sure it will be a lot more difficult that if we were younger, I've heard of Firefighters being hired at 50 years old on occasion. I'm going the junior college route, which has a course leading to a JC FF academy and preps you for the actual FF academy. The full course is 4 semesters. I'm also looking at volunteering and accumulating any cert I can, studying the oral boards and also ramping up my fitness. I figure if nothing else, the school course will give me a clue if I'm even close!
              Best of luck.


              • #8
                I'm 35 and just got my first career FF job. I started my quest at about 32 also. I took and few test and finally got the offer.

                Some departments require NO previous experience so don't count yourself out. Good Luck.


                • #9

                  My full time department has hired guys in their low to mid 40's, and my call department has taken on members of the same age.

                  If you are physically capable of doing the job, and can put age aside as a probie (and for younger guys with more experience) then I say go for it!

                  Best of luck!


                  • #10
                    This spring when I tried out for a fire department,I was just under 41.Yes,other candidates got the job done faster and I failed a couple exercises due to going overtime by 3 seconds but I grunted them out and got the tasks done.
                    I'd been a volunteer for two and half years prior to that so I know I can do the work.It could have been something I said for the oral interview,I dunno.Also there were 400 people trying out for 12 jobs.You do the math on the chances.
                    The thing is,if you don't try,you most definitely will NOT get the job.Go for it and show what you can do before deciding that you can't.


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