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How long did it take you to get hired?

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  • How long did it take you to get hired?

    Howdy y'all!
    Well, I've been "surfing" the posts here, and I must say, I am kind of getting nervous about this whole hiring process.
    I was just reading, some guy has been trying for 8 years, some for 10, 5, 6, I mean, what is the average time I can expect from when I first take the first test, to actually having a department hire me?
    FYI, I am school right now, at U of New Haven (CT) getting a double degree, Fire/Arson Investigation, and Fire Admin. Am I wasting my time here? Should I be out testing and whatnot?
    From what I understand, it also helps to be a military vet. Well, due to circumstances beyond my control, I am medically unable to join up any service. (Lack of a kidney from birth.)
    Does this mean I should pretty much give up my dream, and just look for another carrear? I mean, I want to be a FF more than anything else in the world, but is this just a dream beyond reach? I would love to hear what y'all have to say on this matter, for I am completly stymied.

    "I hate it when someone says something is impossible, because then I have to go and find a way to do it."
    Whatever it is, I didn't do it, and I don't know anything about a fire. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
    Stay safe, boys and girls. It's for keeps out there.

  • #2

    Just a little back ground on myself. I am a carrier firefighter. I am on my second full-time department. I left the first department that I got hired at to accept a higher paying position at the department I'm at now. I too started by going to college for Fire Science (in California). One thing that my class-mates and I would do is take as many tests as possible. It took me 30+ tests, 4 years, and 9 states to achieve my goal.
    School is not a waste of time, what ever you can do to set yourself apart from the other candidates, DO IT!!! But, the only way that you'll get that badge is to test, test, test. Don't lose sight of your goal and don't let others tell you that you can't do it. If you stick to it long enough the pieces will fall into place and things will happen. Good luck and remember, firefighter jobs are hard work to get, but people get hired everyday and someone has to fill the positions.


    • #3

      Here is the other side of the coin. I got hired by not one but two depts. After only testing for each dept. once. I left the first dept. to go to the dept. I am with now, have been there for 13 years.
      But what I can tell you is test, test, test. Practice makes perfect.
      Get all the school you can. The more diplomas and certificates you have the better.
      Keep plugging away. It will happen.
      Darren (Sirene) Reeves
      IAFF #50
      --- these are my views and no one else's ---


      • #4
        You technically don't "need" the degree(s), however as I found, having them definitely won't hurt you. Here in St. Louis, FF/ Medics are a dime a dozen, so the good paying deptartments use "separation" tools to determine who to hire. Like, medic / fire cert's, and college diplomas....etc.

        #1 - I was told the one thing that separated me from the rest of the "pack" for my first FT paying job was my Bachelor Degree in Fire Science from a State University, but that was after the written, physical agility and 3 interviews, it came down to the degree. (I tested against 33 FF / Medics)

        #2 - Depending on your area......go to Paramedic school. In St. Louis County you have to be a medic to get on with about 75% of the departments. I know that sucks, but your area may be different.

        I got out of college at 22 y/o with an Associates in Paramedic and a Bachelor in Fire Science. I know college dosen't mean anything in a house fire, but I have tested for 3 departments and been offered jobs at all 3. Also, getting in shape dosen't hurt either.

        We have people in this county with no college and no fire experience making $60 - $70,000 a year because they are paramedics.
        Think about it. Good Luck, stay with the school, it will happen for you.

        P.S. I did apply at probably 20 - 30 dept's over a 6 month span.


        • #5
          Well smokeater, after 2 years of hard work, I started in January with the department that I will most likely retire from.

          With 7 fire schools and 4 paramedic programs within 30 miles of Columbus, I personally feel the best thing to do is to work part-time. I know it sounds disheartening, but it helps yo twofold.

          First - you will gain very good experience. You will be doing the job you love and getting paid for it, and if you get on at the right departments, you may be able to make enough to live on

          Second - and I feel this is the most important thing, exposure. At least in my area, what one department knows, every department knows. Eventually your name will be on a list somewhere and someone will recognize it.

          Hope this information helps.

          FF. Mike Burnes
          Whitehall Fire Division


          • #6
            I tried on and off for 11 years before I got hired at my first FF job. Worked there 7 years took 2 other tests and got hired at another FD in about a year after trying.

            Bottom line is this...if you want the job start taking tests and keep taking tests. Realize that the hiring process attracts a lot of people (One place I tested at had 1500 applicants for one job). Not getting hired doesn't mean you failed. It just means you need to try again...IF you really want the job bad enough.

            Good luck,



            • #7
              I agree with every post that has replied to your question, but especially with spoOk. I have been Part-time for 9 years now and I reciently got the call for full time at a department I tested for 2 years ago. I can't tell you how many teasts I have taken in thoes 9 years but I knw it is over 30. I know people who get the job the first test they take, and i know people who are still testing.If you can get on a part-time dept. do it. The friends you make and doin the job is excellent. Plus depending on what the departments into you can broaden your education past your degrees. Also find a good paramedic program, I don't know how it is buy you but most dpartments in the midwest require you to be a medic before you even apply.If you do want to do this job bust your hump getting out to every test possible and get on a PT or volunteer dept. by you.It will payoff in the end. Good luck!


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