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  • Firefighting and College

    Im a senior in high school in Beckley, WV and I want to join the fire department right out of high school. My parents say I need some college and I agree but I was wondering if anyone knew if there was a way to join the fire dept. and attend college classes and still get a decent degree maybe an associates degree. Any ideas or information would be helpful

    Thanks

  • #2
    Check out Shepherdstown Fire Department (www.shepherdstownfiredepartment.com). They have a live in program there. They are located right next to Shepherd University and a short drive from Shepherd CTC. The University offers typical college degress, the CTC offers associates (fire science in particular for you and they have a paramedic program that ends with an associates also).

    Talk to them and they can explain a lot to you. Ask for either Ross Morgan (the chief) or Andrew Arnold (the president and the guy that created the live-in program). Tell them Dustyn sent you
    Fir Na Tine
    Fir Na Au Saol

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    • #3
      Whatever you do, I would definalty get college out of the way before going career. Several of us in here will admit that.

      Please....Get the degree done and over, then get on somewhere.

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      • #4
        amen, to that. I got hired whilie I was attending college. That means I had to go from being ful-time to part-time at school. Changes financial aide and slows down the degree process. I am still going part time, it is takes a whilie only taking 2-3 class at a time.

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        • #5
          My friend is currently attending Penn State. He is volunteering with the fire company and is still taking a full semester of classes.

          Also, I believe that in college park Maryland, you can live-in at some of the stations. This way you are still firefighting while achieving your degree.

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          • #6
            Look at Maryland

            If you don't mind getting away from home, I would look at Maryland. I don't know much about it but I know there are volunteer departments in Maryland that have live in programs where you stay at the station, make alarms, learn on the job all the while going to school and getting a degree. I believe most of these departments let you live at no or minimal charge while you are enrolled in school. Like I said, I've only heard and read about these types of departments, but it sounds like a great oppurtunity to get some great real world experience (lots of fire ) all the while getting your degree without spending alot of money. Hope this helps and good luck.

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            • #7
              snmcgr - If you wanted to make the Fire Service your career, there is a great program at Eastern KY Univ. There are a lot of the people coming out getting into high level positions in large dept's. For example, Tim Sendelbach (I believe the spelling is correct) is a EKU program graduate and is now the training Chief in Savannah GA Fire Dept.
              The evidence of God's presence far outweighs the
              proof of His absence.

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              • #8
                There are live-in programs all over the country (we have two students at one of my departments). I got my taste of Fire/EMS while at college for Business. it was a volunteer gig in that town. I did the stupid 20 year old thing and dropped college to get my still current job. If I was patient, I would now have a BS degree and 22 years on the job. Instead, I have NO degree to fall back on and 24 years on the job. Get and STAY in school.
                27 years and still having a great time in the back of the truck :-)

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                • #9
                  You Can Do Both

                  Originally posted by snmcgr
                  Im a senior in high school in Beckley, WV and I want to join the fire department right out of high school. My parents say I need some college and I agree but I was wondering if anyone knew if there was a way to join the fire dept. and attend college classes and still get a decent degree maybe an associates degree. Any ideas or information would be helpful

                  Thanks
                  I did both at the same time, but not before blowing 3 years of my life. Out of high school I screwed around, flunked out of college and had little focus or direction. Then I became interested in the fire service and became a volunteer for my hometown. After a while, I became a paid paramedic for the county in which I lived.

                  At the age of 24, I was hired as a professional firefighter for a municipal fire department. That is when I decided to go back to school and get a degree. It was hard, but well worth it. I am now a Battalion Chief with 21 years on the job. I make a good living doing what I love to do, and upon retirement, I have a very good pension awaiting me.

                  Many fire departments have tuition reimbursement programs, which makes a college education much more affordable. Additionally, becoming a professional firefighter is a lengthy endeavor. Depending upon which department you are interested, it could take up to 2 years or more to be hired.

                  My advice to you is…enroll in college and get a part-time job (many departments now require some college and a prior work history is important) and start researching the departments in which you are interested. Most departments have extensive recruit programs, so prior firefighting experience is not extremely important. Next, apply to as many departments as possible. I applied to four departments and went through the process for all four departments before I was offered a job. Oh! Don’t forget fitness. If you are not already fit, get yourself in shape and be ready for the agility test when the call comes.

                  Once you are hired, you can complete your degree. If you want a fire related degree, there are a number of distance learning programs available. The University of Cincinnati offers such a program.

                  When all else fails…get an education and never give up. Everything else will fall into place.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ChiefChip
                    I did both at the same time, but not before blowing 3 years of my life. Out of high school I screwed around, flunked out of college and had little focus or direction. Then I became interested in the fire service and became a volunteer for my hometown. After a while, I became a paid paramedic for the county in which I lived.

                    At the age of 24, I was hired as a professional firefighter for a municipal fire department. That is when I decided to go back to school and get a degree. It was hard, but well worth it. I am now a Battalion Chief with 21 years on the job.
                    There is one of those "signature stories" Capt. Bob talks about!

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                    • #11
                      ChiefChip;

                      I read your post and thought you were talking about me. I dropped out of college after 2 terms and bounced between jobs for a few years with no direction. A friend talked me into to volunteering with the local FD and after three years, I became a full time fire fighter, also at 24. I went back to school for my first degree (5 years part-time for an Associates) and now, at 45, I am finishing up my Bachelors degree through distance learning. If I had to do it over, I would have finished college the first time-life was a lot easier then (although I did not think so at the time).

                      The the original poster:

                      You are much better off earning your degree in your early 20's than like me at 45 with a wife, 3 kids, two jobs, and not much free time. Volunteer and get your EMT while in school. Looking into the fire department live-in programs, several have already been mentioned.

                      When you get to the testing process you will have plenty to offer the FD of your choice.
                      Last edited by KenNFD1219; 11-05-2006, 08:35 PM.
                      -------------------
                      "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
                      -----------------------------------------------
                      Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

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                      • #12
                        thanks alot for the advice guys I hadnt considered volunteering until now I dont know why but now that I think about it that is a great idea and I appreciate the honest oppinions

                        thanks

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by snmcgr
                          Im a senior in high school in Beckley, WV and I want to join the fire department right out of high school. My parents say I need some college and I agree but I was wondering if anyone knew if there was a way to join the fire dept. and attend college classes and still get a decent degree maybe an associates degree. Any ideas or information would be helpful

                          Thanks
                          Have you considered enlisting in the Military? This often puts you in an advantageous position of not only honorably serving your country but also getting preference or extra points on civil service exams.(Boston and FDNY are two for example) Along with training and experience that will serve you well in life one can often get into the Army or Airforce FF ranks as it is always an in demand MOS.

                          Just thought I'd throw that out there for you to think about.

                          Best of Luck

                          FTM-PTB

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FFFRED
                            Have you considered enlisting in the Military? This often puts you in an advantageous position of not only honorably serving your country but also getting preference or extra points on civil service exams.(Boston and FDNY are two for example) Along with training and experience that will serve you well in life one can often get into the Army or Airforce FF ranks as it is always an in demand MOS.

                            Just thought I'd throw that out there for you to think about.

                            Best of Luck

                            FTM-PTB
                            Im a type 1 diabetic and even though Im in better shape than almost anybody around they wont take me because they cant guarantee insulin over-seas and that is understandable until I became diabetic the military was my first choice but then I realized I couldnt do that..I am still checking with the coast guard to make sure they will not take me

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                            • #15
                              I'd strongly consider doing the live-in program somewhere. Depending on where you are, there are several different options. The two states that immediately come to mind with live-in programs are NC and MD. Most of the Prince George County MD departments have a live-in program and there is tons of experience, training, and knowledge to be gained there... all while you get your 4-yr degree from U of MD or UMUC. Check into that.. or.. PM me about the NC departments. There are also many other departments that members on here can tell you about.
                              Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

                              Comment

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