I am soon to be 21 years old and after two years in college I finally realized I wanted to be a firefighter. I looked into a Fire Academy, but then my mom talked to her friend who's husband is a firefighter and she said my best option is to go to the local community college here and get all my certifications, and then get to know the guys at some of the stations, and start applying...and just now I read a post where this person intends to become a volunteer firefighter to get all of his certifications and then move to a full-time paid job at a fire station. So this brings my question..What is my best and preferably quickest option?
1) Go to a Fire Academy
2) Go to Community College
3) Start as a volunteer
4) Other

I thank you all in advance for any helpful responses.

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There is no quick way really, the biggest time element you face depending were you live naturally is the civil service exam and hiring process which can and has taken up to 2 years to be placed, other than that the academy time is roughly the same from State to State between volli and paid since we learn the same stuff.. a Good idea however is to join now as a Volli and get what certs you can while attending school, get some hands on as well as street smarts in the field the flip side is if there is a hiring session starting now or soon I wouldn't wait for Vollie time to pass which btw can take upto 3 months since the company you go for has to accept the application..investigate then approve it normally takes 3 meetings for approval so research your options before signing up but best of luck t you and stay safe
I would suggest that you definitely look into the vol service as a start. This will open your eyes to what is involved. Sure all the "action" won't be there but it's a great experience. With the training that you'll get, usually free, sliding into a paid position will become easier. Just keep in mind that many paid depts have a residency requirement. Of course that means that the vol dept, which just spent time and money on your training is going to be left high and dry. If at all possible, after you make a paid dept and can leave the residency behind, consider joining a vol dept again.
Thank you so much! That actually helps a lot. You also stay safe.
Yeah for sure, this is all great advice. Thank you. I really would like to look into a volunteer dept. I think I will do some more research and with any luck hopefully i can get on the move.
One thing you never questioned about was paramedic.

I'm going to go on a different approach than going the volly route. While you may get some experience and may get some certs, it really is not going to boost your chances onto a career dept any faster. Most career depts will still train you to how they do things and most depts look for education.

My advice is to look into a school where you can obtain at least an associates degree in fire protection technician. Such schools that offer such a degree tend to also offer a fire academy where you can obtain your certs and sometimes there are live in intern programs through either career or volly depts. Where I went to school there were live in intern programs through several volly depts which helped by giving you a place to live and even some FF experience. The tech school by me now offers intern programs for semesters with career and even combination departments. Either way you are getting your experience while going to school.

On top of that if you want to get hired you have to stand out, so the more you bring to the table, the more you stand out. Having a degree, stands out, having paramedic, stands out, having certs above the same stuff everyone else has, stands out. Education is the key to getting hired today, experience will help you, but is not necessary.

I would check into schools offering a degree program and also look to going for paramedic. While this can be a 3 year endeavor it is worth it and while in school you can still apply for FF jobs that come up. Maybe you get hired, but if not it is a good experience to understand the process. If you want to get hired "quickly" you have to be proactive and the best way to go about this is to look into schooling. Some schools have a wait period to get into them, but I suggest working on general education courses now.

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