Why not try it as a volunteer until you are sure of your choice...? Would give you some valuable experience and a taste of things to come....also take any EMS courses available as this has almost become a prerequisite to the Fire service.....Good luck......Paul
Jordan, first step is to volunteer. That will give you an opportunity to get some training, education and experience to get you started. Chemecata Community College in Salem or for that matter PCC has many opportunities for higher learning. There are many Dept around the state that offer in house Firefighter intern programs where they cover your education cost while you give them your labor. Dont give up Bro. There is much out there to assist you. Good luck.
Volunteering really is the best way to find out if you want to be a firefighter or not. I also just started college in the fall of '08 and joined my local county volunteer department. Probably the best decision of my life.... This is also the best way to go if you dont want a job that will tie you down. With a full-time department the norm is 24 hours on and 24 hours off and then after every third shift you get 3 days off. This turns into a large amount of time especially if you are taking college classes.
On a side note though, be careful about how much time you dedicate to a department. If you are in college I would advise trying to not skip classes to go on calls because though they are awesome your education is also very important.
thank you all so much for your help as i try to figure this whole thing out.
the one thing that has really pushed me to look into this as a career is that fact that a year ago i earned the rank of eagle scout and everything that led up to that had a lot to do with taking the lead in stressful situations and also learning a lot about first aid. i really enjoy a challenge and want to make something of my life.
I have the utmost respect for what you all do and will pray for your safety as you continue to serve in the future
Some advice from Oregon. Probably what you could call the fast track to a career in firefighting, go talk to Chemeketa Community College. Also like the rest, if you can find a fire dept to volunteer for that def helps.
When you're in school and you're out of the area, hit up fire depts in the local area of school and check into if they have a student/resident volunteer program. If they do, they usually offer you a bunk and help pay for school possibly.
If you are willing to put in a little extra schooling, go for Paramedic, it make you far more marketable to fire depts.
Jordan, Start out Volunteering... Then descide what you want to do later down the road get a feel for the Fire/Rescue. Then go to PCC and if anything take your EMS courses to be a FF1/EMT I think you would be really good at it and its very interesting and you learn as you too.
I'd recommend you join a volunteer fire company and get first-hand experience where you will learn what firefighting is all about. There is a statistic which says that 1% of a firefighter's time is spent fighting fires, the other is training and preparing for them. I would also recommend that you venture into EMS as part of your firefighting resume, that is if that's your inclination. Not everyone can be in EMS for various reasons.
If you enjoy your work and environment, then take classes leading toward NFPA certifcation Firefighter I, Firefighter II and any other areas in which you are interested or are required for you to take.
Then, if this is still what you want, go for it, but never let all the classwork overshadow experience because in the fire service and in pre-hospital care, you obtain instinct from experience AND respect you older more experienced firefighter colleagues.
Jordan, I first want to wish you the very best, Chief Sharp has given you the same information that I would have given you. It's a grate job, and a very rewarding job. It will take some hard work, but you are heading in the right direction. Good Luck
I agree with all the other guy on here. Try to join a volunteer fire department and see how you like it. Over 95% of fireman started in a volunteer fire department. I'm not sure where you from but in NC if you a member of a department all classes are free. The big thing now in the fire service is education/degree. You doing the right thing by starting college. Good luck and if you have any more questions email me if you like I'll be more than happy to help you.