So I am just about done taking my Firefighter 1, Only have to redo some hazmat stuff and ill be done, Of coarse i want to continue my education and learn more. I have been weighting my options on what classes to take next. some of them I have looked into is EMT, RIT, Engine Ops, Truck Ops, Firefighter 2. Just to name a few, I am asking any senior member etc to tell me what you think would be best to take next. I know some will say learning will take place on the job etc, but I want to be some what ahead by having more coarses etc.

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Engine and truck ops or a firefighter survival class or a vehicle extrication class. A little to early to me for you to start taking RIT classes. Maybe a pumps class. In my opinion your not ready to take FF 2 yet. Hope this helps

Curious why you say he's not ready to take FF2?  Many places, including every city department in the country, teach them together.  It's just a basic continuation of FF1.  I went through a large city academy so my training is a little different.  However we went through FF1 and 2, pumps, hazmat in a matter of about six weeks.  There was about two months of EMT and the rest was straight DC Ops.

What is your goal?  If you want to become paid, you might as well get EMT out of the way.  Most cities require that to get hired.  If you're staying a volunteer, then it's your call.  Do you want to do ems or not?

Sorry cap I was under the impression that FF2 was tactics and pumps and it was just my opinion. I thought a little experience first would benefit him before taking it. I guess my bad.

I have to agree about vehicle extrication. This is a skill that you will utilize on a regular basis, as one the most frequent type of calls encountered in the fire service is the MVC.

I'm confused. Your profile says that you are 23, but then you say you are a junior....what's the deal?

If you are 23, then you are not a junior, you may not be a full FF for a dept yet, but jr programs are designed for teens. If you are a jr, then there may be issues regarding laws when it comes to driving etc, so a pump ops class is useless at this point.


If you are actually 23, then your dept should be letting you know what classes to take and perhaps paying for some of it or providing the opportunity to you. If the dept doesn't require certs or education, I would be leery about the dept.


If you are actually a junior and not affiliated with a dept as a member, then it depends upon what is being offered for classes to take. Firefighter 2 is the next logical step after FF1, the two essentially go hand in hand are provide the very BASICS of the job. EMT is a good option, but if you are still a minor, then don't worry about this yet. If you are an adult and affiliated with a dept that does EMS, then this would be a good choice.


If you are looking to go career, and you are actually 23, then I would suggest FF1, FF2, and EMT. However, I would suggest going for a paramedic cert, because in today's fire service darn near every applicant and their brother is an EMT.


Engine and truck ops are good if you are affiliated somewhere and have the chance to get out and practice with apparatus. Too often we see people coming in with a boatload of certs, but no real application time to hone the skills. The certs alone mean nothing, especially if the school or training facility is more interested in money and getting certs out than actual comprehension. Basically it is easy to puke back info to pass a test and get a cert, but it doesn't mean one really knows it. The same thing goes for EMT, it helps if affiliated, but look to be affiliated somewhere where you can practice as an EMT if you're not.

Thanks for the replies everyone. To answer some questions, I only put junior cause I was only a probationary member up until now, It would have been foolish for me to say I was a firefighter when I am not without certs.

Yes my department requires certs, even though I live in pa its not exactly need but regarded because of company SOP's and given the fact i live in a commonwealth state. The company i ride with is a full company, engine,ladder,rescue,marine and air cascade trailer. Were not a busy company at all we see about a little over 100 calls a year. were already up to 95 for the year.

I only ask because i want to eventually go paid. that is my ultimate goal out of all of this and eventually become a company officer. hence why i want to take more coarse's and not stop where I am now. My company pays for whatever i do, so if i decide to take more coarses it will be on them. the only thing they wont pay for is EMT, that i have to foot the bill until i pass then they will rembirse me for it.

As far as EMS goes, yes we run ems calls, if we log on with county we will be dispatched with the squad in our local. but otherwise we only go on cardiac arrest or if the squad needs some sort of lift assist etc.

Thank you for your responses again, keep em coming.

Thanks for more clarification.

If looking to go career, I would still focus moreso on your FF1 and FF2 certs at this point. Having a ton of certs is one thing, but doesn't necessarily standout, especially if you are lacking what a dept is really asking for, such as a degree, EMT, or paramedic.


What is your education background like? Do you have an associates or bachelors? If looking to go career, those will stand out more and considering more and more depts seek education, it may be worth pursuing that aspect as opposed to fire certs. There are depts that ask for minimum qualifications because they send you through their own academy, but the competition to get on those depts is significant and even so, having an education background does help to set you apart from others.


Again thanks for the reply. What do you mean focus more on ff1 cert, I am practically done with that cert. I have been looking hard into EMT and joining a squad to get some ride time with that. and have also looked at FF2.

The department's I have been looking at don't really have their own academy unless I go through a major city, like baltimore, dc, philly, etc they all have their own set of rules and regulations on requirements to get hired etc.

I don't have any type of degree, went to college for a semester wasn't too crazy about it, I surpose it wouldn't hurt to go back in the near future to attempt at least an associates degree, but even then so most places want a bachelors anymore.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. hope i'am giving you a better understanding where I am coming from with all of this. and what i look to accomplish. I know sometimes it can be a long shot to go paid, so i figured i volunteer for a couple years and go from there, at least build up the experience.


I'm a paid guy who has been through many processes in many different places. If your ultimate goal is to get hired as a paid FF, then concentrating on different certs here and there isn't really going to cut it. It will help, don't get me wrong, but the focus should be on education, EMS, and let other classes take a back burner.


Baltimore, DC, Philly, FDNY, etc are all big city depts and like most, require nothing more than being 18, a DL, and HS diploma or GED. To get on, you are competing aginst tens of thousands for a job and having education does stick out. A degree stands out because they are interchangeable and not subject to state cert acceptance. So if looking at a big city dept, hey good luck. However, you indicate the depts you are looking at don't have their own academy, etc, which to me. says they want more.


So what I mean by focus on FF1 and FF2 is just that, those are the very basics when it comes to FF. Take what you learn from those classes and hone those skills. Everything else in regards to FF certs stem from those basics, so it makes sense to concentrate on those aspects.


So really, if your goal is to become a fulltime FF, concentrate future efforts on courses towards a degree. You may not be crazy about it, but realistically, it is your best chance to be a fulltime FF. The time it takes for pump or extrication class, could be used towards a class towards a fire science degree.


Keep testing for all over when and where you can, but if you really hope to be a career FF, work towards a fire science degree and not concentrate on FF certs. Best case scenario is you get picked up without finishing a degree and you can always go back to finish up. A degree also helps with promotion in today's fire service. Worst case is you get a degree and not pump or truck operator, which for the most part, majority of career depts could care less about anyway.

Thanks again for answering my questions. I guess i should have said that iam not just looking at small township departments that iam also looking into the big city departments as well.

Afterall some city departments do a pre-academy interview, and they may ask about any previous volunteer experience, I know a kid who went through that and they picked him cause he had his emt, and that was a plus to them aside from someone who only had firefighting certs etc. Just though id throw that out there.

I'd like to become paid, but if that doesnt pan out i always have back up plans, If i went back to school it would be for a universal degree like liberal arts etc, just food for though. Again thanks for replying to questions etc

What you decide to do is up to you. I am just suggesting that if you really want to get hired on as a career FF, then education stands out moreso than FF certs.

Sure on some depts they may look at some certs to set one apart like the kid who had EMT, but do you know if it was just that, or did he have something more that set him apart? When it comes to landing a job it is about making a good impression and what sets you apart and for many depts, one's volunteer experience doesn't really matter.


If you look at a FF hiring website like or similar site, you can get a gist of what depts are asking for. Bigger cities that ask only for minimum requirements tend to have their own academy. This means they will train you to their standards and typically could give a crap less about volunteer experience, certs, etc.


For depts looking for a certain level of certs, you have to remember everyone else applying has those certs, so what makes them stand out further to get hired? Is it education? Is it community involvement? Charity work? Something that sticks out like mechanics?


My point here is your original post is asking as to what classes to take next, and seem to concentrate on fire certs. If your goal is to ultimately go career, then that is my advice, to look into education beyond FF certs. If you don't want to go that route, then it is your perogative, you could get hired without education, but a degree will go further than say a driver operator cert or extrication class.

I would say EMT next because most career/volunteer departments require you to be a minimum of EMT. Some don't even require you to have FF1 like some volunteer departments.

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