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How to Become a Firefighter - Where to Find Firefighting Jobs

Dec 28, 2007
If you live in a major metropolitan area, your local newspaper is the first place to look for a firefighting job. And the best day to find ads for firefighting jobs is the paper's Sunday edition - as this is the day when most fire departments post their openings.

If you do not live in a major metro area, you can go to your local library on Monday, where you will most likely find Sunday newspapers from major metro areas. For example, if you were to live in Limon, Colorado, your best bet would be the Sunday edition of the Denver Post.

Where else can you look?

If, for some reason, your local library does not subscribe to Sunday newspapers from nearby major cities, you can try news stands or bookstores, such as Borders, or Barnes & Noble as they will often have the Sunday editions of major newspapers.

Expand your horizons

Next, there is a Firehouse website which has a jobs section. FireCareers is another website with nationwide ads for firefighting jobs. However, before you go to sources like these, you need to ask yourself whether or not you would be willing to relocate and, if so, how far you would be willing to move. The fact is, if you are flexible and willing to relocate, your chances of landing a firefighter position increase dramatically. For example, when this article was written, the website Firehouse had openings posted for a firefighter/paramedic in Toledo, Ohio; for a firefighter/paramedic in Texas; a firefighter in Kansas; and for a firefighter in Boston.

Take a course

Another good source of information about firefighting jobs is to take a firefighting course at your local community college or a seminar related to firefighting. This is because most of these courses and seminars are taught by people still working in fire departments. As such they may be aware of openings and testing opportunities. Just as important, these classes and seminars give you the opportunity to network with other people looking for firefighter jobs and they may be able to provide you with helpful information. Also, these classes and seminars can increase your level of education and add important information to your resume.

Read a magazine.

There are trade publications written specifically for fire departments and firefighters. One of these is Firehouse Magazine which occasionally lists entry-level firefighter jobs. Subscribe to one or more of these publications and you will not only find advertised positions, you will also learn more about firefighting.

Who gives the examinations?

You may not be aware of this, but fire departments in most cities do not give firefighter examinations. In fact, these tests are usually given by city or county human resource (HR) or personnel offices. Almost all cities and counties have offices that handle the testing for the agencies within their jurisdictions, including fire departments. The way it works is that the fire department tells the HR department or Personnel office that it has openings for fire fighters and that an exam needs to be scheduled. The HR or Personnel office will then schedule and administer the testing.

Contact each department individually.

While you should be sure to contact your local HR or personnel department, you should also contact each fire department in your area individually as some of them may not use the city or county personnel department for testing. Instead of this, they may have their own personnel services manager to handle testing and recruitment.

Be patient and persistent.

There is so much competition for firefighter jobs these days, the odds are that you will not be successful the first time you apply. Today's firefighter exams typically take three to 3 1/2 hours and consist of 100 or more questions. If you do not post a very high score, you will be out of luck until the next examination is held. However, don't become discouraged. Many firefighters have taken the examination two, three, four or more times before succeeding. In fact, they will tell you that taking the exam several times, makes it more likely that you will score very well the third or fourth time you try.

Good luck

In the meantime, good luck on becoming a firefighter. It is a challenging, interesting and rewarding career.
About the Author
Douglas Hanna is the publisher of the popular web site, http://www.howtobecomeafirefighter101.com. He is the author of nearly 200 ezine articles on a variety of subjects and publishes the web site http://www.hd-radio-home.com which offers a wealth of information about this new technology.
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