Begin by researching the entry-level requirements of fire departments. Although they vary, typical requirements include: a High School diploma or GED, a valid driver's license, a physical agility or ability exam, a written exam, a variety of oral interviews and quite probably a psychological evaluation.
Associate degrees are not widely required at the entry level. When entry requirements are met and an individual is selected, the fire department then provides all of the basic training.
The fire science technology (FST) program now becomes a viable option for obtaining the education for advancing in the fire service career. A typical advancement would be to FAE (Fire Apparatus Engineer), specialized education in areas such as hazardous materials, fire instructor, tactics and strategy, management and fire prevention. The required and elective classes offered in the FST program will prepare the student for career advancement to first and second level fire officer.
The classes taught in the FST Program are articulated with the Office of the State Fire Marshal and count toward State Certification for Instructor I and II, Fire Officer I and II, Fire Apparatus Engineer and Hazardous Materials First Responder Operations. Successful completion of these classes will allow the student to apply for certification with the fire marshal's office without having to take additional certification testing. In order to certify with the fire marshal's office, a student must be a member of a recognized fire department in the State of Illinois and meet the additional requirements outlined in the State of Illinois Administrative Code.
$14,700 - $71,100
Employment of workers in fire fighting occupations is expected to grow by 12 percent over the 2006-2016 decade.
About nine out of 10 fire fighting workers were employed by local governments.
*Career information is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Chicagoland area.
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