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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Gilbert, Arizona

For those living in the Gilbert, Arizona area, there are many career and education opportunities for forest firefighters. There are currently 5,650 jobs for forest firefighters in Arizona and this is projected to grow 14% to about 6,440 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for forest firefighters, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.5% over the next eight years. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

A person working as a forest firefighter can expect to earn about $18 per hour or $38,580 annually on average in Arizona and about $21 hourly or $44,260 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for forest firefighters are not quite as good as in the overall category of Fire Control in Arizona, and not quite as good as the overall Fire Control category nationally. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: wildland fire fighter specialist, smoke eater, and firefighter.

There are seventy-six schools of higher education in the Gilbert area, including eight within twenty-five miles of Gilbert where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest firefighter. The most common level of education for forest firefighters is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a forest firefighter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Forest Firefighter

Forest Firefighter video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Forest firefighters patrol burned areas after fires to identify and eliminate hot spots that may restart fires. They also extinguish flames and embers to suppress fires, using shovels, or engine- or hand-driven water or chemical pumps. Equally important, forest firefighters have to manage knowledge of current firefighting practices by participating in drills and by attending seminars and conferences. They are often called upon to fell trees, cut and clear brush, and dig trenches to generate firelines, using axes, chainsaws or shovels. They are expected to manage fire equipment and firehouse living quarters. Finally, forest firefighters manage contact with fire dispatchers at all times to notify them of the need for additional firefighters and supplies, or to detail any difficulties encountered.

Every day, forest firefighters are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for forest firefighters to perform forest maintenance and improvement tasks such as cutting brush, planting trees, building trails and marking timber. They are often called upon to inform and educate the public about fire prevention. They also operate pumps connected to high-pressure hoses. They are sometimes expected to transport staff and cargo to and from fire areas. Somewhat less frequently, forest firefighters are also expected to participate in physical training to maintain high levels of physical fitness.

Forest firefighters sometimes are asked to serve as fully trained lead helicopter crewmember and as helispot manager. They also have to be able to observe forest areas from fire lookout towers to spot potential problems and test and maintain tools, equipment, jump gear and parachutes to insure readiness for fire suppression efforts. And finally, they sometimes have to manage fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.

Like many other jobs, forest firefighters must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Gilbert include:

  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Fighter. Control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Forest Fire Lookout. Enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. Report forest fires and weather conditions.
  • Lifeguard. Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

Mesa Community College - Mesa, AZ

Mesa Community College, 1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202. Mesa Community College is a large college located in Mesa, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 23,825 students. Mesa Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated nine, one, and thirty-two students respectively in 2008.

Rio Salado College - Tempe, AZ

Rio Salado College, 2323 W 14th St, Tempe, AZ 85281. Rio Salado College is a large college located in Tempe, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,186 students. Rio Salado College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirty-one and seven students respectively in 2008.

Grand Canyon University - Phoenix, AZ

Grand Canyon University, 3300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85017. Grand Canyon University is a large university located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 22,087 students and an admission rate of 100%. Grand Canyon University has a master's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated fifty-six students in 2008.

Paradise Valley Community College - Phoenix, AZ

Paradise Valley Community College, 18401 N 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85032. Paradise Valley Community College is a medium sized college located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,105 students. Paradise Valley Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated forty, three, and six students respectively in 2008.

Scottsdale Community College - Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale Community College, 9000 E Chaparral Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85256. Scottsdale Community College is a large college located in Scottsdale, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,077 students. Scottsdale Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one, one, and seven students respectively in 2008.

Phoenix College - Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix College, 1202 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013. Phoenix College is a large college located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,917 students. Phoenix College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated forty, eight, and seventeen students respectively in 2008.

Glendale Community College - Glendale, AZ

Glendale Community College, 6000 W Olive Ave, Glendale, AZ 85302. Glendale Community College is a large college located in Glendale, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 18,228 students. Glendale Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated ninety, five, and eighteen students respectively in 2008.

East Valley Institute of Technology - Mesa, AZ

East Valley Institute of Technology, 1601 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201. East Valley Institute of Technology is a small school located in Mesa, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 203 students. East Valley Institute of Technology has a one to two year program in Fire Protection, Other Specialties.

CERTIFICATIONS

Oxygen Administration: Prepares laypersons and professional rescuers with the knowledge and skills needed to know when and how to use supplemental oxygen and breathing devices.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

Incident Safety Officer - Fire Suppression Certification: A fire department incident safety officer's mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Health & Safety Officer Certification: Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Programs.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Special Hazards Suppression Systems: This certification program is designed for engineering technicians engaged in the detailing and layout and/or installation and maintenance related to special hazards suppression systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Gilbert, Arizona

Gilbert, Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona photo by Cygnusloop99

Gilbert is located in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 216,449, which has grown by 97.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Gilbert, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Gilbert are priced at $210,100 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, 1,115 new homes were constructed in Gilbert, down from 2,891 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Gilbert are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is computer and electronic products, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 36.1% of Gilbert residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Gilbert is 4.9%, which is less than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Gilbert residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Gilbert is home to the Santan Substation and the Gilbert Substation as well as Library Park and Parquasito Verde Park. Shopping centers in the area include Village Square Shopping Center and Village Center Shopping Center. Visitors to Gilbert can choose from BCS Hospitality Consultants and CoastClub for temporary stays in the area.