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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Fighters in Phoenix, Arizona

If you want to be a fire fighter, the Phoenix, Arizona area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 5,650 working fire fighters in Arizona; this should grow 14% to 6,440 working fire fighters in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fire fighters are expected to grow by about 18.5%. In general, fire fighters control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Fire fighters earn approximately $18 hourly or $38,580 per year on average in Arizona. Nationally they average about $21 per hour or $44,260 annually. Incomes for fire fighters 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. Jobs in this field include: tiller worker, crash crew, and fire hydrant operator.

There are seventy-six schools of higher education in the Phoenix area, including eight within twenty-five miles of Phoenix where you can get a degree to start your career as a fire fighter. Given that the most common education level for fire fighters is a post-secondary certificate, it will take a short time to learn to be a fire fighter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fire Fighter

In general, fire fighters control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Fire fighters decide on and attach hose nozzles, depending on fire type, and direct streams of water or chemicals onto fires. They also lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies. Equally important, fire fighters have to respond to fire alarms and other calls for assistance. They are often called upon to dress with equipment such as fire resistant clothing and breathing apparatus. They are expected to clean and maintain fire stations and fire fighting equipment and apparatus. Finally, fire fighters ready written reports that detail specifics of fire incidents.

Every day, fire fighters are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to respond quickly in general. It is also important that they exert themselves over and over again for long periods of time.

It is important for fire fighters to spray foam onto runways and rescue aircraft crew and passengers in air-crash emergencies. They are often called upon to examine buildings for fire hazards and adherence to fire prevention ordinances, testing and checking smoke alarms and fire suppression equipment as needed. They also salvage property by removing broken glass, pumping out water, and ventilating buildings to remove smoke. They are sometimes expected to establish firelines to inhibit unauthorized persons from entering areas near fires. Somewhat less frequently, fire fighters are also expected to examine fire sites after flames have been extinguished to insure that there is no further danger.

Fire fighters sometimes are asked to protect property from water and smoke using waterproof salvage covers and deodorants. They also have to be able to take action to contain hazardous chemicals that might catch fire or spill and participate in courses, seminars and conferences, and study fire science literature, to learn firefighting techniques. And finally, they sometimes have to lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies.

Like many other jobs, fire fighters must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Phoenix include:

  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • 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.
  • Forest Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
  • 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: Fire Fighter 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: Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona photo by Urban

Phoenix is located in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 1,567,924, which has grown by 18.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Phoenix, 93, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Phoenix cost $218,200 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, 2,176 new homes were built in Phoenix, down from 6,560 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Phoenix are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 22.7% of Phoenix residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Phoenix is 10.0%, which is greater than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Phoenix residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. San Francisco Xavier and Good Shepherd Convent are among the churches located in Phoenix. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Phoenix is home to the Arizona Highway Patrol Headquarters and the Gila Valley Lookout as well as Indian Bend Park and Stephen Park. Shopping centers in the area include Alta Vista Shopping Center, Arcadia Plaza Shopping Center and Arcadia Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Phoenix can choose from Four Seasons Limousine LLC, Maricopa Manor B&B Inn and Motel 6 for temporary stays in the area.