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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Antioch, California

Forest firefighters can find many career and educational opportunities in the Antioch, California area. There are currently 26,700 jobs for forest firefighters in California and this is projected to grow by 18% to 31,600 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.

Forest firefighters earn approximately $29 per hour or $61,880 annually on average in California. Nationally they average about $21 hourly or $44,260 yearly. Forest firefighters earn less than people working in the category of Fire Control generally in California and less than people in the Fire Control category nationally. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: smoke eater, forest ranger, and handcrew foreman.

The Antioch area is home to sixty-four schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Antioch where you can get a degree as a forest firefighter. Given that the most common education level 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 Antioch 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.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

Chabot College - Hayward, CA

Chabot College, 25555 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545. Chabot College is a large college located in Hayward, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,299 students. Chabot College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated three, sixteen, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Las Positas College - Livermore, CA

Las Positas College, 3033 Collier Cyn Rd, Livermore, CA 94551-7650. Las Positas College is a medium sized college located in Livermore, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,098 students. Las Positas College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two, fourteen, eight, and zero students respectively in 2008.

San Joaquin Delta College - Stockton, CA

San Joaquin Delta College, 5151 Pacific Ave, Stockton, CA 95207. San Joaquin Delta College is a large college located in Stockton, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,480 students. San Joaquin Delta College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one, three, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Los Medanos College - Pittsburg, CA

Los Medanos College, 2700 East Leland Road, Pittsburg, CA 94565. Los Medanos College is a medium sized college located in Pittsburg, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,360 students. Los Medanos College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirty-one, one, eleven, and zero students respectively in 2008.

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: Antioch, California

Antioch, California
Antioch, California photo by Hughly741

Antioch is located in Contra Costa County, California. It has a population of over 100,219, which has grown by 10.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Antioch, 150, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Antioch cost $255,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-two new homes were constructed in Antioch, down from one hundred fifty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Antioch are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 42 minutes. More than 18.2% of Antioch residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Antioch is 12.9%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Antioch residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 38.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Iglesia Biblica Bautista Antioquia, Lone Tree Community Church and Calvary Chapel are all churches located in Antioch. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Baptist General Conference and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Antioch is home to the Antioch Historical Center and the Lupine Rock Picnic Area as well as Williamson Ranch Park and Fairview Park. Shopping malls in the area include Antioch Square Shopping Center, Raleys Shopping Center and Century Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Antioch can choose from Antioch Executive Inn, Best Western Heritage Inn Antioch and Antioch Comfort Suites for temporary stays in the area.