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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Chula Vista, California

For those living in the Chula Vista, California area, there are many career and education opportunities for forest firefighters. There are currently 26,700 jobs for forest firefighters in California and this is projected to grow by 18% to about 31,600 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for forest firefighters are expected to grow by about 18.5%. Forest firefighters generally control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Income for forest firefighters is about $29 hourly or $61,880 per year on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,260 per year. Incomes for forest firefighters are not quite as good as in the overall category of Fire Control in California, and not quite as good as the overall Fire Control category nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: ranger, wildland fire fighter specialist, and forestry crew chief.

The Chula Vista area is home to sixty schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Chula Vista where you can get a degree 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 Chula Vista 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

San Diego Miramar College - San Diego, CA

San Diego Miramar College, 10440 Black Mountain Rd, San Diego, CA 92126-2999. San Diego Miramar College is a large college located in San Diego, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,455 students. San Diego Miramar 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 sixty-eight, six, fifty-one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Southwestern College - Chula Vista, CA

Southwestern College, 900 Otay Lakes Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91910-7299. Southwestern College is a large college located in Chula Vista, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,997 students. Southwestern College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twelve, ten, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Palomar College - San Marcos, CA

Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission, San Marcos, CA 92069-1487. Palomar College is a large college located in San Marcos, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 28,093 students. Palomar College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twenty-nine, thirty-one, 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: Chula Vista, California

Chula Vista, California
Chula Vista, California photo by FlickreviewR

Chula Vista is located in San Diego County, California. It has a population of over 219,318, which has grown by 26.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chula Vista, 134, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Chula Vista are valued at $226,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eleven new homes were built in Chula Vista, down from three hundred twelve the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chula Vista are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 22.2% of Chula Vista residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chula Vista is 12.3%, which is the same as California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Chula Vista residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Seventh Day Adventist Church, First Christian Church and First Church of Christ are some of the churches located in Chula Vista. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Chula Vista is home to the Fenton Ranch and the Chula Vista Municipal Golf Course as well as Los Ninos Park and Library Park. Shopping centers in the area include Florence Shopping Center, Rio Sweetwater Plaza Shopping Center and Genesis Square Shopping Center. Visitors to Chula Vista can choose from Best Western Chula Vista Inn, Bay Cities Motel and Big 7 Motel for temporary stays in the area.