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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in El Monte, California

There are many career and education opportunities for forest firefighters in the El Monte, California area. About 26,700 people are currently employed as forest firefighters in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 18% to about 31,600 people employed. 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. Forest firefighters generally control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

A person working as a forest firefighter can expect to earn about $29 hourly or $61,880 yearly on average in California and about $21 per hour or $44,260 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for forest firefighters are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Fire Control in California and not quite as good as general Fire Control category earnings nationally. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: handcrew foreman, forestry crew chief, and fire technician.

There are 210 schools of higher education in the El Monte area, including eleven within twenty-five miles of El Monte where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest firefighter. Forest firefighters usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be 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 El Monte 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

East Los Angeles College - Monterey Park, CA

East Los Angeles College, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, CA 91754-6099. East Los Angeles College is a large college located in Monterey Park, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,475 students. East Los Angeles College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two and two students respectively in 2008.

College of the Canyons - Santa Clarita, CA

College of the Canyons, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91355-1899. College of the Canyons is a large college located in Santa Clarita, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,474 students. College of the Canyons has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one, twenty-six, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Antelope Valley College - Lancaster, CA

Antelope Valley College, 3041 West Ave K, Lancaster, CA 93536-5426. Antelope Valley College is a large college located in Lancaster, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,800 students. Antelope Valley College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twenty-eight, sixteen, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Mt San Antonio College - Walnut, CA

Mt San Antonio College, 1100 N Grand Ave, Walnut, CA 91789-1399. Mt San Antonio College is a large college located in Walnut, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 30,439 students. Mt San Antonio College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirty-eight, thirty-six, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Long Beach City College - Long Beach, CA

Long Beach City College, 4901 E. Carson St., Long Beach, CA 90808-1706. Long Beach City College is a large college located in Long Beach, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,097 students. Long Beach City College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated fifteen, twenty-two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Pasadena City College - Pasadena, CA

Pasadena City College, 1570 E Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106-2003. Pasadena City College is a large college located in Pasadena, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,453 students. Pasadena City College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Glendale Community College - Glendale, CA

Glendale Community College, 1500 N Verdugo Rd, Glendale, CA 91208-2894. Glendale Community College is a large college located in Glendale, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,993 students. Glendale Community College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated five, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Los Angeles Harbor College - Wilmington, CA

Los Angeles Harbor College, 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington, CA 90744-2397. Los Angeles Harbor College is a large college located in Wilmington, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,694 students. Los Angeles Harbor College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated three students in 2008.

El Camino Community College District - Torrance, CA

El Camino Community College District, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90506. El Camino Community College District is a large college located in Torrance, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,825 students. El Camino Community College District 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, five, twenty-one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Rio Hondo College - Whittier, CA

Rio Hondo College, 3600 Workman Mill Rd, Whittier, CA 90601-1616. Rio Hondo College is a large college located in Whittier, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,505 students. Rio Hondo College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated 157, seventy-one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Los Angeles Valley College - Valley Glen, CA

Los Angeles Valley College, 5800 Fulton Avenue, Valley Glen, CA 91401-4096. Los Angeles Valley College is a large college located in Valley Glen, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 18,550 students. Los Angeles Valley College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one and thirteen 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: El Monte, California

El Monte, California
El Monte, California photo by Bobak

El Monte is located in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 121,791, which has grown by 5.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in El Monte, 150, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in El Monte are valued at $172,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, thirty-three new homes were built in El Monte, down from ninety-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in El Monte are apparel, health care, and educational 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 27 minutes. More than 7.1% of El Monte residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 2.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in El Monte is 15.5%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of El Monte residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Trinity Reformed Church, Immanuel Episcopal Church and El Monte Spanish Seventh Day Adventist Church are some of the churches located in El Monte. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

El Monte is home to the El Monte Branch County of Los Angeles Public Library and the Norwood Branch County of Los Angeles Public Library as well as Arceo Park and Pioneer Park. Shopping centers in the area include Five Points Plaza Shopping Center and El Monte Shopping Center.