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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Fighters in Modesto, California

Fire fighter career and educational opportunities abound in Modesto, California. There are currently 26,700 working fire fighters in California; this should grow by 18% to about 31,600 working fire fighters in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for fire fighters, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.5% over the next eight years. Fire fighters generally control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

A person working as a fire fighter can expect to earn about $29 hourly or $61,880 per year on average in California and about $21 per hour or $44,260 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Fire fighters 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 fire fighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: apparatus operator, fire alarm operator, and firefighter/medic.

There are twenty-one schools of higher education in the Modesto area, including three within twenty-five miles of Modesto 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, you can expect to spend a short time training to become 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 Modesto 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fire Fighter Training

Modesto Junior College - Modesto, CA

Modesto Junior College, 435 College Ave, Modesto, CA 95350-5800. Modesto Junior College is a large college located in Modesto, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,000 students. Modesto Junior College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eight, twenty, 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.

Merced College - Merced, CA

Merced College, 3600 M St, Merced, CA 95348-2898. Merced College is a large college located in Merced, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,028 students. Merced College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two, five, 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: Modesto, California

Modesto, California
Modesto, California photo by Foolishfish

Modesto is located in Stanislaus County, California. It has a population of over 202,967, which has grown by 7.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Modesto, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Modesto cost $208,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirteen new homes were constructed in Modesto, down from two hundred eighty-five the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Modesto are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 16.5% of Modesto residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Modesto is 14.4%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Modesto residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Livingway Tabernacle, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Bethel Pentecostal Church are all churches located in Modesto. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army and the Assemblies of God.

Modesto is home to the King-Kennedy Center and the McClure Historical Country House as well as Muncy Park and John Muir Park. Shopping malls in the area include Roosevelt Shopping Center, Gregory Gardens Shopping Center and Western Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Modesto can choose from Best Western Town House Lodge, Apex Inn and Arrow Inn for temporary stays in the area.