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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Oceanside, California

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

The income of a forest firefighter is about $29 per hour or $61,880 annually on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,260 yearly on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as forest firefighters in California earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: smoke eater, engine boss, and rescue worker.

The Oceanside area is home to fifty-seven schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Oceanside where you can get a degree as a forest firefighter. Forest firefighters usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying 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 Oceanside 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.

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: Oceanside, California

Oceanside, California
Oceanside, California photo by FlickreviewR

Oceanside is situated in San Diego County, California. It has a population of over 169,684, which has grown by 5.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Oceanside, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Oceanside are valued at $388,600 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, fifty-two new homes were constructed in Oceanside, down from one hundred forty-nine the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Oceanside are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 22.2% of Oceanside residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Oceanside is 10.0%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Oceanside residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. King of Kins Lutheran Church, Temple Solel and Temple Juda are some of the churches located in Oceanside. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Oceanside is home to the Oceanside Community Center and the Oceanside-Carlsbad Country Club as well as Heritage Village Park and Libby Lake City Park. Shopping centers in the area include Fire Mountain Shopping Center, Rancho del Oro Plaza Shopping Center and Best Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Oceanside can choose from Beachwood Motel, Best Western Oceanside Inn and Best Western - Oceanside Inn for temporary stays in the area.