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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Fighters in Riverside, California

Riverside, California provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for fire fighters. There are currently 26,700 jobs for fire fighters in California and this is projected to grow 18% to about 31,600 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fire fighters are expected to grow by about 18.5%. In general, fire fighters control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Fire fighters earn about $29 per hour or $61,880 annually on average in California and about $21 per hour or $44,260 annually on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as fire fighters in California earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. People working as fire fighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: crash crew, municipal firefighter, and fire apparatus engineer.

The Riverside area is home to twenty-three schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Riverside where you can get a degree as a fire fighter. Fire fighters usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so you can expect to spend a short time studying to be 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 Riverside 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.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fire Fighter Training

Mt. San Jacinto Community College District - San Jacinto, CA

Mt. San Jacinto Community College District, 1499 N State St, San Jacinto, CA 92583-2399. Mt. San Jacinto Community College District is a large college located in San Jacinto, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 18,162 students. Mt. San Jacinto Community College District has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eight and zero students respectively in 2008.

Palo Verde College - Blythe, CA

Palo Verde College, One College Drive, Blythe, CA 92225. Palo Verde College is a small college located in Blythe, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,100 students. Palo Verde College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one and zero students respectively in 2008.

College of the Desert - Palm Desert, CA

College of the Desert, 43-500 Monterey Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260. College of the Desert is a medium sized college located in Palm Desert, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,632 students. College of the Desert has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Riverside Community College - Riverside, CA

Riverside Community College, 4800 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92506. Riverside Community College is a large college located in Riverside, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 34,058 students. Riverside Community 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-nine, zero, twenty, 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: Riverside, California

Riverside, California
Riverside, California photo by SoCal L.A.

Riverside is located in Riverside County, California. It has a population of over 295,357, which has grown by 15.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Riverside, 123, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Riverside cost $328,500 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, sixty-nine new homes were built in Riverside, down from three hundred forty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Riverside are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 19.1% of Riverside residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.9%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Riverside is 15.2%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Riverside residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.0%, is less than both the national and state average. All Saints Episcopal Church, All Souls Universalist Church and Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church are all churches located in Riverside. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Riverside is home to the Riverside Art Museum and the Riverside Municipal Auditorium and Soldiers Memorial Building as well as Evans Park and Fairmount Park. Shopping malls in the area include Adams Plaza Shopping Center, Jurupa Grand Center Shopping Center and Five Points Shopping Center. Visitors to Riverside can choose from Airport-Inn, Arlington Motor Inn and Best Western of Riverside for temporary stays in the area.