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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Visalia, California

Forest firefighters can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Visalia, California area. About 26,700 people are currently employed as forest firefighters in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 18% to 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.

Income for forest firefighters is about $29 per hour or $61,880 yearly on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $21 hourly or $44,260 annually. Forest firefighters earn less than people working in the category of Fire Control generally in California and less than people in the Fire Control category nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: smoke eater, forestry technician , and rescue worker.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Visalia where you can study to be a forest firefighter, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Visalia area. 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 Visalia 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

College of the Sequoias - Visalia, CA

College of the Sequoias, 915 S Mooney Blvd, Visalia, CA 93277-2214. College of the Sequoias is a large college located in Visalia, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,500 students. College of the Sequoias 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-six, one, nine, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Fresno City College - Fresno, CA

Fresno City College, 1101 E. University Ave, Fresno, CA 93741. Fresno City College is a large college located in Fresno, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 23,063 students. Fresno City College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated sixty-eight, fourteen, 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: Visalia, California

Visalia, California
Visalia, California photo by Capricorn90

Visalia is situated in Tulare County, California. It has a population of over 121,040, which has grown by 32.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Visalia, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Visalia are valued at $200,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, five hundred seventy-four new homes were constructed in Visalia, down from nine hundred twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Visalia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is public administration, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 18.9% of Visalia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.3%, is lower than the state average.

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

The percentage of Visalia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 51.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Parkside Chapel Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, Grace Lutheran Church and Holy Family Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Visalia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Visalia is home to the Tulare County Juvenile Hall and the Visalia Community Center as well as Pinkham Park and Lincoln Park. Shopping centers in the area include Fairway Shopping Center, Visalia Mall Shopping Center and Towne and Country Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Visalia can choose from Best Western Visalia Inn and Blacklakecondo for temporary stays in the area.