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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Olathe, Kansas

For those living in the Olathe, Kansas area, there are many career and education opportunities for forest firefighters. The national trend for forest firefighters 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 $15 per hour or $32,700 per year on average in Kansas and about $21 hourly 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 Kansas and not quite as good as general Fire Control category earnings nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: rescue worker, fire fighter, and forestry technician .

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Olathe where you can study to be a forest firefighter, among sixty schools of higher education total in the Olathe area. The most common level of education for forest firefighters is a high school diploma or GED. 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 Olathe 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

Johnson County Community College - Overland Park, KS

Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS 66210-1299. Johnson County Community College is a large college located in Overland Park, Kansas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,062 students. Johnson County Community College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Kansas City Kansas Community College - Kansas City, KS

Kansas City Kansas Community College, 7250 State Ave, Kansas City, KS 66112. Kansas City Kansas Community College is a medium sized college located in Kansas City, Kansas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,800 students. Kansas City Kansas Community College has 2 areas of study related to Forest Firefighter. They are:

  • Fire Science/Firefighting, associate's degree which graduated 12 students in 2008.
  • Fire Protection, Other Specialties, associate's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.


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.


Olathe, Kansas
Olathe, Kansas photo by Ichabod

Olathe is situated in Johnson County, Kansas. It has a population of over 119,993, which has grown by 29.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Olathe, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Olathe are priced at $315,000 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, three hundred fifty-two new homes were constructed in Olathe, down from five hundred ninety-nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Olathe are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and finance and insurance. The average travel time to work is about 21 minutes. More than 39.9% of Olathe residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Olathe is 6.7%, which is greater than Kansas's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of Olathe residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than both the national and state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Shopping malls in the area include Twin Trail Shopping Center, East Gate Shopping Center and Gibson Shopping Center. Visitors to Olathe can choose from Microtel Inn Olathe, Sleep Inn Olathe and Grid Iron Sports Bar for temporary stays in the area.