Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Minneapolis, Minnesota

If you want to be a forest firefighter, the Minneapolis, Minnesota area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 6,050 working forest firefighters in Minnesota; this should grow by 11% to 6,690 working forest firefighters in the state 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%. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Forest firefighters earn approximately $13 per hour or $29,020 yearly on average in Minnesota. Nationally they average about $21 per hour or $44,260 per year. Earnings for forest firefighters are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Fire Control in Minnesota and not quite as good as general Fire Control category earnings nationally. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: hot shot, rescue worker, and smoke jumper.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Minneapolis where you can study to be a forest firefighter, among eighty schools of higher education total in the Minneapolis area. Given that the most common education level 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 Minneapolis 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.
  • Lifeguard. Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

Hennepin Technical College - Brooklyn Park, MN

Hennepin Technical College, 9000 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445. Hennepin Technical College is a medium sized college located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,617 students. Hennepin Technical College has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated seven students 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: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota photo by BenFranske

Minneapolis is situated in Hennepin County, Minnesota. It has a population of over 382,605. The cost of living index in Minneapolis, 101, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Minneapolis are priced at $451,300 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, forty-five new homes were constructed in Minneapolis, down from one hundred fifteen the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Minneapolis are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 37.4% of Minneapolis residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.1%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Minneapolis is 7.0%, which is the same as Minnesota's average of 7.0%.

The percentage of Minneapolis residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.7%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Minneapolis is home to the Saint Josephs Orphanage and the Hiawatha Municipal Golf Course as well as Beards Plaisance and Mississippi Park. Visitors to Minneapolis can choose from COE Mansion Carriage House, Radisson Hotel Metrodome and Best Western Kelly Inn for temporary stays in the area.