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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in North Las Vegas, Nevada

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for forest firefighters in the North Las Vegas, Nevada area. About 1,760 people are currently employed as forest firefighters in Nevada. By 2016, this is expected to grow 51% to 2,660 people employed. This is better than 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 about $24 per hour or $51,870 annually on average in Nevada and about $21 hourly or $44,260 yearly on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as forest firefighters in Nevada earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: firefighter, rescue worker, and smoke eater.

The North Las Vegas area is home to nineteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of North Las Vegas 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 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 North Las Vegas 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 Southern Nevada - Las Vegas, NV

College of Southern Nevada, 6375 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89146-1164. College of Southern Nevada is a large college located in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 27,035 students. College of Southern Nevada has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two and eleven 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: North Las Vegas, Nevada

North Las Vegas, Nevada
North Las Vegas, Nevada photo by Meridethmyers

North Las Vegas is situated in Clark County, Nevada. It has a population of over 217,253, which has grown by 88.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in North Las Vegas, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in North Las Vegas cost $207,700 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, eight hundred thirty-four new homes were built in North Las Vegas, down from 2,365 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in North Las Vegas are accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and health care. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and arts, entertainment, and recreation. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 10.2% of North Las Vegas residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 3.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in North Las Vegas is 14.3%, which is greater than Nevada's average of 12.6%.

The percentage of North Las Vegas residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 36.2%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

North Las Vegas is home to the Craig Ranch Country Club and the Craig Road Speedway as well as Valley View Park and Highland Valley Park. Shopping malls in the area include Cheyenne Shopping Center and College Park Shopping Center. Visitors to North Las Vegas can choose from Starlite Motel, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites and Texas Station for temporary stays in the area.