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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Forest firefighters can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. About 5,950 people are currently employed as forest firefighters in Pennsylvania. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 5% to 6,250 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. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

A person working as a forest firefighter can expect to earn about $24 hourly or $50,090 per year on average in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania and not quite as good as general Fire Control category earnings nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: engine boss, fire technician, and firefighter.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Philadelphia where you can study to be a forest firefighter, among 156 schools of higher education total in the Philadelphia area. Given that the most common education level 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 Philadelphia 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.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

Camden County College - Blackwood, NJ

Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood, NJ 08012. Camden County College is a large college located in Blackwood, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,951 students. Camden County College has a one to two year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated three students in 2008.

Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington - Newark, DE

Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington, 400 Stanton-Christiana Rd, Newark, DE 19702. Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington is a medium sized college located in Newark, Delaware. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,460 students. Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting.

Burlington County College - Pemberton, NJ

Burlington County College, 601 Pemberton-Browns Mills Road, Pemberton, NJ 08068-1599. Burlington County College is a medium sized college located in Pemberton, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,688 students. Burlington County College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated three 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: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania photo by Apollo1758

Philadelphia is located in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 1,447,395, which has shrunk by 4.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Philadelphia, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Philadelphia cost $212,900 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, five hundred forty-five new homes were constructed in Philadelphia, down from five hundred ninety-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Philadelphia are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 32 minutes. More than 17.9% of Philadelphia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is lower than the state average.

The percentage of Philadelphia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Boulevard Church, Mount Herman Church and Saint Michael Mission Center are all churches located in Philadelphia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Muslim Estimate.

Philadelphia is home to the Five Points and the Academy Gardens as well as Durham Park and Cloverly Park. Shopping malls in the area include Roosevelt Mall, Andorra Shopping Center and Red Lion Shopping Center. Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from Comfort Inn, Concordia Worldwide Hotel Reservations and Embassy Suites for temporary stays in the area.