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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Arlington, Texas

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for forest firefighters in the Arlington, Texas area. There are currently 26,260 working forest firefighters in Texas; this should grow by 21% to about 31,770 working forest firefighters in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for forest firefighters are expected to grow by about 18.5%. 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 $21 hourly or $45,300 annually on average in Texas and about $21 per hour or $44,260 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Forest firefighters earn less than people working in the category of Fire Control generally in Texas and less than people in the Fire Control category nationally. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: forestry crew chief, engine boss, and firefighter.

The Arlington area is home to eighty-seven schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Arlington where you can get a degree as a forest firefighter. 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 Arlington 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

Collin County Community College District - Plano, TX

Collin County Community College District, 4800 Preston Park Blvd., Plano, TX 75093. Collin County Community College District is a large college located in Plano, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,000 students. Collin County Community College District has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated fifty students 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.


Arlington, Texas
Arlington, Texas photo by Alienevil

Arlington is located in Tarrant County, Texas. It has a population of over 374,417, which has grown by 12.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Arlington, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Arlington are priced at $154,300 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred twenty-six new homes were constructed in Arlington, down from eight hundred twelve the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Arlington are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 27 minutes. More than 30.4% of Arlington residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Arlington is 7.5%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Arlington residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Advent Lutheran Church, Pleasantview Baptist Church and Central Assembly of God Church are some of the churches located in Arlington. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Arlington is home to the Festival Marketplace and the The Parks at Arlington as well as Arlington Tennis Center - University of Texas and Doug Russel Park. Visitors to Arlington can choose from Budget Host International, Baymont Inns & Suites and Candlewood Suites for temporary stays in the area.