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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Fighters in Houston, Texas

There are many career and education opportunities for fire fighters in the Houston, Texas area. There are currently 26,260 jobs for fire fighters in Texas and this is projected to grow by 21% to 31,770 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for fire fighters, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.5% over the next eight years. Fire fighters generally control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

A person working as a fire fighter can expect to earn about $21 per hour or $45,300 per year on average in Texas and about $21 hourly or $44,260 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as fire fighters in Texas earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. People working as fire fighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: driver engineer, fire chief's aide, and rescue worker.

There are eighty-one schools of higher education in the Houston area, including three within twenty-five miles of Houston where you can get a degree to start your career as a fire fighter. The most common level of education for fire fighters is a post-secondary certificate. You can expect to spend a short time studying to be a fire fighter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fire Fighter

In general, fire fighters control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Fire fighters decide on and attach hose nozzles, depending on fire type, and direct streams of water or chemicals onto fires. They also lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies. Equally important, fire fighters have to respond to fire alarms and other calls for assistance. They are often called upon to dress with equipment such as fire resistant clothing and breathing apparatus. They are expected to clean and maintain fire stations and fire fighting equipment and apparatus. Finally, fire fighters ready written reports that detail specifics of fire incidents.

Every day, fire fighters are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to respond quickly in general. It is also important that they exert themselves over and over again for long periods of time.

It is important for fire fighters to spray foam onto runways and rescue aircraft crew and passengers in air-crash emergencies. They are often called upon to examine buildings for fire hazards and adherence to fire prevention ordinances, testing and checking smoke alarms and fire suppression equipment as needed. They also salvage property by removing broken glass, pumping out water, and ventilating buildings to remove smoke. They are sometimes expected to establish firelines to inhibit unauthorized persons from entering areas near fires. Somewhat less frequently, fire fighters are also expected to examine fire sites after flames have been extinguished to insure that there is no further danger.

Fire fighters sometimes are asked to protect property from water and smoke using waterproof salvage covers and deodorants. They also have to be able to take action to contain hazardous chemicals that might catch fire or spill and participate in courses, seminars and conferences, and study fire science literature, to learn firefighting techniques. And finally, they sometimes have to lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies.

Like many other jobs, fire fighters must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Houston include:

  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Fish and Game Warden. Patrol assigned areas to prevent fish and game law violations. Investigate reports of damage to crops or property by wildlife. Compile biological data.
  • Forest Fire Lookout. Enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. Report forest fires and weather conditions.
  • Forest Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fire Fighter Training

San Jacinto Community College - Pasadena, TX

San Jacinto Community College, 8060 Spencer Hwy, Pasadena, TX 77501-2007. San Jacinto Community College is a large college located in Pasadena, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,677 students. San Jacinto Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eight and three students respectively in 2008.

Lone Star College System - The Woodlands, TX

Lone Star College System, 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77381-4399. Lone Star College System is a large college located in The Woodlands, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,331 students. Lone Star College System has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated zero, twenty-six, and twelve students respectively in 2008.

Houston Community College System - Houston, TX

Houston Community College System, 3100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77266-7517. Houston Community College System is a large college located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 48,087 students. Houston Community College System has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two 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.

LICENSES

FIRE PROTECTION PERSONNEL/FIREFIGHTER

Licensing agency: Texas Commission on Fire Protection
Address: PO Box 2286, Austin, TX 78768-2286

Phone: (512) 918-7100
Website: Texas Commission on Fire Protection

LOCATION INFORMATION: Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas photo by Hequals2henry

Houston is located in Harris County, Texas. It has a population of over 2,242,193, which has grown by 14.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Houston, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Houston are valued at $173,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 3,684 new homes were constructed in Houston, down from 6,035 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Houston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 27.0% of Houston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Houston is 8.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Houston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 34th Temple Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Houston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Houston is home to the Champion Rod and Gun Club and the Independence Heights Residential Historic District as well as Hermann Park and Hennessey Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center and Meyerland Shopping Center. Visitors to Houston can choose from Capital Inn, Bradford Homesuites - Houston Galleria and Best Western Fountainview Inn and Suites for temporary stays in the area.