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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Lubbock, Texas

If you want to be a forest firefighter, the Lubbock, Texas area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 26,260 working forest firefighters in Texas; this should grow 21% to about 31,770 working forest firefighters in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for forest firefighters, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.5% over the next eight years. 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 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 Texas and not quite as good as general Fire Control category earnings nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: wildland firefighter, hot shot, and forest ranger.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Lubbock where you can study to be a forest firefighter, among nine schools of higher education total in the Lubbock 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 studying 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 Lubbock 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

South Plains College - Levelland, TX

South Plains College, 1401 S. College Ave, Levelland, TX 79336. South Plains College is a medium sized college located in Levelland, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,714 students. South Plains College has a one to two year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twelve 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: Lubbock, Texas

Lubbock, Texas
Lubbock, Texas photo by Voltin

Lubbock is situated in Lubbock County, Texas. It has a population of over 220,483, which has grown by 10.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Lubbock, 79, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Lubbock are priced at $171,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, nine hundred twenty-nine new homes were constructed in Lubbock, up from eight hundred eighty the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Lubbock are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 26.6% of Lubbock residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Lubbock is 5.3%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Lubbock residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 59.7%, is more than both the national and state average. Pentecostal Holiness Church, Philia Temple Church of God and Christ and Pilgrim Baptist Church are all churches located in Lubbock. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Lubbock is home to the South Overton Residential Historic District and the Kress Building as well as Lowery Field and Rocky Johnson Field. Visitors to Lubbock can choose from Barcelonacourt of Lubbock, Circus Inn and Carriage House Inn & Suites for temporary stays in the area.