Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.

Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Mesquite, Texas

Forest firefighter career and educational opportunities abound in Mesquite, Texas. About 26,260 people are currently employed as forest firefighters in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 21% to 31,770 people employed. 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. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Forest firefighters earn about $21 per hour or $45,300 per year on average in Texas and about $21 per hour or $44,260 per year on average nationally. 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. Jobs in this field include: smoke eater, fire fighter, and forest ranger.

The Mesquite area is home to seventy-six schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Mesquite 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, it will take only a short time to learn 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 Mesquite 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.


Mesquite, Texas
Mesquite, Texas photo by Justin Cozart

Mesquite is situated in Dallas County, Texas. It has a population of over 132,123, which has grown by 6.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Mesquite, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Mesquite cost $155,500 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, sixty-four new homes were constructed in Mesquite, down from one hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Mesquite are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 18.5% of Mesquite residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Mesquite is 8.2%, which is greater than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Mesquite residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.1%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Pentecostal Church of God Christian Assembly, Central Assembly of God Church and Prairie Creek Bible Baptist Church are among the churches located in Mesquite. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Mesquite is home to the Light Crust Doughboys Hall of Fame Museum and the Town East Centre as well as Mesquite Memorial Stadium and Tosch Park. Visitors to Mesquite can choose from Chet' s Electronic Lock & Repair, Big Town Inn and Classic Inn for temporary stays in the area.