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 Fire Lookouts in Midland, Texas

For those living in the Midland, Texas area, there are many career and education opportunities for forest fire lookouts. The national trend for forest fire lookouts sees this job pool growing by about 8.4% over the next eight years. Forest fire lookouts generally enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards.

Forest fire lookouts earn about $21 hourly or $45,390 annually on average in Texas and about $15 hourly or $31,380 annually on average nationally. Forest fire lookouts 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 fire lookouts can fill a number of jobs, such as: fire observer, forest technician, and forest officer.

There are five schools of higher education in the Midland area, including two within twenty-five miles of Midland where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest fire lookout. Given that the most common education level for forest fire lookouts is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a forest fire lookout if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Forest Fire Lookout

In general, forest fire lookouts enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. They also report forest fires and weather conditions.

Forest fire lookouts relay messages about emergencies, accidents, locations of crew and staff, and fire hazard conditions. They also direct crews working on firelines during forest fires. Equally important, forest fire lookouts have to manage records and logbooks. They are often called upon to estimate sizes and characteristics of fires, and report findings to base camps by radio or telephone. They are expected to direct maintenance and up keep firefighting equipment, or requisition new equipment. Finally, forest fire lookouts examine and inventory firefighting equipment such as axes and fire extinguishers in order to establish  their condition.

Every day, forest fire lookouts are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for forest fire lookouts to administer rules regarding sanitation and related forest rules. They are often called upon to locate forest fires on area maps, using azimuth sighters and known landmarks. They also patrol assigned areas, looking for forest fires and weather phenomena. They are sometimes expected to examine forest tracts and logging areas for fire hazards such as accumulated wastes or mishandling of combustibles, and recommend appropriate fire prevention measures. Somewhat less frequently, forest fire lookouts are also expected to restrict public access and recreational use of forest lands during critical fire seasons.

They also have to be able to restrict public access and recreational use of forest lands during critical fire seasons and examine and inventory firefighting equipment such as axes and fire extinguishers in order to establish  their condition. And finally, they sometimes have to examine forest tracts and logging areas for fire hazards such as accumulated wastes or mishandling of combustibles, and recommend appropriate fire prevention measures.

Like many other jobs, forest fire lookouts must want to innovate to meet new challenges and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Midland include:

  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • 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 Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Fire Lookout Training

Odessa College - Odessa, TX

Odessa College, 201 W University, Odessa, TX 79764. Odessa College is a small college located in Odessa, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,808 students. Odessa College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated zero, eight, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Midland College - Midland, TX

Midland College, 3600 N Garfield, Midland, TX 79705. Midland College is a medium sized college located in Midland, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 4,372 students. Midland College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated three students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

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: Midland, Texas

Midland, Texas
Midland, Texas photo by Billy_Hathorn

Midland is situated in Midland County, Texas. It has a population of over 106,561, which has grown by 12.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Midland, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Midland cost $117,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, four hundred eighty-three new homes were built in Midland, down from five hundred fourteen the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Midland are health care, educational services, and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction. For men, it is mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, construction, and health care. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 27.2% of Midland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Midland is 5.7%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Midland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 61.5%, is more than both the national and state average. Alamo Heights Church, Ellis Chapel North Church and Primera Iglesia Bautista Church are among the churches located in Midland. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Midland is home to the Windmill Number Three and the Ranchland Hills Country Club as well as Tolbert Park and Doug Russell Park. Visitors to Midland can choose from Best Inn & Suites - Harrys Bar & Grill, Bradford Inn and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.