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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Midland, Texas

Midland, Texas provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for forest firefighters. Currently, 26,260 people work as forest firefighters in Texas. This is expected to grow by 21% to about 31,770 people 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. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Forest firefighters earn about $21 hourly or $45,300 yearly on average in Texas and about $21 hourly or $44,260 per year on average nationally. 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. Jobs in this field include: engine boss, hot shot, and wildland firefighter.

The Midland area is home to five schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Midland where you can get a degree as a forest firefighter. The most common level of education 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 Midland 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

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

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: 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.