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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Plano, Texas

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for forest firefighters in the Plano, Texas area. 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. Forest firefighters generally 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 yearly 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. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: fire technician, forestry crew chief, and rescue worker.

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

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: Plano, Texas

Plano, Texas
Plano, Texas photo by Jmcstrav

Plano is situated in Collin County, Texas. It has a population of over 267,480, which has grown by 20.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Plano, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Plano are valued at $229,500 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, three hundred sixty-eight new homes were constructed in Plano, down from five hundred forty-six the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Plano are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, computer and electronic products, and finance and insurance. The average travel time to work is about 28 minutes. More than 53.3% of Plano residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Plano is 7.4%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Plano residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.7%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Potters House Assembly of God Church, Central Baptist Church and Preston Meadow Lutheran Church are among the churches located in Plano. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Plano is home to the Heritage Farmstead Museum and the The Shops at Willow Bend as well as Enfield Park and Buckhorn Park. Shopping malls in the area include Preston Shepard Place Shopping Center, Preston Towne Crossing Shopping Center and Collin Creek Shopping Center. Visitors to Plano can choose from Amerisuites Dallas Plano North, Best Western Park Suites Hotel and AmeriSuites Plano for temporary stays in the area.