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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Fighters in Waco, Texas

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for fire fighters in the Waco, Texas area. Currently, 26,260 people work as fire fighters in Texas. This is expected to grow 21% to 31,770 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fire fighters are expected to grow by about 18.5%. Fire fighters generally control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Fire fighters earn approximately $21 hourly or $45,300 yearly on average in Texas. Nationally they average about $21 per hour or $44,260 annually. Earnings for fire fighters 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. Fire fighters work in a variety of jobs, including: apparatus operator, fire engineer, and plugman.

There are seven schools of higher education in the Waco area, including three within twenty-five miles of Waco where you can get a degree to start your career as a fire fighter. Given that the most common education level for fire fighters is a post-secondary certificate, it will take a short time to learn to be a fire fighter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fire Fighter

In general, fire fighters control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Fire fighters decide on and attach hose nozzles, depending on fire type, and direct streams of water or chemicals onto fires. They also lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies. Equally important, fire fighters have to respond to fire alarms and other calls for assistance. They are often called upon to dress with equipment such as fire resistant clothing and breathing apparatus. They are expected to clean and maintain fire stations and fire fighting equipment and apparatus. Finally, fire fighters ready written reports that detail specifics of fire incidents.

Every day, fire fighters are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to respond quickly in general. It is also important that they exert themselves over and over again for long periods of time.

It is important for fire fighters to spray foam onto runways and rescue aircraft crew and passengers in air-crash emergencies. They are often called upon to examine buildings for fire hazards and adherence to fire prevention ordinances, testing and checking smoke alarms and fire suppression equipment as needed. They also salvage property by removing broken glass, pumping out water, and ventilating buildings to remove smoke. They are sometimes expected to establish firelines to inhibit unauthorized persons from entering areas near fires. Somewhat less frequently, fire fighters are also expected to examine fire sites after flames have been extinguished to insure that there is no further danger.

Fire fighters sometimes are asked to protect property from water and smoke using waterproof salvage covers and deodorants. They also have to be able to take action to contain hazardous chemicals that might catch fire or spill and participate in courses, seminars and conferences, and study fire science literature, to learn firefighting techniques. And finally, they sometimes have to lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies.

Like many other jobs, fire fighters must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Waco include:

  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • 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.
  • Forest Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fire Fighter Training

Temple College - Temple, TX

Temple College, 2600 S 1st St, Temple, TX 76504-7435. Temple College is a medium sized college located in Temple, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,182 students. Temple College has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting.

McLennan Community College - Waco, TX

McLennan Community College, 1400 College Dr, Waco, TX 76708. McLennan Community College is a medium sized college located in Waco, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,887 students. McLennan Community College has a one to two year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twenty-two students in 2008.

Hill College - Hillsboro, TX

Hill College, 112 Lamar Dr, Hillsboro, TX 76645. Hill College is a small college located in Hillsboro, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,718 students. Hill College has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twenty-eight 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.

LICENSES

FIRE PROTECTION PERSONNEL/FIREFIGHTER

Licensing agency: Texas Commission on Fire Protection
Address: PO Box 2286, Austin, TX 78768-2286

Phone: (512) 918-7100
Website: Texas Commission on Fire Protection

LOCATION INFORMATION: Waco, Texas

Waco, Texas
Waco, Texas photo by Aboxorocks

Waco is situated in Mclennan County, Texas. It has a population of over 124,009, which has grown by 9.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Waco, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Waco are valued at $144,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-eight new homes were built in Waco, down from five hundred fifty the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Waco are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 18.6% of Waco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is higher than the state average.

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

The percentage of Waco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.5%, is more than both the national and state average. El Calvario Presbyterian Church, Abundant New Life Assembly of God Church and Adams Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church are among the churches located in Waco. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Waco is home to the Helen Marie Taylor Museum and the Potts Interchange as well as Heart O Texas Coliseum and Kathy Ball Park. Shopping malls in the area include Lake Air Shopping Center and Richland Shopping Center. Visitors to Waco can choose from Budget Inn, America's Best Inns and Best Western Old Main Lodge for temporary stays in the area.