From Fire Volunteer to Career Firefighter: A 5-Step Guide
Volunteer firefighting is one of the most rewarding, most fun, and least financially viable professions. Most people don’t have unlimited income to spend, so most volunteer firefighters are stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to work their day job and also get in a few calls. They want to be able to serve their community as a firefighter, yet sometimes they may not be able to afford it.
We’ve compiled a 5-Step Guide to get you in the firehouse full-time, paid. We know you deserve it!
6. Expand your horizons.
Firefighting opportunites can appear in unexpected places. Check out federal seasonal jobs. Even if you don’t want to be a wildland firefighter, seasonal firefighting jobs offer valuable experience and a wider range of paid firefighting opportunities.
Generally, the Forest Service workforce reaches its highest numbers during the peak fire season each summer. There are many kinds of schedules available to work. Some sign on for a limited number of hours during the summer – they are called seasonals. Others have permanent seasonal positions, and work 26 weeks with 26 weeks off. Others work full time, year around, but have limited appointments or a “not to exceed” time limit of one to four years. And there is a large permanent, full time workforce as well – that have chosen Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management for their career.
Individuals who want to be seasonal firefighters need to think about wildland fire in January. That’s when most applications are due. Anyone interested in a job (permanent or temporary) with the Forest Service, or other federal agencies, can check the Nationwide Temporary Employment center at the USDA Forest Service website.