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The Department of Fire Services - Massachusetts Firefighting Academy provides post-employment training, and as such, a person must be a firefighter to gain admission to the Academy.
Potential firefighting applicants are encouraged to stay in school and attempt to master English, math and the sciences. Firefighters use such skills every day so applicants must be very strong in these areas.
Since firefighting is a team effort, applicants should be working to improve interpersonal skills. These skills might be increased through participation in student government activities, team sports and part-time jobs where contact is made with other people. Working well with others is a skill that must be developed.
Firefighting is physically challenging as well. Applicants should be in excellent physical shape and should continue an exercise program to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, and agility. If applicants are in less than excellent physical condition, get a physician's clearance and begin immediately to improve.
Many colleges offer degree programs in fire science. Even if applicants have already graduated from high school, local high school guidance counselors can direct individuals to the programs, which are most convenient. Higher education is key to success in the fire service.
Finally, applicants should form a career plan, which includes assessing which departments (a large city department or a smaller suburban department, for example) where they might wish to work. Once that is done, individuals should schedule meetings with the chiefs of those departments to discuss career goals and to determine the job opportunities in the selected departments.
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