Where Are You Stuck?

“Nothing counts ‘til you have the badge . . . Nothing!”

“Getting the job of your dreams is like winning the lottery!” —Jerry Price, Firefighter

I get calls from candidates all the time telling me about all their wonderful credentials. They have been testing 3, 5 or 7 years, have been number 30 on this list, 22 on that list, volunteer firefighter, AA in Fire Technology, some medics and every certificate and merit badge you could imagine. I have to stop them before they get into warp speed with all their stuff. I do this with one simple statement: Do you have a badge? They go off again with more of their great stuff. I bring them back with “But, you do not have a badge? You are the bridesmaid. Never the bride.”

Why nothing counts ‘til you have the badge . . . Nothing!

Certainly, there are other things in life that are far more important than a badge; Family, health, friends, and happiness. The reason I use this slogan is that I often hear candidates who don’t have a badge use these excuses. I have education, experience, training, been a volunteer, bunked, and have a burning desire to get this job. Got degrees, certificates, have every merit badge everything you could think of, yada, yada, yada. None of this is going to matter if you don’t get a badge. You will still be the bridesmaid.

Firefighter cross with two crossed axes with an embedded flag on a black background.


Take this simple test to check how you’re doing getting a badge

• Are you taking every test you can?
• Are you passing the written?
• Are you passing the physical ability?
• Are you passing the psychological interview?
• Are you preparing for your oral interviews (100% of the score)?
• Are you getting conditional job offers?
• Are you passing the medical?
• Are you passing the background?
• Are you passing the oral?

And are you subscribed to a service that notifies you when a department is testing?
Check out firecareers.com and Firehouse.com

If you can’t answer yes to all these questions, you will never see a badge! Wherever you answer no, you cannot go to the next
step to gain a badge. Where are you stuck? Check out the appropriate sections of our program where you are stuck to gain the
information to get on with getting that badge.

Many write e-mails like this

“I know I have what it takes to make it as a full-timer.”

My reply – Yeah, they all say that. You know that. But you have to convince the oral board panel that you really do. That’s where we come in. You would not be calling if there wasn’t a problem? Right? Finally, they answer, right. If you cannot be humble and ask for help, how can you convince them on the oral board you can be humble enough after you get hired? Once we are both on the same page, we can start working on where you are stuck and find a solution that will get you that elusive badge.


“I am discouraged. I was in a recent psych/background process with a large department and a friend of mine got his conditional offer today and I did not. I am a new medic with six months experience, I have an AA, 14 units shy of a bachelors in management, I was in the Marine Corps, I am 34 years old and I felt like my interview with the psychologist went well and I am unaware of any major background problems. What gives? My friend is 22, no college and brand new medic himself. I just don’t understand . . . ”  — Steve

Another candidate like this called us last year. Skeptical, he went ahead and got our program and did the private coaching. He called yesterday that he had been offered the job of his dreams. He told me when he took the oral for this department there was a battalion chief on his panel that kept his head down writing most of the time.

When he gave his nugget signature story answer to one question, the battalion chief looked up, put his pen down and focused on his personalized answer (a real good sign). He said he knew then he had the job. Dan went to his psych armed with our special report on how to prepare. He said it wasn’t difficult avoiding the land mines during his psych because he knew where they were (this was probably the problem area with the discouraged candidate above). Dan got his badge. He had rushed out after the ultimate call to take flowers to his bride-to-be. He started the academy two weeks later.

“Nothing counts ‘til you have the badge . . . Nothing!” Ask Dan



In today’s firefighter applicant field, you have to be a well-rounded, well-prepared candidate. We have prepared the following documents to help you along the way.


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