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How should I pursue my education and career from this point out?

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  • How should I pursue my education and career from this point out?

    Sup everyone. So about me, I'm 20 years old and live in California with a desire to work as a wildlife officer(what they call game wardens here). After high school, I had gone straight to community college(tbh I regret not doing a gap year to truly figure things out). Basically after a year of not doing well(dropping most of the classes) I looked into EMT training at the prodding of my mother. I started out doing a community college program with EMR the first half and then next semester finishing for EMT Basic. But then, COVID-19 hit and things got complicated. I ended up leaving that program due to complications and some procrastination setting in but I apparently wasn't the only one. I did a ten-week program with the CalRegional organization and am waiting for approval to take the NREMT.


    After I had finished the EMT program I wanted to get back on track with school. Having matured a bit and also gotten past some personal stuff at the time I had spoken to a counselor to work out what classes I would need to take for my major(biology or environmental science, I'll have to see about what will transfer or not). I've posted around a couple days ago about meeting a game warden and asking about the job and hiring process. From what I was a told, a couple of folks may have a Master's degree but it's usually a mix of people with a bachelor's or even the minimum requirement of an associates and whatever relevant experience the cadets had. Degrees could be related to some sort of life science or even criminal justice or psychology and the backgrounds varied a lot, including many who didn't have a very outdoorsy upbringing(like me). According the CDFW website, the hiring process if you are accepted is ~18 months with the full background check,interviewing, physical testing, etc. So the schedule works out something like if you were to apply in May/June 2019, you'd go to the 2021 academy(it runs from January to August)

    With this in mind, I have reevaluated how to pursue things going forward and possible options would seem to be:

    A)Spring 2021->Fall 2021->Spring 2022->Fall 2022(associates for transfer finished), Spring 2023(apply to start hiring process)->Fall 2023->Spring 2024->Fall 2024(go to 2025 academy). I have considered doing a summer session in 2021 just to push it forward a bit maybe, but otherwise summers would be breaks.


    B)Spring 2021->Summer 2021->Fall 2021->Spring 2022(associates for transfer finished, apply to fish and wildlife department), break during Summer 2022, go to university to finish Fall 2022->Spring 2023->Summer 2023->Fall 2023(go to 2024 academy)

    C)Pursue an associates degree and get relevant experience(both EMT and volunteering work related to wildlife) and apply,and possibly get a bachelor's via online school while working

    Out of all these options, A does seem to be the best and least full of hastle. I do know that while I wish I had things figured out earlier, that it's become fairly common to have nontradtional students who either take more than 4 years for undergrad, or who do gap years/work/join the military/personal life interferes/etc, and like with many important things in life it might be best to not rush things. With that one, I'd starting at 25 which I know is by no means old and in fact probably would still be seen as a kid by many of you. I mean, I did have a 26 year old guy call me ''youngin'' when I was 18. The warden I talked to did say he himself was rejected like 3 times, although I regretfully didn't ask more about his own qualifications(he was a bartender previously). EMT experience I know is a plus for first aid knowledge, dealing with people under stress and knowing protocols during incidents but obviously they'd likely want some king of wildlife related volunteering, which could be done during summer breaks.


    And since I'm a high functioning autistic (not ''retarded'', don't get bothered by sirens or loud noises or go nonverbal, just was very socially awkward growing up but am much better), it might be good to still get some more general life experience so that you are much more acclimated with people both with getting along with them and being able to read them, along with the EMT work. Tuition isn't an issue since I am sponsored by the vocational rehabilitation department. Not trying to rush into anything, but just figured this is a good time to just look at my options and make an informed decision. And tbh, the waters are blurried since I've heard different things about the values of associates vs bachelor's vs the trades/skills and college degrees in general.

    Thoughts?

    Further info:

    https://wildlife.ca.gov/Enforcement/Career/Apply

    https://wildlife.ca.gov/Enforcement/...s-usually-take

    https://wildlife.ca.gov/Enforcement/...Qualifications

  • #2
    You are 20 yrs old..........................................slow the hell down and enjoy life

    What will happen will happen. Make a few plans, if they work out you will get what you want. If things don't go as planned you will surive
    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

    Comment


    • #3
      Get a degree in something popular and relevant like gender studies or sociology in case this doesn't work out.
      Last edited by Saluki89; 11-12-2020, 09:45 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Autism will be Very hard to overcome, if you're looking to become a POST certified officer.

        You've brought it up in both threads. Is the diagnosis obvious in a normal, casual conversation? If it's obvious, I honestly don't see you being fully commissioned. If it's not obvious, I'd not bring it up again.

        Of course any serious diagnosis will come up in a medical background check, as you'll be signing a form to release your medical history.

        Here, only you know the full extent of your diagnosis,....good luck with your aspirations.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by NolaT View Post
          Autism will be Very hard to overcome, if you're looking to become a POST certified officer.

          You've brought it up in both threads. Is the diagnosis obvious in a normal, casual conversation? If it's obvious, I honestly don't see you being fully commissioned. If it's not obvious, I'd not bring it up again.

          Of course it'll come up in a medical background check, as you'll be signing a form to release your medical history.

          Here, only you know the full extent of your diagnosis,....good luck with your aspirations.
          Good point. it's definitely not really obvious like it used too. when i mentioned it in my EMT class my peers were actually a bit surprised.

          Comment


          • #6
            We've all got our quirks,.....

            Comment


            • #7
              Things are not as simple and easy as you think they are.

              It's not a matter of applying and 18 months later you get the job. Far more people apply apply than there are vacant positions to be filled. That means many aren't going to get the job and are going to be disappointed. You very well could be one of them.

              Unless you plan on leaving law enforcement to teach Criminal Justice, Biology, or Environmental Science full time as a college professor, let me suggest that getting a degree in those areas is not the best idea. Here's why:

              1. In most departments, any degree bumps your pay.

              2. Many discover police work is not for them and leave the profession. If that happens, a degree in those areas is very limiting when it comes to getting a job in most private sector companies.

              3. Because of the unusually high injury and stress rate, many cops wind up going out early on a disability retirement. The money is good for a while but inflation catches up and you will need to get a second job. Again, a specialized degree will be limiting when it comes to getting a job in most private sector companies.

              4. If you do make a lifelong career in law enforcement, you no doubt want to go up the ladder. When you do, you will be dealing with issues like labor relations, budgeting, marketing, public relations, communications, completed staff work, statistics, personnel management, research, grant writing, community outreach, accounting, logistics, fleet management, audits, and equipment acquisition just to name a few. When this happens, you will be kicking yourself in the head because you got a specialized degree instead of one in Business or Public Administration.

              Consider going for a degree in Business or Public Administration. While you will take classes in core business subjects, you will have plenty of free electives you can use to take almost as many classes in criminal justice, biology or environmental science as your core subjects. Your degree will be in business but you will get a secondary education at the same time that will hopefully give you enough information to help you score higher on civil service exams for Fish and Game job. Should things later go south (dissatisfaction with a law enforcement career, disability retirement, etc.) having a degree in Business or Public Administration will open many doors to getting a meaningful job that pays well with a private company.



              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

              Comment


              • #8
                Compared to other agency types, DNR and game warden positions are not that numerous. If you want to improve your odds, I suggest a four year degree in biology, forestry, land management, etc. While L-1 offers solid advice, I have seen agencies that require applicants to have this type of degree.

                Folks on the spectrum may have trouble understanding body language, tone, sarcasm, etc. Do you have that issue?

                Relax.
                Last edited by just joe; 11-13-2020, 12:47 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                  Things are not as simple and easy as you think they are.

                  It's not a matter of applying and 18 months later you get the job. Far more people apply apply than there are vacant positions to be filled. That means many aren't going to get the job and are going to be disappointed. You very well could be one of them.

                  Unless you plan on leaving law enforcement to teach Criminal Justice, Biology, or Environmental Science full time as a college professor, let me suggest that getting a degree in those areas is not the best idea. Here's why:

                  1. In most departments, any degree bumps your pay.

                  2. Many discover police work is not for them and leave the profession. If that happens, a degree in those areas is very limiting when it comes to getting a job in most private sector companies.

                  3. Because of the unusually high injury and stress rate, many cops wind up going out early on a disability retirement. The money is good for a while but inflation catches up and you will need to get a second job. Again, a specialized degree will be limiting when it comes to getting a job in most private sector companies.

                  4. If you do make a lifelong career in law enforcement, you no doubt want to go up the ladder. When you do, you will be dealing with issues like labor relations, budgeting, marketing, public relations, communications, completed staff work, statistics, personnel management, research, grant writing, community outreach, accounting, logistics, fleet management, audits, and equipment acquisition just to name a few. When this happens, you will be kicking yourself in the head because you got a specialized degree instead of one in Business or Public Administration.

                  Consider going for a degree in Business or Public Administration. While you will take classes in core business subjects, you will have plenty of free electives you can use to take almost as many classes in criminal justice, biology or environmental science as your core subjects. Your degree will be in business but you will get a secondary education at the same time that will hopefully give you enough information to help you score higher on civil service exams for Fish and Game job. Should things later go south (dissatisfaction with a law enforcement career, disability retirement, etc.) having a degree in Business or Public Administration will open many doors to getting a meaningful job that pays well with a private company.


                  You make interesting points. Like just joe said however, fish and game departments do typically require some life science degree. Also, the environmental science field was projected to actually be growing faster than average.

                  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physica...pecialists.htm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by just joe View Post
                    Compared to other agency types, DNR and game warden positions are not that numerous. If you want to improve your odds, I suggest a four year degree in biology, forestry, land management, etc. While L-1 offers solid advice, I have seen agencies that require applicants to have this type of degree.

                    Folks on the spectrum may have trouble understanding body language, tone, sarcasm, etc. Do you have that issue?

                    Relax.
                    In the past, I definitely wasn't good at picking up people's mood of reading them. Much different nowadays however.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Zen-Paladin View Post

                      You make interesting points. Like just joe said however, fish and game departments do typically require some life science degree. Also, the environmental science field was projected to actually be growing faster than average.

                      https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physica...pecialists.htm
                      My apologies. I thought you were applying for the California Fish and Game Warden position, which only requires 18 semester units in the biological sciences, police science or law enforcement, natural resources conservation, ecology or related fields.

                      https://wildlife.ca.gov/Enforcement/...Qualifications

                      I didn't know you were applying for a different position.
                      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by L-1 View Post

                        My apologies. I thought you were applying for the California Fish and Game Warden position, which only requires 18 semester units in the biological sciences, police science or law enforcement, natural resources conservation, ecology or related fields.

                        https://wildlife.ca.gov/Enforcement/...Qualifications

                        I didn't know you were applying for a different position.
                        That actually was the position I wanted to apply for. Well, I have considered possible out of state options depending on how the future goes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Zen-Paladin View Post

                          That actually was the position I wanted to apply for. Well, I have considered possible out of state options depending on how the future goes.
                          Of course. No doubt you know what's best in these matters.
                          Last edited by L-1; 11-13-2020, 04:03 PM.
                          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Here is my advice and its the same for most applicants that are starting out in life and are still young like you. Join the military! Doesn't matter which branch. I know the Air Force is always hurting for Security Forces (basically the Air Force version of a police officer).

                            You can get the GI Bill, which will pay for your college. You will be encouraged to complete your degree while in the service and will rank up faster, with one. For most law enforcement agencies, having an applicant with a clean military history lowers the anxiety of the hiring officials.

                            There is always a little anxiousness when hiring a young guy/gal that just has a degree and no life experience.

                            Also, it will give you an idea of how you will do working with the public with your autism. You may find that you can't really perform police work, if that is the case, at least in the service you can change your career field and do something else. You may then find that making the military a career is a better option.

                            If you have been medically diagnosed with autism, each agency is going to have to look into that thoroughly and it may limit your ability to be hired. I say that because a background investigator will have to put more time into looking into your situation. It may just be easier to pass onto the next application that will be much easier to approve than yours. But, if you had a four year flawless enlistment in the service it will help to prove to the background investigator that although you are autistic you can still function successfully and effectively.

                            The military takes people who have been diagnosed with autism, but it does require a waiver.

                            Comment

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