Woodstock High School teacher Jason Watkins helps junior Merrick Duet, a junior in the Career Pathway program in Fire and Emergency Services and Firefighting, try on a mask as visiting Woodstock Fire Department firefighters look on.
The Cherokee County School District offers 38 Career Pathway high school programs, which provide students with a wide selection of job exploration and preparation electives. Through CCSD Pathway Profiles, we’ll regularly share highlights with you from one of these programs. This week’s profile focuses on Fire and Emergency Services and Firefighting, which is offered at Woodstock High School …
A veteran firefighter is teaching the next generation how to find their career path in service.
Jason Watkins, a 20-year firefighter, this year began a new career as instructor for Woodstock High School’s Career Pathway program in Fire and Emergency Services and Firefighting.
“I began teaching this class to allow students an opportunity to explore the fire service as a career field,” Mr. Watkins said, adding that he believes career education plays an important role in high school. “Students who may or may not attend college have a skill set learned for a career they can start when they graduate high school.” [Click here to see more photos from his classes.]
The program involves many hands-on activities including Mr. Watkins’ favorite: the practical skills assessment.
“During the practical skill day, the fire truck is at the school and the firefighters show students how to do the skills assigned,” he said. “Students then demonstrate the skill and the firefighters grade them on accuracy.”
Junior Merrick Duet chose the program as he plans to pursue a career in firefighting.
“Because this class partially certifies me in NPQ1 (National Professional Qualifications 1 for firefighters), it gives me a step ahead in this career,” Merrick said. “It also teaches the basics of firefighting and introduced me to new pathways, including the Fire Explorers program, which equips me to be further into my career of choice.”
Within the Pathway, classes offered include: introduction to law, public safety, corrections and security; essentials of fire and emergency services; applications of firefighting. Students can earn CPR certification and earn partial NPQ industry certification. They can compete in SkillsUSA state and national career skills contests. Additionally, Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services, a CCSD Partner, also offers the Fire Explorers program for youth interested in career exploration.
This Pathway prepares students for careers including, but not limited to: firefighter, forest firefighter, fire investigator, fire inspector, fire marshal, paramedic, EMT.
The average income range for careers in this Pathway in Georgia is $36,000 to $77,000. Local and area employers for this Pathway include, but are not limited to: Woodstock Fire Department, Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, county and municipal fire departments, public and private ambulance services.