Firefighter follows advice of industry veterans to prepare for fulfilling career: Go to Gateway
Jeremy Hugasian was unsure of what he wanted to do for his life and career.
That is, until he really, really knew what he wanted to do – and that change happened in minutes.
He considered enlisting in the military and entering other careers, but eventually he discarded them all. The one thing he did know is that he didn’t want a 9-to-5 job, and he wanted something with a little more meaning, too.
Ultimately, the decision became a family one.
“My cousin is a firefighter and I told her I was thinking about what I wanted to do in life,” says Jeremy. “She invited me to the fire station, and I wasn’t even there for a few minutes when the liveliness of the station drew me in. I fell in love with it and never looked back.”
Jeremy said he spent the next few weeks talking to his cousin and other firefighters, asking them about internships and how he could become a firefighter. The one constant comment was that he needed to look at Gateway Technical College.
“Some of the career guys at the department said they went to Gateway. That’s why I went there,” says Jeremy. “That was the overall comment I was hearing – go to Gateway.”
Jeremy soon began his firefighter training at Gateway’s HERO Center. He says the college provided him with a great spectrum of knowledge because of a strong curriculum and supportive instructors with real-world experience.
“A lot of the instructors had worked in the industry. And they were always willing to have those one-on-one conversations about anything to make sure we understood all the concepts we were learning,” says Jeremy.
“There was a point when I wasn’t where I thought I should be. My instructors agreed and they sat me down and encouraged me that they knew I could do better. It’s this type of relationship instructors have with the students that helps you to do your best. They weren’t afraid to challenge me – and it made me perform so much better.”
The result was training Jeremy was able to use in the field, gained through a program he was able to navigate in a short time frame.
“I wanted to further myself and learn more, and I wanted to learn as much as I could as quickly as possible,” said Jeremy. “That’s another reason I chose Gateway.”
Jeremy entered a very in-demand career field and currently serves as a firefighter paramedic. While many enroll in the program right out of high school, an increasing number of students come to the college having spent many years in the workforce already but in a non-firefighter career field. They seek a shift to a career with more meaning and stability.
Fire training equipment at Gateway’s HERO Center is modern and used in the field today, which further helped students gain a better understanding of how it works and how they will use it in their career, said Jeremy.
“The equipment was all top-notch. Everything was up-to-date and we were able to try new things too,” said Jeremy.