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CAPTAIN - PUBLIC EDUCATION DIVISION: From Fitness Instructor To Firefighter Department Captain

About this video 

Susan, one of the first female firefighters in her county, is now the captain of the Public Education Division. With a degree in education and an initial goal of starting a corporate fitness business, Susan discovered the firefighting field quite unintentionally. But once put to the challenge, she faced the male-dominated industry head on and has now been on the job for 23 years.

Degree: Education
Job Title: Captain - Public Education Division
Employer: Sarasota County Fire Department

Job Summary: Firefighters

Job Description

Firefighters protect the public by responding to fires and other emergencies. They are frequently the first emergency personnel on the scene of an accident.

On-the-Job Training

Moderate-term on-the-job training

Certification Requirement
Firefighters must usually be certified as emergency medical technicians at the EMT-Basic level.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$25,000 - $75,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
0 to 10 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time, Varies Widely, Irregular
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Outdoor, Physically demanding
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Analytical skills, Courageous, Strength/stamina, Teamwork, Verbal communication skills, Written communication skills, Hand-eye coordination, Likes working with hands

Educational Path

Education requirement
Education Requirement
High school degree
Trade/vocational School
Recommended majors
Recommended Majors
Fire Protection
View Detailed Career Data

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='230'>My</span> <span m='400'>name</span> <span m='550'>is</span> <span m='650'>Susan Pearson.</span> <span m='1850'>And</span> <span m='2090'>I</span> <span m='2180'>am</span> <span m='2310'>a</span> <span m='2400'>captain</span> <span m='3200'>over</span> <span m='3550'>the</span> <span m='3840'>public</span> <span m='4210'>education</span> <span m='4730'>division</span> <span m='5300'>here</span> <span m='5630'>with</span> <span m='6880'>the</span> <span m='6980'>fire</span> <span m='7260'>department.</span> <span m='8550'>And</span> <span m='9630'>I'm</span> <span m='9840'>in</span> <span m='9910'>charge</span> <span m='10370'>of</span> <span m='11570'>arranging</span> <span m='12080'>anything</span> <span m='12380'>that</span> <span m='12500'>has</span> <span m='12710'>to</span> <span m='12790'>do</span> <span m='12950'>with</span> <span m='13090'>educating</span> <span m='13670'>the</span> <span m='13770'>public</span> <span m='14320'>about</span> <span m='14630'>safety,</span> <span m='15200'>for</span> <span m='15400'>example,</span> <span m='15930'>setting</span> <span m='16180'>up</span> <span m='16430'>fire</span> <span m='16700'>extinguisher</span> <span m='17260'>classes,</span> <span m='18340'>or</span> <span m='18910'>fire</span> <span m='19210'>safety</span> <span m='19590'>talks,</span> <span m='20140'>or</span> <span m='21180'>sending</span> <span m='21600'>instructors</span> <span m='22160'>into</span> <span m='22720'>grammar</span> <span m='23030'>schools</span> <span m='23370'>to</span> <span m='23460'>teach</span> <span m='23710'>kids</span> <span m='23920'>about</span> <span m='24330'>fire</span> <span m='24620'>safety.</span> </p><p><span m='25650'>I'm</span> <span m='25800'>also</span> <span m='26070'>the</span> <span m='26190'>public</span> <span m='26510'>information</span> <span m='27060'>officer.</span> <span m='27620'>So</span> <span m='27880'>any</span> <span m='28140'>time</span> <span m='28510'>there</span> <span m='28860'>are</span> <span m='29720'>events</span> <span m='30160'>that</span> <span m='30280'>are</span> <span m='30500'>media-worthy,</span> <span m='31470'>I</span> <span m='31610'>have</span> <span m='31780'>to</span> <span m='31890'>respond</span> <span m='32509'>to</span> <span m='32650'>those</span> <span m='32840'>emergency</span> <span m='33760'>calls</span> <span m='34290'>and</span> <span m='34750'>speak</span> <span m='35030'>with</span> <span m='35160'>the</span> <span m='35230'>media.</span> </p><p><span m='36340'>My</span> <span m='36490'>career</span> <span m='37120'>educational</span> <span m='37790'>path,</span> <span m='38630'>I</span> <span m='38790'>have</span> <span m='39090'>a</span> <span m='40220'>bachelor's</span> <span m='40730'>degree</span> <span m='41320'>in</span> <span m='41650'>education.</span> <span m='43000'>My</span> <span m='44290'>goal</span> <span m='44740'>was</span> <span m='45050'>to</span> <span m='46280'>teach</span> <span m='47770'>corporate</span> <span m='48170'>fitness</span> <span m='48490'>and</span> <span m='48710'>put</span> <span m='49560'>people</span> <span m='49930'>in</span> <span m='50010'>corporations</span> <span m='50710'>on</span> <span m='50850'>fitness</span> <span m='51190'>programs</span> <span m='51740'>to</span> <span m='52050'>increase</span> <span m='52850'>productivity</span> <span m='53740'>and</span> <span m='53910'>decrease</span> <span m='54420'>absenteeism.</span> <span m='55390'>And</span> <span m='55720'>there's</span> <span m='56100'>all</span> <span m='56290'>kinds</span> <span m='56550'>of</span> <span m='56640'>other</span> <span m='56810'>benefits</span> <span m='57280'>of</span> <span m='57390'>that.</span> </p><p><span m='58270'>But</span> <span m='58640'>the</span> <span m='59580'>field</span> <span m='59900'>was</span> <span m='60070'>very</span> <span m='60250'>saturated</span> <span m='60910'>at</span> <span m='61010'>the</span> <span m='61100'>time.</span> <span m='62940'>And</span> <span m='63340'>I</span> <span m='63480'>moved</span> <span m='63810'>to</span> <span m='65269'>Florida</span> <span m='65960'>and</span> <span m='66240'>started</span> <span m='66580'>my</span> <span m='66680'>own</span> <span m='67000'>business</span> <span m='67950'>teaching</span> <span m='69030'>aerobics</span> <span m='69530'>and</span> <span m='69620'>personal</span> <span m='70040'>training.</span> </p><p><span m='71710'>I</span> <span m='71900'>was</span> <span m='72050'>originally</span> <span m='72490'>hired</span> <span m='73130'>to</span> <span m='73240'>put</span> <span m='73570'>firefighters</span> <span m='74230'>on</span> <span m='74490'>fitness</span> <span m='74920'>programs</span> <span m='75385'>and</span> <span m='77690'>weight</span> <span m='78010'>loss</span> <span m='78270'>programs</span> <span m='78870'>and</span> <span m='79020'>to</span> <span m='79110'>also</span> <span m='79490'>help</span> <span m='80140'>rehabilitate</span> <span m='81540'>injuries.</span> <span m='82510'>And</span> <span m='82880'>as</span> <span m='83020'>I</span> <span m='83070'>got</span> <span m='83250'>to</span> <span m='83360'>know</span> <span m='83570'>the</span> <span m='83670'>firefighters</span> <span m='84340'>and</span> <span m='84460'>learned</span> <span m='84910'>about</span> <span m='85200'>their</span> <span m='85380'>job,</span> <span m='85870'>I</span> <span m='86010'>thought</span> <span m='86280'>it</span> <span m='86320'>was</span> <span m='86510'>so</span> <span m='88020'>exciting</span> <span m='89000'>and</span> <span m='89570'>what</span> <span m='89790'>they</span> <span m='89910'>were</span> <span m='90060'>doing</span> <span m='90380'>for</span> <span m='90520'>the</span> <span m='90600'>community</span> <span m='91060'>was</span> <span m='91240'>very</span> <span m='91980'>admirable.</span> <span m='93230'>And</span> <span m='93660'>I</span> <span m='93830'>decided</span> <span m='94460'>that</span> <span m='94880'>I</span> <span m='95020'>wanted</span> <span m='95600'>to</span> <span m='95700'>be</span> <span m='95870'>a</span> <span m='95930'>part</span> <span m='96210'>of</span> <span m='96300'>it.</span> </p><p><span m='97230'>And</span> <span m='97450'>at</span> <span m='97550'>the</span> <span m='97640'>time,</span> <span m='97980'>they</span> <span m='98080'>didn't</span> <span m='98300'>have</span> <span m='98530'>any</span> <span m='98690'>women</span> <span m='99030'>on</span> <span m='99140'>the</span> <span m='99230'>job.</span> <span m='100200'>And</span> <span m='100880'>they</span> <span m='101340'>told</span> <span m='101720'>me</span> <span m='101910'>that</span> <span m='103010'>it</span> <span m='103120'>was</span> <span m='103410'>very</span> <span m='103660'>unlikely</span> <span m='104170'>that</span> <span m='104310'>I</span> <span m='104380'>would</span> <span m='104560'>pass</span> <span m='105020'>the</span> <span m='105360'>physical</span> <span m='105800'>agility</span> <span m='106270'>portion</span> <span m='106940'>of</span> <span m='107150'>the</span> <span m='107480'>application</span> <span m='108050'>process.</span> <span m='109100'>And</span> <span m='109490'>that</span> <span m='109710'>only</span> <span m='109980'>fueled</span> <span m='110390'>the</span> <span m='110480'>fire,</span> <span m='111310'>so</span> <span m='111500'>to</span> <span m='111590'>speak,</span> <span m='112830'>and</span> <span m='113310'>made</span> <span m='113530'>me</span> <span m='113630'>want</span> <span m='113960'>to</span> <span m='114250'>pass</span> <span m='114610'>the</span> <span m='114890'>test</span> <span m='115350'>even</span> <span m='115640'>more,</span> <span m='115880'>which</span> <span m='116110'>I</span> <span m='116190'>did.</span> </p><p><span m='117546'>What do</span> <span m='117930'>you</span> <span m='118100'>wish</span> <span m='118360'>you</span> <span m='118470'>knew</span> <span m='118740'>when</span> <span m='118930'>you</span> <span m='119010'>started</span> <span m='119420'>your</span> <span m='119570'>career?</span> </p><p><span m='120310'>Well,</span> <span m='120510'>you know,</span> <span m='120860'>I</span> <span m='121210'>came</span> <span m='121510'>on</span> <span m='121630'>the</span> <span m='121710'>job</span> <span m='121940'>23</span> <span m='122410'>years</span> <span m='122630'>ago</span> <span m='123440'>as</span> <span m='123630'>one</span> <span m='123810'>of</span> <span m='123850'>the</span> <span m='123930'>first</span> <span m='124220'>female</span> <span m='124560'>firefighters.</span> <span m='125270'>I</span> <span m='125550'>think</span> <span m='126390'>that</span> <span m='126610'>I</span> <span m='126660'>probably</span> <span m='127500'>would</span> <span m='127840'>have</span> <span m='129479'>tried</span> <span m='129699'>not</span> <span m='129940'>so</span> <span m='130039'>hard</span> <span m='130310'>to</span> <span m='130370'>be</span> <span m='130520'>liked</span> <span m='131280'>and</span> <span m='131400'>accepted</span> <span m='132090'>and</span> <span m='132460'>just</span> <span m='132890'>really</span> <span m='133080'>focused</span> <span m='133530'>on</span> <span m='133650'>doing</span> <span m='133910'>my</span> <span m='134050'>job.</span> </p><p><span m='135510'>And</span> <span m='136160'>back</span> <span m='136480'>then,</span> <span m='136710'>I</span> <span m='136790'>didn't</span> <span m='137080'>think</span> <span m='137280'>that</span> <span m='137420'>I</span> <span m='137550'>would</span> <span m='137890'>ever</span> <span m='138120'>become</span> <span m='138440'>an</span> <span m='138530'>officer.</span> <span m='139440'>So</span> <span m='139940'>had</span> <span m='140240'>I</span> <span m='140660'>been</span> <span m='140810'>able</span> <span m='141050'>to</span> <span m='141120'>see</span> <span m='141330'>the</span> <span m='141420'>future,</span> <span m='142290'>I</span> <span m='142400'>would</span> <span m='142560'>have</span> <span m='142660'>taken</span> <span m='143000'>classes</span> <span m='143650'>and</span> <span m='144560'>received</span> <span m='145000'>my</span> <span m='145290'>Fire Officer I</span> <span m='146730'>certificate</span> <span m='147830'>a</span> <span m='147890'>lot</span> <span m='148150'>sooner</span> <span m='148780'>so</span> <span m='149040'>that</span> <span m='149200'>I</span> <span m='149260'>could</span> <span m='149430'>strive</span> <span m='149830'>towards</span> <span m='150130'>that</span> <span m='150330'>goal</span> <span m='150980'>earlier</span> <span m='151390'>in</span> <span m='151450'>my</span> <span m='151560'>career.</span> </p>","file":{"id":255781,"video_id":"2701282666001","name":"69914506","duration":152873,"thumbnail_url":null}});