How To Become A Firefighter

As a young boy, if playing with fire engine trucks and dressing up as a firemen were favorite pastimes, becoming a firefighter in real life may well be on the cards. Boys are always fascinated with the gleaming red of the fire engine with all its bells and whistles.  That's not to leave the girls out - more and more women are considering a career as a firefighter as well.  The concept of becoming a firefighter stems from the association of excitement riding the fire truck, barging into burning buildings to rescue victims and living life dangerously to save lives.  But just how hard is it to become a firefighter?  Does the reality live up to the fantasy? Read on and learn how to become a firefighter.

But first, let’s pause for a moment to do a reality check. Becoming a firefighter is not easy because the level of courage and commitment needed for this role are exceptionally high. The following factors can help ardent fans of the firefighting profession to decide how deep the commitment runs or if it’s just a fascination with the thrill of the role.

Commitment Needed To Become A Firefighter

 Questions to ask yourself include: how much determination do you have to become a firefighter and how much stress are you willing to endure? Will you work as part of the team or do you prefer a role that puts you in the spotlight constantly? Does the concept of community service scare you or are you ready to take up the challenge?  Being a firefighter is a demanding career and requires a level of committment not found in some other professions. 

Firefighter Fitness Requirements

 Are you physically fit to perform the role of a firefighter? The reality of being a firefigher is that the job is both physically and mentally challenging, and will involve much tedious training. A firefighter training course will range between 12 to 14 weeks of approximately 50 hours per week; a minimum of 600 hours of training will be required.  Much of the training focuses on the physical fitness necessary to being a firefighter. This grueling schedule translates into total dedication to the chosen profession.

Minimum Qualifications for Becoming A Firefighter

Anyone who wants to become a firefighter should be 18 years or above with a high school diploma to their name. College degrees may be required for certain jobs related to firefighting profession. Because opportunities for launching a firefighting career right out of high school are limited, it is recommended that interested persons attend college.

Firefighter raining programs are available in the following disciplines:

• Fire Science / Fire-fighting
• Fire Prevention and Safety Technology - Technician
• Fire Protection - Other
• Wildland - Forest Firefighting and Investigation
• Natural Resources Law Enforcement and Protective Services

Another option is to go to school to acquire a paramedic’s license. This will open up a career path to becoming a qualified firefighter. Most states have three levels of paramedic training including EMT basic, intermediate and paramedic. Paramedic qualification enhances the attraction of the candidate for the role of a firefighter.

While there is no universal standard on the minimum age, 21 is generally the accepted rule. Attending college after high school gives candidates a quantifiable advantage over other applicants.

Fire Fighter Study GuideFirefighter Exam

Firefighter candidates will be required to pass physical and written exams, an aptitude test.  The written firefighter exam gauges the level of technical knowledge and communication skills of the applicant. The physical exam focuses on upper body strength, agility, endurance, speed in real-life situations. Being extremely fit and reacting instantly to emergencies are absolutely mandatory in a firefighter’s role.

Finally candidates have to endure live fire training; a behavioral training to make sure the applicant fully appreciates the gravity of a real fire.

The culmination of a long process of becoming a firefighter is an oral interview and background check. Following the offer of employment, a medical exam needs to be passed successfully before the applicant can realize the dream of becoming a real life firefighter.

So, how hard is it to become a firefighter?  It's not easy, but it's not an impossible dream either.  With hard work, physical fitness and the drive to succeed you can meet the firefighter fitness requirements, study and pass the firefighter exam and achieve your dream of becoming a firefighter.


Barron's Firefighter Exams (Barron's Firefighter Candidate Exams)
Amazon Price: $16.99 $5.59 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 7, 2015)
Firefighter Exam For Dummies
Amazon Price: $18.99 $6.98 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 7, 2015)