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How to Become a Firefighter

By Edited Mar 13, 2014 1 3

The modern day Firefighter is different from the traditional roles that Firefighters followed. In addition to fire suppression, a Firefighter roles and responsibilities include technical rescue, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Hazard Materials, and extrication in motor vehicle accidents (MVA).

Things You Will Need

  • At least 18 years old

  • High school diploma or GED

  • Valid Drivers License

Step 1

Determine what type of Firefighter you want like to be. There are three basic types of Firefighters; Career, Volunteer, or Paid-On-Call (POC).

Step 2

Decide if you will pay for the FireAcademy and EMS training or find a Fire Department that will provide the training at no cost.

Step 3

Select several departments that you are eligible to work for and stop in and fill out an application. A preliminary background check is usually conducted on all applicants.

Step 4

Most Fire Departments require some form of basic skill testing. A civil service exam is also used. Prepare for the exam, hiring order is typically based of the scores on every step in the process!

Step 5

Train for a Physical Ability Test or Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) well before you submit your application.

Step 6

The interviewing process for a Firefighter is called an oral board. The oral board consists of a selected from the Chief's Staff.

Step 7

Pass a background screening and character investigation. Many departments include a psychological exam and some even include a polygraph test. Just remember to be truthful on the background investigation and record release forms.

Step 8

Typically, a medical examination and pre-employment drug screening is preceded with a conditional offer of employment. So make sure you are in excellent physical shape and do not use any tobacco products. Many departments require Firefighters to remain tobacco free during their period of employment.

Step 9

Earn NFPA Firefighter I and II certifications from a fire academy.

Step 10

Complete EMS training and receive a medical license from the state in which your employer is located.

Tips & Warnings

 ‚ ‚Â ‚ ‚Â ‚Â ‚ ‚Â · Some Fire Departments have a residency requirement.

 ‚ ‚Â ‚ ‚Â ‚Â ‚ ‚Â · Veteran and Active Duty Military applicants can get points added to their score for their service.

 ‚ ‚Â ‚ ‚Â ‚Â ‚ ‚Â · There is a maximum age for Firefighters at some departments.



Sep 3, 2009 3:29pm
My son decided he was going to be a firefighter when he wasn't even walking yet LOL, would only play with firetrucks. He hasn't strayed from that path at all, another year and he can join the combination department we have as an Explorer. Thankfully he will receive all of his education for free. It's good you point that out, some might shy away because they can't afford it when a little research will lead them to FDs that pick up the tab.
Nov 4, 2009 5:02pm
Nice article on a great profession. Many people don't anticipate #7, the polygraph. Even some smaller Fire and Police Departments are using them.
Nov 15, 2009 10:31pm
I've been waiting for my dad to retire after 35 years of service as a firefighter. When he does retire in January I'm going to be following in his footsteps. I can't wait. It's been a life-long dream of mine to become a firefighter.
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