Be a Hero: How to Become a Firefighter in 5 Steps

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jul 26, 2021

Jul 26, 2021 • by Rebecca Smith

It's extremely competitive to become a firefighter. There are more applicants than positions and as it is a physically and emotionally demanding job, fire departments only hire the best of the best. 

If you've dreamed of saving lives and having a career in firefighting then you've come to the right place. 

Check out these five steps on how to become a firefighter and kickstart your career today. 

1. Make Sure You Have Physical and Emotional Skills for the Job

There are certain traits and qualities that each firefighter should have to be successful on the job. 

First of all, it's a physically demanding job that requires you to have strength and stamina to carry out your duties. If you're not at the peak physical level, you need to be willing to increase your fitness and work to maintain it throughout your career. 

Besides physical characteristics, firefighters are expected to be trustworthy, compassionate, and courageous. 

2. Firefighter Training Requirements

To begin firefighter training you'll need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma and driver's license.  

Then, you'll need to obtain an Emergency Medical Technician certification (EMT). You'll also need to pass a background check and a drug test. 

3. Get the Adequate Firefighter Education

There isn't a specific firefighter college major that you need to complete in order to be a firefighter. However, most applicants will obtain a certificate in Fire Experience or an Associate Degree in Fire Science. 

These education programs involve learning about topics such as fire prevention, investigation of fire, public education, and more. 

4. Volunteer as a Firefighter

Professional firefighters begin their careers as a volunteer. It's not an official requirement but in the competitive industry, it is prized. Kit yourself out with all the necessary gear from the firefighting checklist and begin your volunteer experience of at least six months. 

During this time you'll perform all of the professional firefighting duties, except under supervision. If you can't secure a firefighting volunteer position, try to find one where you can utilize and nurture your EMT skills. 

5. Apply at a Fire Academy

Now that you've got the necessary education and experience as well as the desired characteristics of a firefighter, it's time to apply for work. The process varies depending on the fire department you choose but it's always a long and competitive process. 

You can expect to take firefighter exams with multiple-choice questions based on available study guides. There will also be an interview and a physical and psychological exam. 

Get Ready for Step One in How to Become a Firefighter

Now that you know how to become a firefighter, are you ready for the job? The most important thing is carefully considering whether you have the skills for this demanding career and whether you're willing to work hard to achieve it. 

Did you enjoy this post? Our site is packed with career-related content to inspire your next big move — keep exploring for more articles!