firefighter fighting fire

How to Become a Firefighter

Becoming a fireman can be a rewarding and exciting career with many experiences that aid in creating a well-rounded individual ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.

Becoming a firefighter requires some prerequisites, but with the right education and training, you can attain your goal.

The first step is to learn the basics. While real-world experience in the field is indeed the best way to learn what it means to be a firefighter, it is imperative to educate yourself about basics.

This career path is more than just putting out fires. Firefighters are trained experts that are prepared to handle a range of emergencies. Medical emergencies, rescue and treatment, and public education are just a few of the many tasks that come with this job.

Firefighters are expected to remain on call at all hours. The shift doesn’t end when you go home. Many firefighters stay in the firehouse to respond to calls faster, especially in cities.

At the firehouse, firefighters engage in numerous tasks and chores, so they are always prepared for a call.

These tasks include maintaining emergency vehicles, constant training and education (including safe driving techniques), filing reports, preventative maintenance, and working side-by-side with officials on every level in the event of an unusual incident. 

As a firefighter moves up higher in the field, he or she will receive more responsibilities.

The first step to becoming a firefighter is to have a high school diploma, have a valid driver’s license, and be 18 years old. Applicants must be physically fit, pass a background check, and drug test.

Secondly, you must enter and pass a firefighter training program, which usually involves a written test and a strenuous physical fitness test.

Third, some jurisdictions may require applicants to be EMTs before they can become firefighters, as this will teach them how to handle and respond in emergencies.

The fourth step is enrolling in a fire academy, which provides promising students the chance to focus on work both in the classroom and in hands-on scenarios. Attending a fire academy is vital because the courses cover topics that firehouse training may not cover.

Lastly, it is important to know that some firehouses require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, especially if your goal is to obtain a leadership position.

Some firefighter organizations offer apprenticeship programs that can take up to four years to complete but combine classroom training with fieldwork.

Lastly, it is essential to know that as a firefighter, every day is an opportunity for learning and continued education. Many firehouses mandate weekly training, while some have a full-time probationary period.

Still, others may require a four-year-long apprenticeship. This is in combination with whatever training is necessary to maintain your EMT license.

Many people may not realize that the process of becoming a firefighter involves multiple levels of certification and education. But for those who have a desire to serve their community, the demand for constant learning and training are worth the opportunity to become the best firefighter possible.