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How to Become A Firefighter in Florida

Firefighters are courageous individuals who risk their own lives to rescue others from raging fires. In accordance with the data provided by the US Fire Administration, the state of Florida had an average of 2.0 deaths and 13.6 injuries per 1,000 fires in 2018 whereas, the national average was 2.5 deaths and 9.8 injuries per 1,000 fires. The injuries in Florida were higher than the national average whereas, the number of deaths in this state was less than the overall national average.

Should I Become a Firefighter in Florida?

If you are interested in becoming a Firefighter in Florida, you must acquire a Firefighter II certification. In addition to that, you must also get certified as an EMT or a Paramedic. The Florida Bureau of Fire Standards and Training maintains the training standards for all local firefighting academies. Further state-set requirements are explained as below.

Education Required

Possess a High School Diploma or a GED

Major Requirement

Fire Science

License/Certification

Firefighter II certification & EMT/Paramedic Certification is required

Experience/Training

Training at a Fire Academy

Key Skills

Courage, Compassion, Decision making, Communication, and Physical Strength & Stamina, etc.

Annual Mean Salary (2019) -

National

$54,650

Annual Mean Salary (2019) - Florida

 

$51,300

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

5% (As fast as average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor tatistics (2019)

Career Outlook

BLS has projected a 5% employment increase for this profession from 2018 to 2028. BLS reported 324,620 Firefighters in the US in 2019 and this figure is expected to increase up to 350,000 by 2028. Moreover, the state of Florida is home to 19,560 Firefighters.

Steps to Become a Firefighter in Florida

This piece explains the general hiring process in the state of Florida . The local fire departments or stations usually set their own hiring requirements that may slightly differ from the state set criteria detailed below.

  1. Earn a High School Degree or a GED

The state of Florida accepts a High School Degree or a GED as the minimum acceptable education for a Firefighter’s position. However, the local fire departments or stations may only hire candidates who possess a college degree in Fire Science. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you check with the relevant authorities before applying.

  1. Acquire EMT/Paramedic and Firefighter II Certifications

Aspiring Firefighters must acquire the Firefighter II certification. Moreover, they must become certified as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) or as Paramedics. This certification allows them to give immediate medical care to the injured people who have been rescued.

  1. Pass the State Required Tests

The state of Florida has made it mandatory for all aspiring firefighters to clear the following tests. All candidates are subjected to,

  • A detailed background check
  • A complete physical & psychological evaluation
  • A drug screening
  • The Candidates’ Physical Ability Test
  1. Get Training at the Fire Academy

As described earlier, the Florida Bureau of Fire Standards and Training is responsible for maintaining the standards of firefighter training in Florida. All recruits must complete this training before joining their official duties. Firefighter training provides hands-on experience and in-depth knowledge about techniques of rescuing people, ways of putting out fires, dos, and don'ts of handling fire equipment, codes & procedures of responding to fire emergencies, etc.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in Florida?

From submitting a formal application to getting hired as a Firefighter in Florida, the complete hiring process may take almost 2 years if you apply after completing a High School Diploma. On the other hand, this duration will increase if you apply for this position after completing a college degree in Fire Science.

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Firefighter in Florida?

If your goal is to work as a Firefighter in Florida, then you will be required to fulfill the following criteria. You must,

  • Have a valid Florida state’s driving license
  • Be a legal US citizen
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Possess at least a high school diploma or a GED
  • Have earned the Firefighter II Certification
  • Possess a valid EMT/Paramedic certification
  • Clear all state-required tests such as,
    • Background check,
    • The CPAT,
    • Physical and mental health evaluations
    • A drug screening etc.

How Much Can I Make as a Firefighter in Florida?

As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Firefighters working in the state of Florida had an annual mean salary of $51,300 in 2019. On the other hand, California was reported as the highest paying state for this profession with an annual mean salary of $84,370.

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