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How to Become A Firefighter in Virginia

According to the US Fire Administration, there was an average of 2.2 deaths and 20.2 injures per 1,000 fires in Virginia. The national average for the same period was 2.5 deaths and 9.8 injuries per 1,000 fires.

Should I Become a Firefighter in Virginia?

Virginia has 554 fire departments and fire stations. If you want to become employed as a Firefighter in this state, it is recommended that you obtain the EMT Certification. After getting hired, all Firefighters enroll at a fire academy to earn Firefighter I or II certifications. Other requirements for this career are explained in detail below.

Education Required

High School Diploma or a GED (minimum)

Major Requirement

Fire Science


EMT certification is recommended


Firefighter I or II certification from a Fire Academy

Key Skills

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

Annual Mean Salary (2019) -



Annual Mean Salary (2019) -



Job Outlook (2018-2028)


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

Career Outlook

Firefighters are expected to see a 5% employment growth between 2018 and 2028 as predicted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2019, BLS reported 324,620 Firefighters in the US, and this figure is anticipated to rise by up to 350,000 by 2028. On the other hand, the state of Virginia had 10,250 Firefighters working for the safety of its residents in 2019.

Steps to Becoming a Firefighter in Virginia

The career of a Firefighter is quite demanding and requires a great deal of courage, stamina, and determination. If this profession is your passion, then this stepwise hiring guide is for you.

Step-1: Earn a High School Diploma or a GED

To be eligible for this career in Virginia, all candidates must earn at least a high school degree or a GED. However, that is just the state-set requirement and the local fire departments and stations usually set additional requirements. They often hire candidates who have earned a college degree in Fire Science.

Step-2: Get Certified as an EMT

Like many other states, Virginia has not made it mandatory for its Firefighters to become certified as Emergency Medical Technicians. However, it is highly recommended that all Firefighters earn this certification.

Step-3: Clear the Required Tests

After applying for the position of a Firefighter, all candidates are subjected to multiple tests that include:

  • A background check-candidates must not have any criminal records
  • Complete medical check-up-physical exam, psychological assessment, and drug screening
  • CPAT-Candidates’ Physical Ability Test
  • A written test and an oral interview

Step-4: Get the Firefighter I or II Certifications

After getting hired as a firefighter, all recruits must complete their training at a Fire Academy and earn Firefighter I or II certifications to begin fieldwork. This training includes topics like handling fire equipment, procedures of responding to fire emergencies, putting out fires, and rescuing people, etc.

Duration to Become a Firefighter in Virginia?

After applying for this position, the hiring process may take anywhere between 4 to 6 months. The overall duration also depends on whether you complete a high school diploma or a college degree. It also varies based on what certifications you choose to complete (if any).

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Firefighter in Virginia?

If you aim to become employed as a Firefighter in Virginia, then you must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Hold a valid Virginia driver’s license
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have earned at least a high school diploma or a GED
  • Have cleared the physical exam and psychological evaluation
  • Have passed the background check and drug screening
  • Have taken and cleared the CPAT and written test
  • Hold a valid Firefighter I or II Certification

How Much Will I Earn as a Firefighter in Virginia?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an annual mean salary of $53,470 for Firefighters employed in Virginia in 2019.

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