How to Become A Firefighter

Firefighters are rescue workers who are specially trained to deal with hazardous fire situations. Additionally, they are tasked with first responder duties which can include first aid and EMT services.

How Do Become a Firefighter

There is nothing more noble and respectable than saving lives. Check out this video on how to become a firefighter and see if this profession is for you.

Did you know that some of our Founding Fathers were fire fighters?

Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson all served as volunteer firefighters.

Being a firefighter is unlike any other job; you won’t be sitting at your desk and filing reports all day.

In fact, you’ll get to use your training and knowledge to help people in life-threatening situations.

So, here’s what you need to know about how to become a firefighter.

  • In order to apply, the first thing you have to do is finish high school. And if that doesn’t work out, you can also apply with a GED certificate.
  • And remember, you must be over 18—and in some states, 21—when you apply.
Health Requirements
  • Next up are the health requirements. Now as you would’ve guessed, firefighting requires stamina, agility and the ability to think on your feet. So if you want to become a firefighter, stay fit and healthy!

Bill Glanz, the director for media relations with the International Association of Firefighters, recommends that applicants go through EMT training to improve their prospects.

There are two levels of EMT training
  • Basic and Paramedic
  • Going for a certification may seem like a drag. However, you need to keep your eye on the prize and remember that being a licensed paramedic improves your chances of getting hired as a fire fighter.
The next step will be to prepare for the entrance exam.
  • Every department across the country has its own testing standards, so the best thing you can do is to get in touch with your local firefighting department.
Physical Ability Test

Some candidates may also be asked to take the Candidate Physical Ability Test, which is used by over a 1000 departments in the US. It is designed to test your fitness, strength and agility.

But wait, that’s not all.

There will also be a thorough background check, a drug test, and an interview.

A Quick Reminder

While these guidelines have been generalized for all fire departments in the US, there may be some variations regarding entry requirements and minimum age limits that you will have to check up on before you apply.

Being hired by your local firefighting department does not mean that you can start putting out fires right away. Even after getting hired, you won’t be a firefighter until you complete your department’s testing and training requirements.

You will be required to go through a medical exam and a rigorous training program that may last up to three to four months.

Firefighting skills are typically instructed by a state approved fire academy that also helps applicants learn lifesaving skills. Some fire departments have accredited apprenticeship programs that can last for up to 4 years.

Lastly, being a firefighter isn’t all hard work and no pay.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters earned an annual median salary of $45,250 in 2012, while the top 10% received more than $79,150 in compensation during the same year. Firefighters also receive generous insurance policies and retirement packages.

So you think you have what it takes to jump into a burning building and save precious lives?

If yes, then a career as a firefighter may be just what the doctor ordered.

In order to be considered for firefighter positions, candidates must meet certain minimum prerequisites. They must meet age requirements, which vary between states. They must also have finished high school or obtained a GED. In addition, candidates must be in excellent physical condition and have 20/20 vision, either naturally or through corrective lenses or glasses. Physical fitness is required from candidates because firefighters must regularly endure physically demanding tasks and training simulations. In most states, candidates’ criminal records must be free of prior felonies. Because firefighters need to be able to operate a fire engine, a valid driver’s license and a good driving record are also necessary.

If you’re interested in becoming a part of this profession, you would need to follow the steps below.  

1. Meet the minimum requirements.  You would need be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, driver’s license, and a clean record.  Besides, you may need to complete the EMT training.   

2. If you want to be a more desirable candidate, you can acquire an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree and become a licensed paramedic. These additional qualifications will help you stand out in the application process.  

3. Volunteer in your community with sincerity and dedication. If you are truly interested in helping your community, you will not only enhance your chances of getting a job as a firefighter, but  also enjoy your job.  

4. Work as a volunteer fireman. Although, you will not be paid for your work, but you will acquire useful experience that will help you find a job and perform well in it.  

5. After gaining some experience in firefighting, you will need to begin your application process. You will need to pass the background check, psychological evaluation, medical exam, CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test), and written test.  

6. Once you have been accepted, you will receive training at a fire academy. You will learn how to use firefighting equipment and extinguish different types of fires.

7. After completing your training, you will further get hands on training at a fire department. You will get the title of professional fireman, once you have completed your hands on training. 

8. You will have to face various challenges and complete difficult tasks as a professional fireman. You will need to work hard and keep gaining new skills. You may get First Aid and CPR training, a lifeguard certification, or any other training that your department requires.

In most states, candidates must complete nearly 600 hours of training through a local program or a fire academy.  Prior to entering a training program, candidates need to fulfill a few basic requirements, including the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT); a written exam that is intended to test a person’s comprehension, spatial awareness, retention and problem solving abilities; and a medical examination.

Satisfying these requirements is no simple task; for many people, the fire academy program alone takes approximately three to four months to complete. There is also no guarantee that meeting these basic conditions will grant a candidate entry into the firefighting profession, as these jobs are highly sought-after. For this reason, many people opt to complete additional courses, such as EMT training programs.

Many firefighter education programs are offered through local fire academies, but they can also be linked to community colleges or public universities. The firefighter education costs associated with obtaining these degrees will vary depending on where you get them, but often reach a few thousand dollars. This estimate does not include any optional courses, such as EMT classes.

While the process of qualifying for a firefighter position does take time, dedication, and effort, many people strive for these jobs because they are so personally rewarding.

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 1660 0.11 1.26 18.13 37720
Florida 1130 0.14 1.68 17.97 37370
Illinois 960 0.16 1.92 17.9 37240
Texas 760 0.07 0.78 16.62 34570
New York 650 0.07 0.85 20.12 41840


How to Become a Firefighter in Texas?

If you want to become a firefighter in Texas , you must undergo the basic firefighter training program conducted by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. This will take you 2 to 3 weeks (468 hours). You will then be assessed on basic firefighter skills and must score at least 70 percent on the state certification test. Once you are done with emergency medical responder training and have passed the criminal background history check, you can apply for the firefighter certification.

How to Become a Firefighter in California?

To become a firefighter in California , you need to complete basic firefighter training conducted by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. This will take about 3 weeks after which your basic firefighter skills will be assessed and you will have to pass the certification test. Once that is completed, you will need to complete emergency medical responder training before applying for your firefighter certification.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter?

To become a firefighter, you need a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED. Once this is complete, you will have to go through fire academy training, which typically lasts 3 to 4 months. You may then begin working as an entry-level firefighter. Bear in mind, however, that firefighting positions are typically limited and it may take you over a year to find an empty position.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Firefighter?

The requirements to become a firefighter include completing a comprehensive  on the job training session and getting a license. Firefighters also need to be certified as emergency medical technicians. Some fire departments may also require this certification to be via the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).

How Much Can I Make as a Firefighter?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Firefighters made an annual median income of $49,620 in 2018. The number of jobs in the same year in this occupation was 332,400 – a figure which is expected to increase by 17,600 by 2028. The top-paying employer for firefighters was the federal government, paying an annual median income of $52,290.

How to Become a Firefighter in Phoenix

If you want information on how to become a firefighter in Phoenix, we have all the details covered. Here are the requirements for you to join the field.

EMT Certification – All aspiring firefighters have to get Arizona’s Emergency Medical Technician Certification.

CPAT – All aspiring firefighters in Phoenix will have to clear a Candidate Physical Ability Test from a licensed agency during a span of six months. This will be required on the date your final selection interview is held.

Firefighter I and II Certifications – Aspiring firefighters may be required to get these two certifications.

Clear the Cadet Program – All candidates will have to pass the Phoenix Fire Department’s Cadet Program.

These are some important steps/requirements you will have to clear to become a firefighter in Phoenix. For more details, visit the department’s website

How to Become a Firefighter in San Antonio

If you want to learn how to become a firefighter in San Antonio and also want information about the salary figures, we have you covered. As per the latest published US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data, 25,670 firefighters were working in Texas in 2019, the second highest number across all US states.

Firefighters in Texas, in 2019, earned a mean annual income of $54,760 and a median yearly salary of $53,440. These salary figures have been taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as well.

How to Become a Firefighter Philadelphia

Are you looking for information on how to become a firefighter in Philadelphia? Not only do we have all the details about the steps and requirements, we also have the income figures for firefighters employed in the state of Pennsylvania.

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters in Pennsylvania earned $58,720 in annual mean income in 2019. Their annual median wage was $61,610. Both figures are substantially higher than their corresponding national income figures of $54,650 and $50,850 respectively.

How to Become a Firefighter in Jacksonville Florida

Are you looking for information on how to become a firefighter in Jacksonville, Florida? If the answer is in affirmative, then we have all the details you are looking for and the salary of firefighter in Florida as well.

As pet the latest published data by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 19,560 firefighters employed in Florida in 2019, which is the third highest employment number for this occupation across all US States. Firefighters in the state earned $51,300 as mean annual wage in 2019, and $48,390 was their median annual income.

How to Become a Firefighter in San Jose

If you are looking for information about how to become a firefighter in San Jose and the kind of money they make, we have the details you need. According to the latest data published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state of California is a great place to work for firefighters.

According to BLS, firefighters in California made $84,370 in 2019 as annual mean wage and this figure makes California the highest paying state in the US for firefighters. On top of that, this figure is also considerably more than the national annual mean wage which stood at $54,650.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What degree do you need to become a firefighter?

A:In order to become a fire fighter you must at lease have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent. You can also opt for further education at post-secondary level. For some firefighter positions, you may need to acquire an emergency medical technician (EMT) certification and undergo formal training at a firefighting academy. The exact requirements will vary from state to state. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What are the requirements to become a firefighter?

A:In order to become a firefighter you must first at least complete a High school diploma, GED or equivalent. Then you must pursue further coursework in order to acquire an emergency medical technician (EMT) certification (if required in your state). You may also have to take formal training and classes at a firefighting academy where you will gain hands-on experience. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What do firefighter do?

A:The prime objective of a fire fighter is to control an emergency situation where this is outbreak of fire. They treat injured people, use fire extinguishers and put out fires, and rescue people from a fire stricken building. In addition to this they also provide general knowledge to the public about fire safety, maintain firefighting equipment and run practice fire fighting drills. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:Why become a firefighter?

A:According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median salary of firefighter was $45,250 in 2012. Apart from salary benefits, a firefighting career would give you the opportunity to rescue people and make the society a safer place. The career can be challenging and may also give you a sense of achievement. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics and The International Association of Firefighters)

Q:How long does it take to become a firefighter?

A:After completing your high school diploma, it may take you 1 to 2 years to become a firefighter. You may have to acquire a emergency medical technician certification if needed in your state. The duration of a formal fire fighting training program will vary from one place to another. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What are the basic Firefighter eligibility requirements?

A:The eligibility requirements may vary from state to state. To become a firefighter, individuals must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Apart from this, individuals are also recommended to pursue an associate or bachelor degree in a relevant field such as fire science. In some states, firefighters are required to ear certain certifications such as the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification. Alongside educational qualifications, firefighters must undergo extensive physical training and pass a series of tests and interviews. Applicants applying for a job as a firefighter must be over the age of 18, and must possess a valid drivers license.

Q:How to become a firefighter?

A:To become a firefighter, you first need a high school diploma, followed by an associate degree or bachelors in Fire Sciences. You are then required to join a fire academy and get your EMT or Paramedic Certification. In addition to that, you must be 18 years or older and physically fit, strong and agile with a lot of stamina. Excellent health and clearing a drug screening test may be necessary as well.

Q:What are the few steps to become a firefighter is USA?

A:To become a firefighter, you need to follow a certain set of steps. The first is to volunteer at the Fire Department. This will give you a good idea of how things are done in their system. The second step would be to find a CPR training class and join it. In addition to that, make sure you are physically fit, since you will be required to pass a strenuous physical examination. Third, get training at a local fore department or academy, and apply for work in the Department. The requirements will vary from state to state.

Q:How much does a firefighter make?

A:According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage firefighter makes around $48,750 in mean annual wage terms. The mean hourly wage was $23.44 and the median annual wage was $45,970 as of May 2014. These individuals are responsible for controlling and extinguishing fires and responding to emergency situations where life, property or the surrounding environment might be at risk from fire damages.

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