How to Become a Firefighter


If working for your community and prioritizing public safety sound appealing to you, then you should consider becoming a firefighter. It’s an excellent job that pays well. The national average for firefighters is $43,000 per year. Most of the time firefighters work twenty four hour shifts, and average twenty days off per month. This allows room to take on a second job, or enjoy significant blocks of free time. Whatever your preference may be, the fact that you will be saving lives and promoting community safety should outweigh the salary. The fire house has dormitory style living arrangements, a kitchen, bathrooms, showers, television, etc. You are expected to keep the facilities clean, and assist or lead in cooking meals for you colleagues. Out in the field, situations can get very stressful and physically demanding, so you need to plan on keeping yourself in shape. Being a firefighter can be incredibly dangerous, but that is a risk you need to consider before signing on. Here are some tips and steps to becoming a firefighter.

Becoming an EMT is becoming the standard for admission to many fire departments around the country. You could also volunteer at a department, but it’s very likely that you will need this certification at some point early in your career. Firefighters are usually the primary responders to emergencies, so it helps to be able to administer first aid on the scene. Also consider taking any available classes at local community colleges related to firefighting. Any experience or educational merit will go a long way in strengthening your entry level application. Since this is a physically demanding role, you should also work on some basic strength and conditioning. Being fit and healthy is a requirement. Also, you should get involved with local fire departments in some way. Get to know the members of your favorite fire department on a personal level, and meet the chief. You would be spending the greater portion of your workweek with these individuals so it helps to make sure you are compatible. Plus, come hiring time, if you already have internal connections it will strengthen your application.

Once you get your EMT certification, educational background, and volunteer work, you should start taking the firefighter exams. Do your best to study and pass, and start preparing for your background check. You will need to know all your old employers, the dates you worked, and your rate of pay. This step can take a long time if you have had multiple jobs so plan accordingly.

You will then need to take the physical and written exams. The CPAT, or Candidate Physical Ability Test, is the normal physical evaluation. You wear full fire equipment and carry out a number of drills, including ladder climbs, house pulls, ceiling and door breaches, etc. If you can pass both of these exams, start applying to different departments in the area. If you have done well and your skills are a good match, you will be contacted and given an extensive background check. Assuming your record is clean and free of felonies or drug related offenses, you should be good to go. You’ll attend a fire academy and learn about the nature of the job.

Being a firefighter is one of the most rewarding jobs in America. You serve the community and save people’s lives. America is in constant need of these workers, but finding a job can be difficult. However, follow these steps to make your job hunt more successful.

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Matthew Welch

Matthew Welch is an SEO strategist, content marketer, blog manager, and sports enthusiast from Boston, MA with a collegiate background in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Connecticut.

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