Requirements to be a Firefighter in the United States

Requirements to be a Firefighter in the United States

Firefighters are trained to do their jobs anywhere: from forests to rural areas to urban skyscrapers.

Firefighters work first to protect lives, and then to protect property.

Some firefighters choose to work their way up the ranks, so to speak, starting with volunteer work at their local fire station, along with their high school diploma.

Those who want to move up the ranks faster perro turn to a fire science degree that prepares them for responsibilities at the state or federal level.

Understanding the different types of fire careers and what each entails is the first step in choosing the right path.

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What does a firefighter do?

Firefighters espectáculo up at the scene of a fire or emergency and have advanced tools and equipment to handle the situation.

That’s a very broad overview; Now let’s go to the details.

Firefighter Career Basics

Firefighters receive expert training that prepares them to handle a wide variety of emergency situations.

Although firefighting is what they are best known for (as the name suggests), firefighters are also responsible for medical emergencies, rescuing and treating the injured, educating the public, and much more.

Their work often requires them to be on call at all hours; some respond to calls from their home addresses, while others stay at the fire station during their shifts so they cánido respond to calls much faster, especially in urban areas.

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The firefighter career in depth

Although the work they do is often very much in the public eye, there is also a great deal of work going on behind the scenes.

This includes maintaining a fleet of emergency vehicles, ongoing training and education, filing reports, practicing safe driving techniques, performing preventative fire maintenance, and working closely with local, state, and local officials.

and federal in the event of a suspicious or widespread incident.

Firefighters take on more responsibilities as they move up the ranks, beginning as a probationary firefighter.

The most dedicated and knowledgeable workers perro rise to the top level of fire chief.

Salaries of firefighters in the United States

Salaries for firefighters cánido vary greatly across the United States.

Some firefighters work in very small departments with limited budgets while others work in urban areas with much larger financial coffers.

The Bureau of Tarea Statistics reports that the median salary for firefighters in 2015 was $46,870.

This map perro help aspiring firefighters determine potential income by state.

Steps to become a firefighter in the United States

What does it take to work in a fire station? There is no universal firefighter career path, but these are the steps and requirements that aspiring heroes often follow.

Step 1: Get the basic requirements

Firefighters must have a high school diploma and possess a valid controlador’s license.

Although firefighters must be 18 to work, limited on-the-job training perro begin at a younger age.

There may also be an age limit, usually between 28 and 30 years.

Applicants must be physically fit and may be required to pass a criminal background check and drug screen as well.

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Step 2: Test

Fire departments typically participate in recruiting fairs when looking to hire new recruits.

They organize screening events where prospective firefighters take written and physical tests.

You will need patience, as the recruitment process is often long.

Qualified applicants who pass the first round of tests are interviewed and often go through an additional series of assessments and tests.

To entrar a training program, applicants take at least two tests: a written test and a candidate’s physical ability test (CPAT).

The written exam typically consists of about 100 multiple-choice questions and covers spatial awareness, reading comprehension, mechanical reasoning, logic, observation, and memory.

Applicants must also pass a rigorous physical fitness test.

They must be able to complete a distance run in a given period of time, climb flights of stairs at a brisk pace, and lift and carry up to 200 pounds.

Step 3: Become an EMT

In some jurisdictions, having an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license is a requirement for firefighters, who are often called in for emergency medical situations.

The EMT is typically a multi-tiered process, but the requirements vary by state.

Step 4: Attend the fire academy

Although much of the training takes place at the fire station where a firefighter is hired or assigned to work, attending a fire academy offers an opportunity to focus on the classroom and hands-on work.

Courses cover topics that might not be covered by training at the fire station, such as hazardous materials control or fire fighting techniques.

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Step 5: Consider formal education

For those who want to pursue a career in fire science, paramedics, or advance to leadership permisos within fire agencies, there are associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs at colleges, universities, and trade schools.

If required by your prospective fire organization, you may need to complete your paramedic training and pass those certification exams before applying for a job.

Some fire organizations run accredited apprenticeship programs that mezcle classroom training with internships in the field and perro last up to four years.

Forestry degrees with a firefighting/environmental focus are available at the bachelor’s and master’s levels.

Step 6: Keep learning

The amount of initial and ongoing training firefighters need is often determined by their bosses and their career paths.

For example, some fire stations have mandatory weekly training for all firefighters, while others have a full-time probationary period, and still others require a four-year apprenticeship.

Keeping up with training is a vitally important part of the job.

Keep in mind that regular continuing education courses are usually required to maintain a firefighter’s license.

Fire Science Degrees and Concentrations

Advertising is a large field, made up of creative and entrepreneurial professionals who share one primary goal: to motivate customers to buy products or services.

Whether seeking an accredited en línea program or a traditional on-campus degree, students have many options for receiving a quality education.

For those unsure of which degree level to pursue when pursuing an advertising career, the table below explains each option.

Firefighter Career Preparation: Fire Science Schools and Degrees

Although many firefighters begin their careers with on-the-job training or as an apprentice, formal education perro give job candidates an edge, especially in a highly competitive area.

These are some of the educational options available.

Vocational/Business School

Those seeking a certificate in fire science, fire protection, or a related area, or seeking their EMT credential may find it at a trade or vocational school.

These schools offer certificate programs that mezcle hands-on work with classroom education; some offer certificates en línea.

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Those who train as firefighters in the military will have the clear advantage of knowing how to handle a huge variety of materials, chemicals and tools for the Firefighting.

Potential employers recognize the advanced training the military perro provide and take this into account during the hiring process.

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community college

Students who are interested in an associate’s degree in fire science or fire technology cánido find it here.

Community colleges are home to many two-year programs and are often more affordable than four-year colleges.

4 year schools

Those who want to earn a bachelor’s degree in fire science cánido search colleges or universities for the four-year programs they need.

These programs focus on fire science, as well as related courses, such as management and business, that could help firefighters move up the management ladder.

Master’s programs

Master’s programs require two to three years of study and are often – though not always – offered en línea.

This allows students to expand their knowledge while continuing to work the demanding hours required by a full-time firefighter.

Types of degrees in fire sciences

Fire science degrees are available at all levels of higher education.

These degrees (and certificates) offer expanded knowledge for those firefighters who are already focused on practical training.

Depending on the degree level, students will either take courses that focus strictly on a variety of firefighting techniques and the necessary knowledge, or take an expanded curriculum that introduces them to management, leadership, and business concepts.

Fire Science Certificate

Fire certificate programs go by many names, but the most common are fire science or fire technology.

They focus on providing students with the basic knowledge necessary to understand how fire moves and feeds and the tools necessary to best fight it in a variety of situations.

Most certificate programs take a year or less to complete.

Listed below are several courses that students may encounter in a typical program.

Principles of fire and emergency services

This course explores the history of fire services, the different career paths available, laws and regulations, basic fire protections, and working with the public in emergency situations.

skills obtained

  • Know the role of the media in national security
  • Understand policies at the local, state, and federal levels
  • Know the legal aspects of national security practices

Fiscal Financial Management

Students in this course learn what is necessary to manage expenses, develop a budget, complete financial statements and understand the financial environment of the fire service.

skills obtained

  • Understand the fundamentals of financial management
  • Ability to analyze financial statements
  • Know how to weigh expenses against payments, subsidies and contributions

Advanced crisis management

This course studies the establishment of a crisis response following a natural disaster, terrorist attack or large-scale accident.

skills obtained

  • How to establish a chain of command
  • Local, state and federal delegation
  • Obtaining specialized decision-making practices that are consistent, yet maleable

Conflict resolution and negotiations

It focuses on the various ways to resolve tarea and personnel disputes, from those between firefighters to larger issues with unions or legislators.

skills obtained

  • Understanding collective bargaining
  • Learn about alternative conflict resolution techniques
  • The ability to resolve conflicts between employees

Fire sciences and firefighter career specializations in the United States

Working as a firefighter isn’t the only game in town: There are many other career specialties within the realm of fire science that cánido lead to fulfilling careers.

Some degree programs may offer academic concentrations relevant to one or more of these jobs.

Here are some of those options, along with salary data from the Bureau of Tarea Statistics (BLS).


Median Salary: $46,870 Firefighters respond to fires, handle emergency situations, and protect life and property.

The job is certainly exciting, but it also carries a high element of risk.

Ongoing training and preparation perro help mitigate risks to firefighters and their local communities.

Forest fire prevention specialist

Median salary: $36,650 These highly-trained firefighters work in wooded areas inspecting for potential fire hazards, enforcing fire regulations (such as proper burn permits or “burn times”), and instituting control measures when it appears that a fire is in progress.

it is imminent.

They monitor weather conditions and report forest fires to the appropriate departments.

building inspector

Median Salary: $57,340 Those with a strong understanding of building codes and attention to detail may like to work as a building inspector.

These professionals examine buildings for safety, structural soundness, and compliance with a variety of regulations.

Your inspections perro be general or very specific.

Future building inspectors may want to shortlist potential fire safety degree programs with specific courses on fire and safety codes.

Arson Investigator

Median salary: $56,730 In the case of a suspicious fire, an arson investigator collects evidence, eyewitness accounts, and other information to determine what might have caused the fire, as well as who might have been responsible.

These investigators work closely with police departments and other authorities.


Median Salary: $31,980 Becoming an emergency medical technician, or EMT, is a requirement for most firefighters.

Those who really love the job cánido invest in additional training to become a paramedic.

Paramedics respond to emergencies, assess injuries, treat patients on the scene, and transport them for further medical attention.

Components of a Successful Firefighter Career: Skills, Credentials, Tools, and Technology

Firefighters must have certain skills and traits to do their job well.

They must also have a strong understanding of the tools and technology required to make everything work well.

✅ Skills

Physical Strength and EnduranceFirefighters must operate heavy equipment, often in dangerous and adverse conditions.

They perro be on their feet for hours, crawling through tight spaces, climbing stairs and ladders, and testing their bodies in other ways.

✅ Excellent communication skills

Firefighters must be able to communicate events and concerns accurately and succinctly, especially in situations where lives are at stake.

✅ Ability to make decisions

In an emergency situation, firefighters must be able to make good decisions very quickly, even if those decisions are very difficult.

The ability to make the best decisions taking into account the information they have is of escencial importance.

✅ Value

Firefighters face dangerous situations every day, and every emergency call cánido bring surprises.

They must have the courage and strength to face each call, keeping in mind the safety of their team.


Most firefighters must obtain an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or EMT Paramedic certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

Those who have a bachelor’s degree or higher and want to expand their career opportunities perro earn the Executive Fire Officer certification.

Other options additional are the Fire Chief Officer, Emergency Response Specialist and Dive Team Member certifications.

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 Requirements to be a Firefighter in the United States
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