Becoming a firefighter: 10 must-do things
70% of people give up their dream of becoming a firefighter and pursue other career options. Competition is fierce, and the hiring process can be long and difficult. Here are ten things every firefighter candidate should do to improve their chances of getting hired.
1. Become an EMT
The vast majority of departments require an EMT certification to apply, as most fire departments handle 70% or more emergency medical-related calls. Work experience on a 911 ambulance is also extremely beneficial, and is often required for many paramedic programs.
2. Volunteer your time
For those just getting started, volunteering is a great way to build your resume and get great references. The American Red Cross is always looking for volunteers and CPR instructors. There are many great opportunities out there, so look for them and find something that interests you.
3. Take fire technology classes
Building construction and fire behavior are two of the most important subjects a firefighter needs to know, so do yourself a favor and enroll in a semester-long course at your local community college.
4. Maintain a clean background and lifestyle
It will be more difficult for you to stand out from the crowd if you have a history of problems. You can’t change the past, but you can start making changes that will affect your future.
5. Understand all of the phases of the firefighter hiring process
The selection process varies by department, but there are some commonalities. You should become familiar with the process as a whole, as well as each step within it. Begin by researching how departments in your area conduct their recruitment processes.
6. Start taking firefighter tests
Take firefighter tests to better understand the hiring process; each test will better prepare you for the next. Sign up for firerecruit.com to find out which departments are testing and to be notified of available jobs. Most departments only test every two or three years.
7. Stop by fire stations
Visit your local fire stations, particularly those that are part of the fire department you are applying for, to speak with firefighters about the career and the department, as well as any programs they may offer, such as cadet positions or reserve firefighter opportunities.
8. Get some life experience
Firefighters should not expect new recruits to know how to clean a toilet or do yard work; instead, they should teach them about fire behavior, building construction, and other job skills. How does one gain life experience? By exploring a variety of vocations, learning various job skills, and most importantly, gaining their independence.
9. Start preparing for your background investigation
Don’t be one of the candidates who wash out in the background check process because they lied or didn’t have the necessary information. A background investigation packet is typically 25 or more pages long and includes intimate and specific details such as dates, jobs, education, and credit history.
10. Learn as much as you can about the fire service and get hands-on experience
The fire service should not just be a job; it should be a career, and you should be passionate about it. There are excellent hands-on classes and training opportunities available. Do not expect things to happen overnight; patience, hard work, dedication, and perseverance are essential.
What are the odds of becoming a firefighter?
This sounds about right: the average chance of getting hired as a firefighter on any given test is about 1-in-100, or 1%, which, while still difficult, is very doable. Those are the odds for one test, but most people apply several times before getting hired.
How long does it take to get hired as a firefighter?
The entire process of hiring a fire department should take no more than 6 weeks, with recruitment training taking no longer than 6 months, depending on the department and municipal regulations.
How difficult is it to become a fireman?
It takes a lot of hard work, long hours of training, dedication, and a genuine desire to help others to become a firefighter. The firefighting career field is also extremely competitive, with hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants depending on the department.
What disqualifies you from being a firefighter?
Drug abuse, criminal activity, and even repeated traffic violations are examples of this behavior.
- Physical Disqualifications. A firefighter must be in excellent physical condition.
- Substance Abuse Issues.
- Criminal Offenses.
- Driving and Other Offenses.
Is it worth being a firefighter?
Firefighting is an incredibly rewarding job that’s well worth the time and effort if you’re willing to put in the effort. Though you’ll have to sacrifice some quality time with your friends and family and put yourself in dangerous situations, there are numerous advantages to being a firefighter.
How competitive is becoming a firefighter?
Being a firefighter is not easy, and neither is the process of becoming a firefighter. Competition is fierce, and the hiring process can be very grueling and challenging, something many people do not endure or succeed at. More than 70% of people abandon their efforts to become a firefighter and pursue other career options.
How many days a week do Firefighters work?
Schedules and Work Life of Firefighters A full-time firefighter works an average of 56 hours per week, divided into 24 hour shifts; some departments schedule firefighters to work eight or 12-hour shifts, but this is not the norm.
Do firefighters smoke?
Although research on the rate of smoking among firefighters is scarce, there are a few results that allow it to be estimated; however, more recent research has estimated that 13.6% of career firefighters and 17.4% of volunteer firefighters smoke.
How often does the Fire Department hire?
Career advice Most fire departments hire new recruits once every 12 months, so find out when they’re hiring next.
Are firefighters in demand?
Firefighter employment is expected to grow 6% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations, with the best job prospects going to physically fit applicants with paramedic training.
How do I start a career as a firefighter?
How to Become a Firefighter: A Step-by-Step Guide
- To become a firefighter, you must have a high school diploma and a valid driver’s license.
- Take the tests.
- Become an EMT.
- Attend the fire academy.
- Think about formal education.
- Continue learning.
Do firefighters get paid well?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average firefighter earns around $50,850 per year, or $24.45 per hour; for example, Los Angeles is one of the top ten cities for highest-paid firefighters, with a rookie salary of around $63,216 and a top earner of around $92,400.
Is 30 too old to become a firefighter?
Some fire departments allow you to join as a professional firefighter after 30, 40, or even 50 years of service. Some departments have upper age limits between 28 and 40 years of service, while others have no upper age requirements for firefighters. There are usually no upper age limits for volunteer firefighting.
Can firefighter have tattoos?
Yes, firefighters can have tattoos; however, depending on your department’s policies, you may be required to cover them while on duty. Tattoos are popular among younger generations and can cover any part of the body.
Where do female firefighters sleep?
These can be set up as separate locker rooms for men and women, individual or gender-segregated sleeping quarters, or locker room sections that can be separated for privacy while changing.