Becoming a professional firefighter requires courage, knowledge, cooperation, physical strength, agility, endurance, compassion and adaptability. To become a firefighter, you must have all of these characteristics – not only to protect the citizens of your community from fire, but to confront any type of emergency to which you will respond.
Almost all fire departments require a high school diploma or its equivalent. Additionally, you may be required to attend a firefighter training program at a vocational/technical school, a two-year college, or a firefighter academy that teaches fire protection and fire control. Although not required, a number of firefighters coming on the job today have a four-year college degree. In addition, many firefighters are required to have and maintain certification as an emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic.
To become a professional firefighter you will be required to pass a series of tests and interviews. This process usually includes a written test, a physical agility test, an oral board and a chief’s interview. These are designed to test the candidate’s knowledge in math, science, writing, communications, organizational skills, problem solving and physical agility.
After an eligibility rating has been established through the testing process, background checks and investigations may be completed by a law enforcement agency. These are designed to check the integrity, reliability, fitness and general suitability of the candidates.