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.
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.