No other profession in the world is as risky as being a firefighter. Thus, one can’t help but wonder why thousands of applicants are still falling in line just to have a chance to be one of these modern day heroes. Who better to answer that question than a firefighter himself?
[Other than the adrenaline rush] There is another far more powerful feeling that comes from firefighting, and that is the overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from saving someone’s life.
–George Kellerman, former firefighter, partner and fire chief at 500 Startups
In 2014, a whopping 1,134,000 individuals placed their lives on the line every day as firefighting men and women. There are so many applicants for firefighting that in 2015 alone, California’s Salinas fire department received and estimated 1000 applications from individuals from every walk of life.
Furthermore, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of firefighters would steadily grow at a rate of 5% annually for the next ten years. The Bureau also predicts that competition for the job would be incredibly high due to the number of applications.
If this million of people can’t convince you enough that working as a firefighter is worth it, then nothing will. But if you are now headstrong in pursuing a career as a firefighter, then take out a pen and pencil as we are going to talk about the steps necessary to become a fire fighter.
Steps To Become A Firefighter
STEP 1: Volunteer For The Service
Most fire departments accept volunteer firefighters on a regular basis. What is even better is most of them do so without requiring much background checks or formal educations. However, volunteers would still be of course necessary to undergo the training provided by the fire departments themselves.
You may ask; why in the world would people want to work for something incredibly dangerous for a tiny or no pay at all? Well, there are two common answers to that question. The first one is that people who volunteer in fire departments often find it easier to get formally hired if ever they decide to do so. The second one would be of course related to the satisfaction people feel when they help other people.
STEP 2: Get A High School Diploma
If you decide to become an official firefighter and not just a volunteer, make sure that you were able to obtain at least a high school diploma. Some fire departments, however, may also prefer applicants who graduated with a fire related bachelor’s degree. Nevertheless, they are the only exception to what most fire departments want.
STEP 3: Get A Bachelor’s Degree (Optional)
As we stated a while ago, attending a four-year course for firefighter applicants is only optional. But just in case you do, it is highly recommended for you to get a fire, or medical related degree. These two courses would prepare you for the everyday situations firefighters face. A medical-related degree can prepare you for times you are called not just for fire-related emergencies, but also for victims that require immediate medical attention.
Another benefit of getting a bachelor’s degree is that it would make your life way easier if ever you would want to advance your firefighting career. Some fire departments may even go as far as requiring aspiring fire chiefs to get a master’s degree.
STEP 4: Take The Exam
Most fire departments often require their applicants to go through a rigorous screening. Furthermore, these screening almost all of the time include a physical and written examination. Physical exams often check the applicant’s physical fitness and overall health to make sure when the time comes; it is not them that needs saving.
On the other hand, written examinations often test the applicant’s cognitive and technical skills. Firefighters should have the ability to think of solutions for any problem in the shortest possible amount of time. Furthermore, they should have enough basic knowledge of facts critical to the job.
STEP 5: Get An EMT Certification
Some fire departments may require applicants to earn an EMT or Emergency Medical Technician certificate. EMT courses often involve training for emergency situations where lives are on the line. This would be a very indispensable knowledge for any firefighter; hence, making certified EMTs highly attractive to fire departments.
STEP 6: Attend The Fire Academy
Now that you have been accepted as a potential firefighter, you will now be required by your hiring department to participate in the training program. By participating in fire academies, fire departments make sure that you are equipped with the most important details that would make you a capable firefighter.
Fire academies are no walk in the park. It will test how willing you are to become a firefighter. Furthermore, the academy will place you simulated situations to let you have a feel of what working as a firefighter feels like. Nevertheless, after all the sweat and tears, you will now be a proud owner of the title “FireFighter.”
Now that you know the steps on how to become a firefighter, go out there and pursue your dream. And if you’re lucky and good enough to become one finally, make sure to send us a message and share your success story with us.