The basic requirement to become a firefighter is to complete high school and get a relevant degree. The subjects do not matter as such. But, having some courses in fire sciences does help your cause. It will also teach you how to be a more efficient firefighter.
After high school, many people choose to get some formal college education in the field before they become a firefighter. The minimum age requirement is 18 years. Thus, one cannot choose to become a firefighter right out of high school. College degrees in fire sciences are a huge plus if you are planning to join the field. Courses that teach you how to save people, control hydraulic equipment like ladders or other related stuff are a major plus.
If desired, you can also choose to complete an associate’s, bachelor’s or a master’s degree in the same. The former ones are required to get promoted to higher positions. At the same time, remember that the maximum age requirement is kept at 28-30 years of age. Thus, if you want to spend most of your life as a firefighter, you shouldn’t focus too much on education.
Every firefighter is required to have an EMT certification. The one required is the EMT-B or the EMT-Basic. This helps firefighters tend to victims in accidents or fires. The training might last for up to one year. If one desires, they can choose to pursue further studies in the field Emergency Medical Services and become a paramedic. This will help them gain an edge over other candidates and hopefully, a higher salary. There are also some medical specialist firefighters who can take better care of people after they have been rescued from the fires.
Many states require the applicants to be able to drive. Thus, they need their applicants to be a licensed driver which might help them in case that person is needed to drive the fire truck to the location. It also serves as an ID proof to verify the applicant’s age.
Firefighters are vetted almost as thoroughly as police officers. They undergo a comprehensive background check before they are hired. To get hired, the firefighters cannot have a criminal record. If it is found that there was one, or the firefighter was previously arrested, then that applicant is immediately disqualified. People who were pardoned for their crimes are usually accepted, however, not all fire departments admit such people.
One of the main attributes that a firefighter needs to have is physical strength. They should have the high upper body strength to be able to lift objects and people to help them in rescue situations. They are also supposed to have the high endurance to deal with the excessive running around they need to do. All firefighters undergo rigorous physical examinations both in the academy and before it.
Firefighters must deal with a lot of suffocating situations. They are usually provided with masks to help them deal with such situations but not always are they so lucky. People having respiratory conditions cannot operate such heavy machinery with precision under suffocating conditions. Thus, applicants are checked properly for any such diseases that may cause them harm in such situations.
There a lot of boxes that need to be ticked while selecting a firefighter. If you feel you tick these boxes, then go and find out how long it will take you to become a firefighter!