When did you know you wanted to become a firefighter?
The dream of becoming a firefighter usually starts early in life. Something about the excitement of danger and the opportunity to save lives attracts the bravest of souls. However, having the desire to be a firefighter is just the start.
If you’re serious about making firefighting your career choice, then you’ll have to act fast. There’s a maximum age for applying to fire departments, and if you’re not careful, you’ll miss your chance. Read on to learn how to become a firefighter before it’s too late!
Meet the Basic Requirements for Firefighting Careers
Before you embark on your journey to become a firefighter, you’ll need to make sure you meet the basic requirements. To become a firefighter, you’re going to need a valid driver’s license.
You’ll also have to meet the age requirement for your state. Typically most states require you to be at least 18 years old.
Junior Firefighter Opportunities
If you’re younger than 18 years old you can look into becoming a junior firefighter. Junior firefighters will be able to get a great behind-the-scenes look before becoming official firefighters.
The maximum age is when the fire department will cut off applicants. Typically, 28 to 35 years old will be the maximum age range.
However, the exact cut-off will depend on the fire department you’re applying to. If you’re past the cut off age, you won’t be eligible for firefighting jobs.
Becoming a Firefighter With the Right Education
The next step in learning how to become a firefighter has to do with academics. You’re going to need to take care of all of your education requirements. You’ll at least need to obtain your high school diploma or the GED equivalent.
If you want to build a promising future, we suggest getting a degree in fire science. Having a degree under your belt will make it easier for you to advance through your career.
It’s also a smart move to become an EMT. Having an EMT and fire background will help improve your chances of getting the job. In some cases, the fire department you’re applying to will require an EMT certification. If you’re using a more extensive fire department, plan on providing paramedic licenses.
Choosing a Career Path by Volunteering
Before working as a firefighter, you can introduce yourself to the local firefighting community by volunteering. Fire departments will have multiple opportunities for people to volunteer.
A voluntary role will help you build vital contacts in the professional firefighting field. You’ll also be introducing yourself as a valuable part of the firefighting community. The connections you make will be indispensable when it comes time for you to enter into the highly competitive field of firefighting.
Embrace the community and learn about Firefighter coins and the importance they hold. Use your volunteer experience as a chance to direct your career choices too. Find out what it’s like to be the Fire Chief, and decide if that’s a route you’d like to take!
Physical Requirements for Firefighters
You have to pass a physical ability test to become a firefighter. If you’re not already in shape, now is the time to start working out.
Start off slow as you get your body conditioned to your new routine. Over time, you can hire a physical trainer or join a group exercise class. By working out with individuals who have experience toning their bodies, you’ll be able to get in shape much faster.
What exactly does the physical ability test involve? The firefighting test is the “candidate physical ability test” or CPAT. The test will likely involve stair climbing, hose dragging, equipment carrying, moving ladders, forcible entry, search rescue, ceiling breach and more.
The CPAT is going to consist of 8 separate events. You’ll be completing these events in a sequenced order to help you progress along your predetermined path. The test determines who is a trainable candidate for different physically demanding fire scenes.
The physical test is a past/fail test. There’s no middle ground. Throughout every event, you’re going to have to wear long pants, long pants, a hard hat equipped with a chin strap, complete footwear, and work gloves.
Take the Written Exam
The physical exam is only one part of becoming a firefighter. You’re also going to have to pass an extensive written exam.
Don’t underestimate how challenging the firefighter exam can be. You’ll need to study, study, study if you want any chance of passing with a high score.
The written exam is going to include multiple-choice questions. All the questions divide into specific categories.
We suggest familiarizing yourself with the test-taking basics so that you can have the best chance of passing with flying colors! You can boost your memory and other cognitive skills with these exercises. The written exam will cover human relations, problem-solving, memory, judgment, and of course, math.
Complete an Oral Interview
You’ll also need to complete an oral interview. The oral interview is where you’ll have to discuss your long-term career goals.
You’ll answer questions like; Why is it you want to become a firefighter? Where do you see yourself with the department in the next 5 years?
After passing the written and oral exam, you’ll apply to an apprenticeship program. You could go to a local, state, or federal firefighting academy that follows US fire administration guidelines. A national fire protection association can also offer an apprenticeship certification course.
Lifelong Learning Opportunity With Firefighting Jobs
Firefighting jobs provide a lifelong career opportunity. Even after you’re accepted into a department, there will still be countless opportunities for you to advance your training.
If you want to advance through the public sector, you’ll need to be able to compete with the best of the best. Heading to class to earn different advanced certifications or college degrees will help boost your rank.
Know-How to Become a Firefighter
Now you know how to become a firefighter. As you boost your rank, you’ll be able to increase your earnings as well as your responsibilities.
Before you know it, you’ll be rising from firefighter to engineer all the way to Lieutenant. The sky’s the limit.
So take the first step towards becoming a firefighter today and get ready to build a bright future! Are you looking for more ways to make your future exciting and secure? Then see what the rest of our website has to offer.