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10 Steps to Becoming a Firefighter - For Military Service Members

10 Steps to Becoming a Firefighter - For Military Service Members

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Step 1: Choosing the Right Fire & Rescue Path


You may find that your military experience has prepared you for a specific firefighting path. If you have water rescue experience for example, you may want to apply to departments in coastal cities which have specialized maritime teams. If you have experience in navigation, ecology, or cartography wildland firefighting might be your path. Most vets becoming firefighters note that much of their military training has taught them to overcome claustrophobia, a common deterrent for civilians joining the field.

Making a list of all of your credentials can help you narrow down your choices. You can also request verification documents of your military experience and training, which is useful in preparing your resume and establishing your capabilities with the departments you are planning to apply to. Verification is also helpful if you are applying to a college or vocational institution. These institutions want information on your military training and experience, as well as how this might relate to the civilian world.

As a service member, you have had numerous training and job experiences, several which may allow you to challenge the firefighting exams in your state (taking the exam without undergoing civilian training). Fortunately, the military has made your life a little easier in this regard. The Verification of Military Experience and Training document, DD Form 2586, is created from your automated records on file. It lists your military job experience and training history, recommended college credit information, and civilian equivalent job titles. This can be a huge help in writing your civilian resume.

Get your VMET

To get your verification document, go to the VMET website (this site can only be accessed from a government computer network). All separating military personnel can electronically download and print their VMET document and personal cover letter from your military service from the VMET website. Simply click the “Request Document” and “Request Cover Letter,” tabs and print each of these documents after their downloaded.

You can get your verification document online as long as you have a current DoD Common Access Card (CAC) or have a current DFAS myPay PIN; however, you should retrieve it within 120 days prior to your separation. If you have problems getting your VMET and need assistance, check with your local Transition Counselor.

Step 2: Your Transition Timeline >>