From Fire Volunteer to Career Firefighter: A 5-Step Guide
Volunteer firefighting is one of the most rewarding, most fun, and least financially viable professions. Most people don’t have unlimited income to spend, so most volunteer firefighters are stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to work their day job and also get in a few calls. They want to be able to serve their community as a firefighter, yet sometimes they may not be able to afford it.
We’ve compiled a 5-Step Guide to get you in the firehouse full-time, paid. We know you deserve it!
What real firefighters have to say about going Volunteer to Paid:
“If you want to advance your career, I would look for a college with a 4 year degree program in fire science. After graduation, start applying to career departments. If you get hired, maybe the city will have an education program and you would be able to eventually study for a graduate degree. I would recommend a Masters in Public Administration.”
-Firelink user, firefighter SFD1340
“If you want to be a career firefighter education plays a big roll. I would definitely take the time to look at a 4 year degree. Say you are 18 now- that would make you like 22 when you graduate. You really are not missing out for those four years. From what I have found a lot of career departments will not even look at you unless you are just standout until you are 21 or 22. Definitely try and find a volunteer dept., the experience that you will gain will really help. If you want the “Golden Ticket” go ahead and get your medic (EMT) out of the way. I know at my career dept that is almost a sure in if you test well. Then again that is a lot to think about all up front. Just take it slow and don’t try to get to your goal overnight. Go into it knowing that it is going to take a while and concentrate on each step at one time. Its better to take a little longer and be good at your job.”
-Firelink user, firefighter JOBE12
“I encourage you to sit down and write out a plan of how to reach your goal. Here is a few things to help you out:
1. Enroll in fire science courses (they are available online)
2. Complete an Emergency Medical Technician course (EMT)
3. Maintain a high level of physical fitness
4. Work toward putting yourself through a basic fire academy at the local junior college
5. Knock on the door of the local fire station and ask what they advise you do to become a firefighter
6. Disassociate yourself from any “bad” friends. We will do a very thorough background check to ensure we are hiring a candidate with good morals and values
7. Become a volunteer in your community at the youth center, habitat for humanity, or any other cause that moves you.
8. Work on an ambulance to reinforce your EMT skills.
These things will get you pointed in the right direction. You will find there is a lot of competition to get hired on the fire department. Don’t worry about them, worry about what you can do to become the most qualified person. The rest will take care of itself..”
-Firelink user and Battalion Chief Paul Lepore