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So, You Want To Become A Firefighter?

Steve Prziborowski

Beginning the process:

Once you have determined that it is your dream to become a firefighter, then it is time to put your money where your mouth is and start preparing yourself on a full-time basis. It is a full-time job just getting the job!

Here are some basic steps to assist you in becoming a firefighter:

Step 1. Enroll as a student at a college offering a two-year degree in Fire Technology.

Step 2. Begin taking classes to work towards your Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Fire Technology.

Step 3. A suggested course of action, given a two year plan for a student entering the academy

(realize every college fire program may have a slightly different offering of classes; this is just a sample of what to expect):

First Semester
  • Health 61 (EMS First Responder – the prerequisite to get into the EMT program)

  • Physical Education 2 – IFS (Introduction to fire science conditioning)

  • Fire 50 (Introduction to Fire Protection Organization – a prerequisite for the firefighter 1 academy)

  • Fire 52 (Firefighter Safety and Public Education – a prerequisite for the firefighter 1 academy)

  • Fire 53 (Fire Behavior and Combustion)
  • Sign up for and successfully pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT).

  • Take any general education units towards your degree (for specific general education units, talk to a counselor)

  • Start building up volunteer experience (anything you volunteer your time for is highly looked upon by fire departments, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be fire or EMS related).

  • Start learning as much as you can about the fire service and the job of a firefighter. Visit your local fire stations and start talking with the firefighters to build contacts and learn more about firefighting as a career. Also, start visiting fire department websites to see how each fire department is unique and what they have to offer.

  • Start taking every firefighter examination you qualify for. Yes, you may qualify for some that only require you to be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or G.E.D. Start learning about the firefighter hiring process by taking the tests.

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