The ‘Tar Heel State’ offers some tremendous career opportunities for firefighters. If you are passionate about serving your community, then make sure you read this comprehensive guide on how to become a firefighter in North Carolina. This article will not only discuss the basic requirements for firefighters but will also mention the hiring and screening procedures.

Should I Become a Firefighter in North Carolina?

Firefighting is a risky profession, which requires endurance, strength, and stamina. If you have these qualities in you, then you might have a good chance of excelling in the firefighting profession.

In order to become a firefighter in the U.S., candidates are expected to meet a range of training, certification, and education requirements. These are mentioned in the table below.

  • Education Required
  • Training
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Key Skills/Qualities
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National
  • Job Outlook (2018-28)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – North Carolina
  • High School Diploma or a Postsecondary nondegree Award
  • On-the-job training
  • Each state has its own certification criteria.
  • Desirable traits include courage, physical stamina, communication skills, and decision making skills.
  • $54,650
  • 5%
  • $34,110

Sources: O*NET OnLine and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

As per the data shared by BLS, the career outlook for firefighters in the U.S. is positive. These professionals are expected to enjoy high growth and great salary prospects in the coming years. Forecasts show that the employment opportunities for firefighters will grow by 5% from 2018 to 2028.

Steps to Become a Firefighter in North Carolina

This section will help you figure out how to become a firefighter in North Carolina. The guidelines provided below will help you prepare for the hiring process.

Obtain the Required Qualifications

In order to be eligible to work as a firefighter in North Carolina, you will have to get a GED or a high school diploma. Acquiring college-level education is not mandatory, but earning an advanced 2-year long Associate’s degree in Fire Science or a related field is definitely recommended.

Apply for the Firefighting Position

After obtaining the educational credentials, you should start looking for vacant positions. If there is a position available, you should check the eligibility requirements and apply for the job. If you are shortlisted, you will be asked to take the Candidate Written Aptitude Test and the Physical Agility Test.

Take Additional Tests

Employment as a firefighter is also dependent on successful results of an interview, a background check, and a thorough medical exam. After passing the pre-employment tests and screenings, you will be sent to the fire academy to complete an intensive training program.

Complete the Training Program

Recruits are usually paid throughout the training period, which takes several months to complete. In some cities, books and tuition are fully funded by the fire departments. After passing the training course, you will become eligible to start working as a professional firefighter.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in North Carolina?

The procedure of becoming a firefighter is quite lengthy. You will be expected to complete high school, after which you can earn a 2-year long Associate’s degree or a 4-year long Bachelor’s program in Fire Science.
After getting done with the degrees, you will have to pass a battery of tests, such as a physical test, written exam, interview, medical examination, and a background test. After being hired as a firefighter, you will have to spend several months under training at the Fire Academy.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Firefighter in North Carolina?

In order to start a firefighting career in North Carolina, applicants are required to fulfill the criteria mentioned below.
The applicant must:

  • Be a high school graduate.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Be in good physical condition.
  • Meet high character standards.

The age requirements usually vary within the state; for example, the City of Wilmington Fire Department requires applicants to be at least 19 years old whereas the City of Durham’s Fire Department requires candidates to be at least 18 years old. Moreover, the certification requirements might also vary between different departments, so you should check them before applying.

How Much Does a Firefighter Earn in North Carolina?

Occupational statistics published by BLS show that the annual mean pay of Firefighters in North Carolina was $34,110 in 2019.