Firefighters are professionals who save people’s life and property by putting out fires. They use different equipment, like water hoses, water pumps, etc. to help people in different situations. Firefighters are also expected to clean and maintain the equipment they use.

Read this article and find out how to become a firefighter in California.

Should I Become a Firefighter in California?

  • Education Required
  • Major Requirement
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) National
  • Job Outlook (2018-28)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – California 
  • Postsecondary nondegree Award
  • Fire Science
  • All firefighters ought to have an EMT certification
  • On-the-job training
  • Problem-solving Skills, Decision-making Skills, Compassion, Physical Strength, Physical Stamina and Courage
  • $54,650
  • 5%
  • $84,370

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Firefighters perform various duties on the basis of a routine. They have to respond to emergencies and work throughout the year. These professionals wear helmets, breathing equipment and fire-resistant clothes before setting foot at the location of incident.

Career Outlook

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for firefighters will be witnessing a growth of 5% from 2018-2028. Although fire incidents and fatalities have decreased in recent years because of the improved building materials and codes, these professionals will still be needed in future. Firefighters will continue to deal with medical emergencies as well.

Steps to Become a Firefighter in California

Complete the Required Education

To become a firefighter, students have to gain a high school diploma or a GED. They are recommended to study subjects like writing, reading and mathematics.
Since these professionals are the first ones to deal with people who meet an accident, they are required to be trained medically as well. A firefighter is required to be certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Students may take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) course and get certified.

Obtain a Degree

Even though it is not mandatory, some aspiring firefighters obtain a college degree. Students either go for a 2-year associate’s degree or a 4-year bachelor’s program. These degrees are offered at universities and community colleges and teach courses, such as industrial fire safety, fire scene reconstruction, strategy and tactics, hazardous materials chemistry, building construction, wild land firefighter, etc.

Pass the Required Exams

In California, prospective firefighters have to pass the Candidates Physical Ability Test (CPAT). During this test, students’ physical ability and strength are tested. Most fire departments in California require students to pass the Firefighter Candidate Testing Center (FCTC) written west which is developed by the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (Cal-JAC).

Complete Training

Students have to go through a training program at a fire academy. During this program, they learn multiple skills and techniques to deal with an emergency situation. They learn theoretical concepts and get a chance to practice them as well. They also learn how to use various emergency equipment.

Advance Career

Firefighters who want to advance their career receive advanced training and education. Once they are experienced enough, they may get promoted to better positions. Candidates who seek to advance their careers should have a bachelor’s degree at least.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in California?

Getting a high school diploma or a GED is the first step to becoming a firefighter. Students have to get the required medical training and obtain an EMT certification. They also have to pass the required exams. Once they’ve completed the requirements, they can get enrolled in a fire academy and begin their on-the-job training.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Firefighter in California?

Following are the requirements to become a firefighter in California:

  • Fulfill the minimum age requirement
  • Obtain a high school diploma or a GED
  • Be a US citizen
  • Pass the required exams
  • Have a good moral character
  • Have California’s valid driver’s license
  • Have sound mental and physical health
  • Have an EMT certification

How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Firefighter in California?

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters working in California were getting an annual mean salary of $84,370 in 2019. As you can see, this salary is substantially higher than the annual national mean income of $54,650.