Firefighters are first responders any time there is a burning building anywhere in New Jersey. Other than putting out the fire, they get people out of harm’s way and provide emergency medical attention to those who need it.

Most fire service personnel are qualified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). This is why they are also sometimes called Firefighter EMTs. The latest records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that The Garden State had nearly 6,000 firefighters in 2019. If you want to join their ranks in the coming years, then this piece on how to become a firefighter in New Jersey is definitely for you.

Should I Become a Firefighter in New Jersey?

  • Education
  • Area of Study
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National
  • Job Outlook (2018-28)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – New Jersey
  • High School Diploma / General Educational Development (GED) Certificate
  • Fire Engineering, Fire Science, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Management, etc.
  • Required
  • Required
  • Critical Thinking, Public Safety, and Security, Operation Monitoring and Control, Problem Sensitivity, Multi-Limb Coordination, Arm-Hand Steadiness, Communication, Oral and Written Comprehension, Active Listening, Static Strength.
  • $54,650
  • 5%
  • $80,890

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

There are obvious health and safety concerns associated with entering buildings on fire. As a result, physical fitness is one of the most important requirements for becoming a firefighter. The work hours often rotate based on assigned shifts but most fire service personnel have to be on call 24/7.

Career Outlook

Jobs for firefighters are likely to increase by 5% between 2018 and 2028. Similar growth is expected in other sectors during this period. While the safety standards and sophistication levels of buildings have steadily improved over time, firefighters would still have an important role to play when it comes to dealing with unforeseen/sudden instances of fire.

Steps to Become a Firefighter in New Jersey

Take the following steps to begin a rewarding career as a firefighter in New Jersey.

Fulfill the Educational Requirements

The only binding educational requirement for becoming a New Jersey firefighter is getting a High School Diploma or GED (General Educational Development) Certificate. Of course, having higher educational credentials will give you an edge over your peers.
To that end, there are short-term (6 months to 1 year) Certificate and Diploma programs available in Fire Science, Fire Management, etc. For more in-depth learning, you can consider the following long-term options.

  • Associate of Science in Fire Science (2 years)
  • Bachelor of Science in Fire Engineering (4 years)

Pursue Employment with Your Local/State Fire Service

After attaining the needed education, you can start pursuing fire service employment.

Clear the Written Test

This is normally the first assessment carried out by most New Jersey fire departments. It tests applicants on basic reading, listening, problem-solving, analytical, and mathematical abilities.

Demonstrate Your Physical Prowess

Following the written exam, you will undergo physical testing. Various New Jersey fire units accept CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) scores.

Qualify the Medical Exam and Background Investigation

After the physical test, you need to pass the medical exam and background investigation. You must also get the Firefighter Medical Clearance and Disclaimer of Liability form filled by a doctor. This is to ensure you can safely train and work as a firefighter.

Fire Academy Training

Training at the fire academy usually lasts for 5 to 6 months. Upon its successful completion, you can start your career as a firefighter.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in New Jersey?

If you plan on joining a fire department straight out of high school, then you will need less than 1 year. On the other hand, obtaining any sort of post-secondary education means that you may need between 1 and 5 years, depending on your chosen degree/certificate/diploma program.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Firefighter in New Jersey?

To become a firefighter in New Jersey, you need to meet the criteria outlined below.

  • Must be 18 years old at least.
  • Obtain a High School Diploma or GED Certificate.
  • Have a valid New Jersey driving license.
  • Should not have any kind of criminal record.
  • Undergo and complete firefighter training.

How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Firefighter in New Jersey?

In 2020, firefighters in New Jersey had an annual mean wage of $86,880. This is according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.