Firefighters are highly trained individuals who are skilled in controlling and putting out fires. They deal with emergency situations where lives, property or the environment is at risk of destruction.

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Should I Become a Firefighter?

Firefighters operate out of a fire station. While responding to emergency situations, they connect hoses to fire-hydrants to put out fires, get the situation under control and save lives or properties etc at risk. Most importantly, firefighters are required to be trained in providing first-aid and medical attention to the ones they rescue.

Education RequiredA postsecondary (non-degree) program or certificate
Major RequirementFire Science
License/CertificationAll firefighters must be certified as Emergency Medical Technicians
Experience/TrainingA few months of training at fire academies is provided to novice firefighters
Key SkillsCommunication, Compassion, Courage, Decision Making, Physical Strength and Stamina etc.
Annual Mean Salary (2022) –


Job Outlook (2021-2032)4%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020)

  • Education Required
  • Major Requirement
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-National
  • Job Outlook(2018-2028)
  • A postsecondary (non-degree) program or certificate
  • Fire Science
  • All firefighters must be certified as Emergency Medical Technicians
  • A few months of training at fire academies is provided to novice firefighters
  • Communication, Compassion, Courage, Decision Making, Physical Strength and Stamina etc.
  • $54,650(Firefighters)
  • 5% (As fast as average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)

Career Outlook

In 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 326,100 firefighters had been employed all over the US collectively. Moreover, the BLS predicted a 4% increase in employment level of firefighters between 2021 and 2031.

Steps to Become a Firefighter

Are you passionate about saving lives and rescuing people from dangerous situations? Do you have the grit and strength it takes to become a firefighter? If so, this guide is foryou! Follow these simple steps to work as a firefighter in the US.

CompleteRequired Education

To work as a firefighter, you must complete a Postsecondary degree in Fire Science. This program is offered by community or vocational colleges and technical institutions all over the US. Many well-reputed universities also offer this degree.For example,the University of Florida offers an online bachelor’s degree in Fire Science.

Volunteer as a Firefighter

After acquiring the right education, you can choose to volunteer as a firefighter for up to 6 months. This is beneficial in the long run because it helps you get proper and complete training to become familiar with the tool, procedures and codes of firefighting.

Clear the CPAT and Written Test

The Candidates’ Physical Ability Test is a standardized test which is used by most fire departments to determine a candidate’s physical abilities. In addition to this test, majority fire departments also require a written test. Candidates must pass both to be considered for employment.

Get Certified as an EMT

All future firefighters are required to be certified as Emergency Medical Technicians and some departments also require them to be certified as Paramedics. Both of these certifications are offered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter?

It may take you approximately 2 to 4 years to become a firefighter depending upon whether or not you choose to complete a college degree. It also depends on the type of certification you earn and from where or how much field experience you obtain.

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Firefighter?

All prospective candidates who are interested in working as firefighters in the US must:

  • At least be 18 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Have a valid driver’s license and be able to drive vehicles such as, ambulances and fire trucks etc.
  • Have completed the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Clear the required tests,
    • Written test(s)
    • Complete medical and psychological exam
    • Physical strength and endurance tests
  • Pass a comprehensive background test and clear the drug screening

How Much Can I Make as a Firefighter?

According to the data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Firefighters employed in the US earned an annual mean salary of $56,310 in 2020. On the other hand, California was listed as the highest paying state for this career with an annual mean salary of $78,350.

Below is a list of the highest paying states in the US for 2022.

Best Firefighters Training Programs

There are many reputable firefighter training programs available, each with their own strengths and specialties. Here are some of the best firefighter training programs:

National Fire Academy (NFA)

The NFA is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and offers a wide variety of training courses for firefighters at all levels. Their courses cover topics such as fire prevention, incident management, and leadership.

Firefighter I & II Training

This is a comprehensive training program designed for firefighters who are just starting out. It covers topics such as fire behavior, rescue techniques, hazardous materials, and more.

Pro Board Certification

The Pro Board Certification is an internationally recognized certification that demonstrates a firefighter’s competency in various aspects of firefighting. It is a rigorous training program that covers topics such as building construction, fire prevention, and firefighting tactics.

Fire Officer Training

Fire Officer training is designed for firefighters who are looking to advance their careers into management positions. The program covers topics such as leadership, budgeting, and resource management.

Incident Command System (ICS)

The ICS is a standardized approach to incident management that is used by firefighters and other emergency responders. It covers topics such as incident command, planning, and communication.

It’s important to note that different regions and departments may have their own training requirements, so it’s important to research the specific programs and certifications that are recognized in your area.

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