T Nation

Becoming a Firefighter


I want to become a firefighter. I'm 16 so I have lots of time. I've been reading about stuff like fire academy, getting a fire degree, EMT training, and the department hiring process(written exam, agility test, medical, interview). But I'm not sure of the order of everything.

Is it like this?
1)earn a degree(i plan on getting one on fire science at UCLA after transferring from FJC)
2)earn EMT certified
3)go through the department hiring process
4)after getting accepted by a department, go to fire academy
5)earn badge after fire academy completion


hey im on my way to becoming a firefighte as well, you live in the US and i live in Canada so its probably completely different for us, but i went through the recruitment and passed all 11 stages, where at each stage people were cut, and i have recently applied to go to fireschool for which i actually have to go for an interview for in about an hour than i am put on an eligibility list and wait to be hired.

best of luck to you


Average guy… Im a professional firefighter/paramedic in Illinois. I can tell you that it is the GREATEST job in the world. Getting hired is like hitting the lottery. I was a soldier and worked in law enforcement before before becoming a fireman and there are times that I look back and wish someone would have told me abount this profession at your age (i was 31 at date of hire).

My advice to you at your age is to see if any departments around you have an explorer program you can participate in (its like being a junior firefighter). See if there are any volunteer departments around you that you can work with. The time commitment is usually reasonable and when interviewing for a paid department i think it says something that you volunteered your time for free.

Also go to your local fire station and talk to the guys. See what the job entails, ask their advice. Call every human resorce dept. of every city you may want to work and ask for a testing packet(then you will know the qualifications). Hope this helps.

Any other questions, just ask. P.S. my hiring steps were 1. make it through the hiring process (only 19 out of 400 passed every step)2. complete fire academy and emt school 3. make it through my year of being a probie (get badge). 4. Get paramedic license(3 semesters of college and clinical time).