T Nation


So I’m in college right, but am beginning to believe I am heading in the wrong direction. (Just in terms of doing something that is going to make me happy for the rest of my life) I have always wanted to get into firefighting since I was a kid and am beginning to believe that this is something I would like to do for the long haul.

I am aware that the job is physically and mentally grueling, and the huge commitment that the job requires. However, I have no idea how to get started, so I have some questions for any firefighters out there: How do I get into a fire academy? Do they require any prerequisites? Is education required? Could you give me some insight into what goes on in a fire academy? Do you often have to take on a second job? Are major departments really only hiring veterans right now? (was told to me) Is it harder to get into a department in a big city? Do you find that new firefighters coming in are just doing so because they want to be heroes, or do most of them have their hearts truly implemented into the job? Sorry for the trouble guys, but I am just looking for a heads up on how to get started and what to fully expect. Throw in any advice you feel is warranted as well. Much thanks and appreciation.

go for it. if you think that’s what you gotta do to be happy then go for it and don’t look back. you only go around once, if your lucky. so do it right.

as for what other’s motivations are, i’m not sure. i’ve seen it both ways. it’s a pretty well paying job for a lot of no/low education type guys. that’s not to disparage it, it’s just what i’ve seen.

i know a couple firefighters. good life. good living. good family guys. it’s a real team enviroment, from what i’ve seen.

If you are in the US check out the Fire school in Texas. Its has one of the higher reputations of the schools in north america. The direct NFPA 1001 courses and other specialized courses related to the industry will help you get started.
I personally went to Fire etc. in Vermillion Alberta and a couple of years later and im currently in the middle of the hiring process.
See Ya

I am in the middle of the hiring process right now in the states. It seems that most departments/cities want you to be at least 18 years old, valid DL, Firefighter I/II, CPAT(candidate physical ability test), and EMT-B certified.

Some departments will require a Hazmat Awareness/Operations level certification as well. I did the Fire I/II and EMT-B courses at the local training center by way of the local community college. This process took 1 year. I was working full time and taking night classes at the time.

I have been told that you should expect the process to take ~2 years to complete. If you choose to go the EMT-P (paramedic) route it will take you a little longer and you will be a bit more poor as well, but can almost write your ticket for where you would like to go afterwards. I live in the suburbs of a major U.S. city and these are the things that I went through and I hope this helps you out with your possible new career choice. PM if you would like a bit more in depth explaination of the process.

Whoa. I’m going through the exact same thing right now.

Good luck with whatever path you decide on.

i too am shooting for the same job here in canada, goodluck man. Also look into some technical rescue courses (high angle, water, etc) they can only help.

Graduate college. WHile you are still in college, add an EMT course to your schedule. WHen you are an EMT, get a job for an ambulance company. This will give you a good idea as to the basics of the job, the job part of the job with none of the fun part.

THough in all fairness ambulance guy isn’t that bad of a gig, if you aren’t planning to make a career of being an EMT. Then if you really want to be a fireman, start taking every test you can afford to take. WHile you are testing if you still really want to get hired, get your paramedic. Being a private paramedic is a great gig and knocks out 90% of the competition for jobs in the public service.
Good LUck!

Finish college first. There’s no rule that you have to do something in your field, whether the job requires a degree or not. You’ll be glad you have it later - especially if you get hurt or burnout. In the meantime, take some anatomy and physiology and start training harder!

A good resource to check out would be the firehouse.com forums.

Also, do a web search for your local firehouses. They’ll probably have some of the info you’re looking for online. Some houses have a night where people interested in the FD can come and have their questions answered too.

I’m also very interested in this field! The on 24, off 48 sounds awesome & I could keep doing my tennis & fitness instruction. The pay would be sweet & I like the physical part & helping others.

My gf’s son just got hired starting at 39 thousand, took him 6 months of training. He starts in Jan. What’s typical pay for a noob?? And what & how often are the increases in pay, and how is the determined??

Also, WHEN CAN I EXPECT TO DRIVE THE FIRE TRUCK!?!?!? :slight_smile:

[quote]Split wrote:
i too am shooting for the same job here in canada, goodluck man. Also look into some technical rescue courses (high angle, water, etc) they can only help.[/quote]

So the more special courses you take & have under your belt, the more they’ll want you, better pay etc??

The extra courses will not help you to attain a higher rate of pay but definately up your chances of getting your foot in the door.
See Ya