What Does It Take to Become a Firefighter?
Firefighting can be a very difficult and physically demanding job, as well as a most rewarding one. Prospective firefighters have a lot to consider before pursuing firefighting as a career. The following self-assessment questions will help you determine if this career is the right one for you.
|Do you have a high school diploma or GED?||Yes or No|
|Are you between the ages of 18 and 29?||Yes or No|
|Are you in excellent physical condition?||Yes or No|
|Could you pass a background check and drug screening?||Yes or No|
|Do you enjoy helping others?||Yes or No|
|Are you a certified EMT or working toward certification?||Yes or No|
|Are you able to stay calm and focused in emergency situations?||Yes or No|
|Do you work well with others?||Yes or No|
|Can you handle long shifts on a regular basis?||Yes or No|
|Are you mechanically skilled?||Yes or No|
Why Are These Things Important to Becoming a Firefighter?
Do you have a high school diploma or GED?
A high school diploma or GED is a requirement for most, if not all, fire departments in the U.S.
Are you between the ages of 18 and 29?
Age requirements for becoming a firefighter vary by department, but generally, firefighter trainees should be at least 18 years of age and no older than 30.
Are you in excellent physical condition?
In order to complete the duties of the job, firefighters must be in excellent shape and must be able to pass a medical check and grueling physical examinations.
Could you pass a background check and drug screening?
Passing a thorough background check and drug screening is a requirement of most, if not all, departments. You'll need to be prepared to obtain any necessary documentation to complete your application.
Do you enjoy helping others?
Firefighting is a service career, so having a willingness to help others is essential to doing your job well.
Are you a certified EMT or are you working toward certification?
Firefighters need to be certified as EMTs. Getting this certification early will put you ahead of the game.
Are you able to stay calm and focused in emergency situations?
As a firefighter, you will need to be mentally and physically prepared to handle a variety of emergency situations. You'll need to be able to think quickly, clearly and decisively, relying on your training and your fellow firefighters, to find solutions.
Do you work well with others?
Firefighters need to be able to work well together to meet the challenges of their job. You also need to be able to engage regularly with the public to aid them with their emergencies and instruct them on fire prevention.
Can you handle long shifts on a regular basis?
The 9 to 5 work day doesn't exactly apply to the life of a firefighter. Anyone who wants to become a firefighter needs to be prepared to be on duty for as many as 24 hours at a time.
Are you mechanically skilled?
Mechanical knowledge is important in firefighting. You'll need to be able to use various pieces of equipment in your work and use your mechanical know-how to solve a variety of problems.
Is Firefighting For You?
If you found yourself answering yes to the majority of the above questions, you may have found the right career for you. For those dedicated and able enough to meet the demands of the job, there is great opportunity for advancement in the field, including such careers as engineer, captain, and fire chief.