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How to Become a Firefighter

Updated on September 14, 2015

How to Become a Firefighter

Would you like to know how to become a firefighter? Becoming a firefighter can be a gratifying and exciting career; here you will find what it takes to become one, the necessary training and education requirements and what aspects to consider before choosing this particular job.

What exactly does a firefighter do? The job of a firefighter is to search, rescue and to help resolve disastrous situations. Besides putting out fires and rescuing people from treacherous conditions, other jobs of firefighters include assisting other personnel during automobile accidents, plant explosions, and aiding in the clean up of hazardous waste spillage --- they even assist after terrorist attacks.

Firefighter Careers Can Pose Dangerous Work Conditions

Is Becoming a Firefighter Right for You?

Becoming a firefighter can be a rewarding experience when lives are saved from an unfortunate event; however, this type of career also comes with several dangers and negative aspects to consider before pursuing this type of job. As a firefighter, your life may be in danger while rescuing individuals. If you become trapped inside, you may also become a causality of a burning building. This type of career also poses less desirable hours for work. You may be required to work anywhere from 12 to 48 hours straight per shift --- typically shift hours are from ten to twenty four hours. Another consideration is that you will not be able to have holidays and other important dates off like you would with a traditional 9 to 5 job. You may also be called to assist in auto accidents, plant explosions or other disastrous events and be face to face with individuals who are badly injured, burned or deceased on arrival. Seeing individuals in horrific conditions can be mind disturbing and play an emotional toll; therefore, you must consider this negative aspect of a firefighter career as well before making the commitment. Lastly, you may also have to make choices where animals are left behind or to get out of burning building while victims are still inside due to an out of control fire. This can be terribly conflicting for someone that will have to forever deal with certain choices that were made during a fire call.

Firefighter Training is Necessary So That You Know How to Handle Equipment and Situations

Education and Requirements Needed to Become a Paid Firefighter

To simply become a volunteer firefighter, there are currently no educational requirements. However, some departments generally will require volunteers to take a CPR class and may also require additional training courses. To become a paid firefighter is a different story. Competition can be fierce when becoming a firefighter and getting hired. As a result, you should attend a college or university that offers a degree in fire science to increase your chances of finding employment opportunities in the future. Keep in mind that some areas will require prior experience as a firefighter before an individual is allowed into a program. As a result, you should volunteer at a nearby fire station for a period of six months to a year before making a career commitment. The hands on experience will also assist you in determining if a firefighter career is right for you before you invest time and money into an education. You will also be required to be in physical good shape. Your strength and stamina will be tested. See the second video below on this page to hear a firefighter discuss local and state requirements and how you can find out what you need to do for the area that you live in to become a firefighter.

Firefighter Courses Will Teach You How to Get Fires Under Control

Firefighter Fire Science Degree and Education Information

A fire science degree will benefit you in a career of firefighting. You will be taught how to properly use tools --- the “jaws of life,” chainsaws, fire hoses and even extinguishers. You will be also taught what the differences are between types of fires and how to get them under control. When the fire is put out, you will learn how fires are investigated to determine the cause and how to properly write up a report for the incident. Firefighters will sometimes come across hazardous materials; as a result, you will be properly trained on how to identify potentially dangerous materials and how to deal with a situation where they must be dealt with. Lastly, you will also be taught how to assist victims of fire and accidents --- and training to revive victims suffering from trauma, shock, injury or those who were overcome by smoke until emergency transportation can assist or take victims to a nearby hospital. The duration of time it takes to receive proper training and to receive a fire science degree will vary and depend on a school’s program. Some institutions only issue certifications; where as most issue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in fire science. Expect schooling for an associate’s degree to take roughly two years --- four years for a bachelor’s degree. Other training options may include going to a firefighting academy or landing an apprenticeship.

How to Become a Firefighter Information


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