Depending on where you plan to work, firefighter requirements will vary. However, for the most part you will have to undergo similar firefighter requirements in order to become a fireman.
Let’s look at 2 different state requirements to become a firefighter. We’ll then summarize what these 2 states have in common, so you’ll have a reasonable idea of what to expect across the country.
Let us look at cities in California and Texas for our firefighter requirements.
Firefighter Requirements – Los Angeles, California
- Maintain a current passing score on the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)
- Be at least 18 years of age at time of submitting the application
- High school diploma, G.E.D. equivalent, California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) Certificate
- Valid California Driver’s license. And once hired obtain a firefighter’s Class B license
- In excellent health, and not limited in their ability to do the physical tasks involved
- Be non-smokers and United States Citizens
And I’m not even including background checks, written test, interview, medical and psychological evaluations.
Fireman requirements – San Antonio, Texas
1. To be at least 19 years of age, but no older than 34 by the time they take the test.
2. Do not have any of the following items on their record:
a. Conviction of a felony or other crime involving moral turpitude.
b. Any discharge from the Armed Forces other than honorable discharge (Uncharacterized and Entry Level discharges may be accepted on individual basis).
c. Two or more traffic violation convictions within the 12 months preceding the date of taking the written examination.
d. Conviction of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or its equivalent within the 24 months preceding the date of taking the written examination.
e. Conviction of a Driving While Intoxicated, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, or the equivalent within the 5 years preceding the date of taking the written examination.
3. The applicant’s academic records must reflect a minimum overall grade point average of “C” or its numerical equivalent. In the event an applicant’s high school grade point average is below this standard, or the applicant presents a G.E.D. certificate, the applicant must have attended an accredited college or university, completed at least twelve (12) semester hours, and maintained a minimum grade point average of a “C” or its numerical equivalent.
4. Must be a high school graduate or its equivalent (GED).
5. Applicants must be able to read, write, and speak in the English language.
6. Must have completed the Hepatitis B vaccine series prior to their date of entry into the Fire Training Academy.
And this is just the preliminary phase
Putting It All Together
As you can see in order to pass the varying degrees of firefighter requirements it is necessary to have a clean history. You will be asked to pass an initial background check, which weeds out any checkered pasts. You’ll then be asked to pass written, medical and psychological tests, and interviews, along with other requirements depending on where you serve.
The road to becoming a full fledged firefighter is difficult, but you’ll want to give yourself every advantage to succeed. If you know that you want to be a firefighter, then consider the following tips very closely.
- Obtain a good educational foundation in reading, writing and mathematics.
- Although not required, you may be more competitive if you have taken some of these college classes: First Responder, Emergency Medical Technician, Wildland Fire Control, Introduction to Fire Technology, Fire Science, or Fire Officer classes (Fire Command, Fire Investigation, Fire Prevention, Fire Instructor, Fire Management).
- In addition to taking specialized college classes, take general education classes to improve your skills, and take business or related courses to enhance your competitiveness for management positions.
- Participate in aerobic conditioning and weight training.
- Become a volunteer firefighter to help you decide if this is the career for you, and to give you job-related experience.
These firefighter requirements should see you with a good firefighting position in no time.