5 Steps to Setting Goals As You Begin Your Firefighter Career Journey

Set goals and become a firefighter

One way to make your firefighter interview prep more efficient, is to set study goals for yourself that are actually achievable. Obviously the overall goal is to get hired at a fire department but it will take more than that to actually do so. 


  1. Know What You Need to Accomplish & Break it Down

Before you can set study goals, you need to figure out and procure all of the required reading materials. Once you know what information you are expected to know or what you need to do for your firefighter hiring process you can start creating your goals from there. Breakdown the steps or tasks that need to be completed so you know what needs to be accomplished. Then factor in that reading and/or writing is not all you will have to do to prepare for the firefighter hiring process. You may need to create study guides, flashcards, do online practice tests and so on. Obviously the big goal is to pass the firefighter entry exam and reach an interview, but there are a lot of smaller goals that will need to be reached along the way for that to happen. 

  1. Long Term vs. Short Term 

Separate out long term and short term goals. Long term goal: finish a specific textbook by a specific date. Short term goals: finish a chapter in one study session and answer all of the questions at the beginning of the chapter and the end of the chapter, or go through your flashcards four times and so on. You will want to make your long term goals before you even begin preparing and the short term study goals as you go. The short term goals will likely change periodically because nobody is perfect and sometimes you may not reach said goals and sometimes you may go beyond the goals. Your long term goals may change as well and that’s okay. If you haven’t cracked a textbook or practiced an interview in a while it may take you longer to get through one than you thought or it may take less time. 


  1. Actually Schedule It

Your goals should be tangible things, such as a date you want to finish all your textbook reading and start doing online practice tests. Or the dates and times of your weekly study sessions. If you write down in your phone calendar or in an actual calendar when you want to hit certain study milestones, you are much more likely to do so. Doing this makes your goals tangible, you can see what needs to be done. This will also help keep you organized and moving forward with your studying. It is also a mental boost to cross something off your list as you reach each goal, and is a way to track your progress. 


  1. Keep Them Reasonable

The biggest way to become disappointed in yourself as you prepare for your firefighter hiring process journey is by setting unrealistic goals. Accomplishing a goal can be such a positive thing, but not reaching your goal can be disheartening. As you are setting your goals just be honest with yourself about what you realistically can accomplish in a given amount of time to avoid disappointment. Remember, there is nothing wrong with not reaching a goal or changing your goals as you learn about yourself and your study habits. The big goal is getting hired by a fire department, these little goals will just help you get there. 


  1. Hold Yourself Accountable

The hardest part of reaching any goal is accountability. I’m sure some people know you are trying to get hired as a firefighter in the future but that’s about it. You need to do whatever it takes to hold yourself accountable to meet your goals. You could form a study team with other people trying to get hired by a fire department and share your goals with each other and check in to make sure everybody is keeping up. You could get a white board in your house with your weekly goals so that your roommate, spouse, kids, or just you can see if you are meeting your goals. Taking the firefighter entry exam is a solo task, but don’t be afraid to ask your support team to help you stay on top of your studies if you have trouble doing it alone. 


The Takeaway

No one is responsible for you getting hired as a firefighter but you. Do yourself a favor and make some study goals before you even begin preparing for your entry test and firefighter interview. Having study goals will keep you accountable and on top of the work you need to do to ultimately get the job of your dreams.