How to Become a Firefighter
How long does it take to become a firefighter?
Becoming a firefighter is a journey that is different for everyone. Some people may get hired after just one test. For others, it can take up to 7-10 years to get hired at a fire department. Either way, there are many variables that come into play when going through the hiring process such as: when fire departments are hiring, what qualifications you have to begin with, if you are willing to relocate or not, and even macroeconomic conditions can play into getting hired.
There may be bumps along the path to becoming a firefighter. It is important for you to remain patient and keep a positive attitude. Sometimes it can take a while to find a fire department that is the right fit for you. Very few people get hired as a firefighter on their very first test. So keep applying and keep testing until you get hired at the department that is right for you.
Firefighter Jobs and Fire Departments Hiring
There is a lot to do once you decide to become a firefighter. It is important to keep tabs on what firefighter jobs are available and which fire departments are hiring. There are several services online that will notify you of job openings and the qualifications for those jobs. Most of the time you can apply right online if you meet the minimum requirements. Once you get your application in; it’s time to start preparing for the written test, physical agility test, and the interviews that will follow.
Fire departments hire in different cycles depending on the size of the department. Medium to large size departments might hire once or twice a year on a regular schedule. Where small departments may only hire once every few years. Once you know where, and for what type of fire department you want to work for, then find out what their hiring cycle is.
Firefighter Academy and Training
Once hired it is common to be required to attend a fire academy to complete initial firefighter training. These academies can run anywhere from 4 weeks up to as much as 20 weeks. It is important to have your personal affairs in order prior to attending the academy. Typically the firefighter academy is paid while attending, but it will be a major change in your lifestyle for the length of the academy. The academy will require your full attention and focus in order to be successful.
The new recruit academy is just the beginning of a long career filled with training. Firefighters have to train on a continual basis on all aspects of the job. In addition to maintaining CEUs for emergency medical technician licenses, firefighters have mandated training they must accomplish every year. Training is a part of the job, and it is what keeps your knowledge, skills, and abilities up to par once you get hired as a firefighter.