How To Become a Professional Firefighter
Most parents and other family members try to push college as the only option for teens to pursue these days, but honestly, college isn’t suitable for everyone. The worst part is finding out that college wasn’t the right choice for you after the fact is a costly mistake to make. That’s why we want to tell you that taking a standard job after high school is a completely fine course of action.
While we want to encourage you to forge your own path, our focus today is on becoming a firefighter. It is a great choice for teens since you have to be young to join the profession. However, you can’t simply walk into your local fire department and get the job. There are certain requirements for becoming one, which is why we’re bringing you our guide on how to become a professional firefighter.
Achieving Basic Requirements
As long as you’re in the age range of 18 to 30, have a valid driver’s license, and your high school diploma, you’ll be all set for the basic requirements of becoming a firefighter. These do vary slightly from state to state, though, but since you’re all still young, there shouldn’t be anything holding you back.
While it’s not a requirement, it’s also a good idea to go into the interview prepared with questions about the specifics of the job and knowledge on the dangers you’ll encounter.
Getting Into Shape
While some fire departments have programs to help you get into shape so you can fight fires, it’s a good idea to come in prepared. The less work the department needs to do to whip you into shape, the higher your chances are of getting hired.
Passing the Tests
Physical tests are the main reason why getting into shape beforehand is vital. They will test things such as how far you can run in a specific amount of time, how fast you can climb, and how much weight you can carry.
They’re not all physicality-based tests, though. Some tests are written. The main one you’ll likely be required to take is the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), which focuses on spatial awareness, logic and reasoning, reading comprehension, and memory.
Becoming an EMT
Not all fire departments require this step, but some of them prefer that you have your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license before you work for them. This is necessary since you will be on the front lines saving lives, and someone might need you to assist them in keeping a victim breathing.
Going To a Firefighter Academy
The requirements don’t stop once you’re hired. You’ll likely get sent to a firefighter academy, where they will conduct formal training that teaches you everything you’ll need to know once you’re on the job. There will be a mix of classroom and hands-on work to accommodate all forms of learning.
Pursuing It Long-Term
Our final tip on how to become a professional firefighter focuses on the professional aspect. As we mentioned earlier, standard firefighters can only stay in the role until around the age of 30.
If you want this to be your lifelong career, you’ll need to follow up with some more formal education so you can become a paramedic or the firefighter chief. Some departments have programs available to help you pursue the education required, so make sure you find a location that will help you do that.