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From Volunteer Firefighter to Fire Officer I

From Volunteer Firefighter to Fire Officer I

Maybe you have been a volunteer firefighter for years. Or, maybe you wanted to find out if firefighting was for you. Volunteer firefighters can become career firefighters. You can go from volunteer firefighter to Fire Officer I, and here is how.

Volunteer firefighters take similar rigorous training courses as career firefighters. The main difference is that these firefighters earn a Volunteer Firefighter certification instead of a Firefighter certification.

Steps to Become a Fire Officer I

If you want to go from volunteer firefighter to Fire Officer I, this is what you will need to do:

  • Talk to the firehouse. Find out what the additional requirements are for becoming a paid, career firefighter. Ask about application deadlines and where you should get your physical tests done.
  • Take the firefighter physical test. Firefighting is a physically demanding job. While some accommodations can be made for firefighters of all abilities, there are still certain physical standards that must be met for the health and safety of everyone in the fire department.
  • Get certified as an EMT or Paramedic. All firefighters must have an EMT or Paramedic certification. Take a certification course and pass the exam to meet this requirement.
  • Complete additional required training. You may need to complete additional training as a firefighter before you can take the firefighting certification exam.
  • Become a certified firefighter. Next, you will want to become a paid firefighter. This is the first step toward becoming a Fire Officer I. Apply by the deadline at the fire department.
  • Earn your AS in Fire Science. HCI’s Fire Science degree program prepares certified firefighters for Fire Officer I certification, as well as other roles within the fire service.


So, if you want to go from volunteer firefighter to Fire Officer I, you first need to become a paid firefighter. That means getting an EMT certification and completing other requirements. Then you need to become trained for Fire Officer I and take the certification exam for that.

Show your dedication to the fire service by treating your volunteer firefighting position as if you were already hired. Continue to work hard and meet the requirements, and look forward to a career as a Fire Officer I.

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