Graduation June 21, 2024 – Guest Speaker Ken West, President & CEO of HCA Florida JFK Hospital

10 Steps to Becoming a Firefighter

Find out 10 step to becoming a firefighter in your area!

  1. Volunteer for the trade. Most professional firefighters will tell you that their first experience in the role was as an unpaid volunteer. Speak to a local fire chief to learn about the department’s process for becoming a volunteer.
  2. Graduate high school or obtain GED. When you’re ready to take steps toward the profession, you’ll want to apply for schooling. The first step is your preliminary education from a traditional high school or equivalency program.
  3.  Obtain CPR training. Providing life-saving CPR may end up being a large part of your work as a firefighter, so this step is crucial to enrolling in training. You can obtain CPR education from the Red Cross, or check with your local fire or EMS station to see if they offer classes.
  4. Pass background check. This will likely be part of your educational enrollment process. It’s important that community service candidates have clear backgrounds free from serious convictions.
  5. Enroll and participate in fire science school. Once all the preliminary steps are taken, you may begin your education in fire science in an associate’s degree program! To learn more about the associate’s degree programs available at HCI, click here.
  6. Pass the Firefighter Physical Ability Test (PAT). This test is a task-oriented exercise that is comprised of various skill-testing stations, to be completed in a specific and purposeful order. This assesses each candidate’s physical fitness and capability to perform the job, and is administered prior to enrollment.
  7. Pass the Firefighter Written Exam. A significant part of the job involves following written and spoken instructions and communicating through writing with others on your squad and in the community. This test ensures you are able to perform in all facets of the job.
  8. Pass the Firefighter Oral Board Exam. This exam may come before or after the written portion, and will determine your ability to perform as a firefighter based on your personality, characteristics, composure, ethics, judgment, and responses to questions from professional firefighters.
  9. Get hired. With your new credentials, you can begin to take interviews and show fire chiefs how you are a valuable asset to their squad.
  10. Advance in your profession! Never stop seeking extra training, experience, and insight from colleagues in order to be the best firefighter you can be.
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