Become a Professional Firefighter in Florida
Emergency and first responders are integral to any city or state, and the men and women who step into these essential roles are truly important threads in the fabric of their community.
This includes and sometimes especially refers to professional firefighters, who work round the clock to control and contain fires, respond to fire-related and other emergency scenarios, and save and protect lives in their communities.
Professional firefighters often work non-traditional schedules, typically in long shifts up to 24 hours each, and well over 40 hours per week. Depending on the station’s location and community size, most firefighters spend many hours and overnights at the firehouse when not responding to calls.
What you Need to Become a Florida Firefighter
Before beginning a firefighter education and training program, candidates must:
● Be a U.S. citizen and legally eligible to work in the U.S.
● Be at least 18 years of age
● Have a high school diploma or equivalent
● Pass vision and physical fitness examinations
● Have a clean driving record and valid driver’s license
● Be free of misdemeanor and felony convictions
Volunteer firefighters and professional firefighters have different responsibilities in their roles, so naturally, professional firefighters must complete a more rigorous and extensive training and education program.
To become a professional firefighter, students must obtain a Firefighter II certificate as well as an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT-B) certificate, as career firefighters may be required to offer basic emergency medical care at a scene. The Firefighter II certificate program is comprised of two curriculums. The first consists of 206 hours and the second is an additional 192, for a total of 398 training and education hours. Candidates must also pass a comprehensive test issued by the Bureau of Fire Standards and Training, Division of State Fire Marshall.
After these requirements are met, candidates can enrich their education and become advanced in their firefighting careers with an associates degree in fire science, with a program such as the one offered by HCI. This education allows candidates to pursue upward mobility toward such positions as fire chief, fire inspector, and prevention specialist.