Florida Firefighter Certification
Becoming a professional or volunteer firefighter in the state of Florida is a multi-layered and tiered process, with several steps and requirements.
Because the career is so key to the infrastructure of cities and towns, and because firefighters are so essential to public safety, these various steps and processes are in place to protect both the firefighter him or herself as well as the community he or she serves.
Becoming a firefighter is a sound investment in your future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay to firefighters in 2014 was more than $45,000 per year, and the 10-year job outlook was on pace with noted averages.
Training to Become a Firefighter
Training to become a firefighter begins outside of the traditional classroom. Before enrolling in a training program, candidates must be 18 or older and have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent. They must be able to pass basic physical and vision tests, have valid driver’s licenses, and no misdemeanor or felony convictions.
The Bureau of Firefighter Standards and Training (BFST), Division of State Fire Marshall standardizes the training required to become a firefighter. The “Minimum Standards Course,” upon completion of which candidates are granted the Firefighter II certificate, is required for anyone in want of a position as a professional firefighter in the state of Florida.
The course is separated into two curriculums, Firefighter I and Firefighter II. Throughout the course of these two programs, students will obtain all the fundamentals necessary to operate as a responsible and safe firefighter. The first portion consists of a minimum 206 hours; the second is another 192 hours, for a total of 398 hours of training.
In the state of Florida, there are roughly 42 Certified Training Center Programs regulated by the BFST where future firefighters may receive training and take the Standards Course Exam. Applicants who are unsuccessful on the first attempt may take the test one additional time before disqualification.
Certificate Retention as a Firefighter
A large part of professional firefighting is on-the-job training and experience. Therefore, if four years of unemployment as a firefighter pass since date of certification or last employment, firefighters must take a minimum 40-hour refresher course or retake and pass the Standards Course Exam.