Step-By-Step Guide to Becoming a Career Firefighter
Becoming a firefighter is a significant and deliberate undertaking, but for those who feel the call toward this profession, no other line of work will do.
Firefighters care for, protect, and provide a crucial service to the members of their community. Stepping into the role takes dedication, time, training, and education, but the rewards reaped by a career of helping others make each stage of the process worth it.
How to Become a Career Firefighter
To be a professional, career firefighter, the journey is more intensive than that of a volunteer firefighter.
Before starting any advanced steps of the process, prospects should:
● be a U.S. citizen and legally eligible to work in the U.S.
● be at least 18 years old
● have a high school diploma or GED
● pass vision and physical fitness test
● have a clean driving record and valid driver’s license
● be free of misdemeanor and felony convictions
Next, future firefighters must obtain emergency medical services training to deliver on-the-scene care. You’ll need an EMT-Basic certification, which you can obtain with a diploma program at HCI. EMT-B certification allows you to provide life-saving medical care to victims of trauma in the event that paramedics arrive after firefighters, or that additional hands-on medical assistance is needed at a particular scene.
The second stage of obtaining firefighter credentials is the Firefighter II certification. At HCI, an associate’s degree in fire science grants successful students the Firefighter I and II certifications. This path of study meets the Firefighter Minimum Standards, which is required to take the state board exam. It includes 398 hours of education and training.
Once all the appropriate training is completed, candidates will take the test for a Florida Bureau of Fire Standards & Training license (BFST). The test is administered by Pearson Vue and may be taken a total of three times if a candidate is unsuccessful on the first effort.
After receiving full licensing and certification, hopeful firefighters must maintain their credentials with refresher courses if they do not go to work in the field.