Hey guys, whats up?

First off, I'm 17 and still in highschool. Secondly I don't know all of what I need to get taken care of to become a firefighter. Everyone I know that I've asked says "Go take a course at the community college, thats all you can do". I plan on dual enrolling soon if they let you take the course before you graduate highschool. Hopfully they do because I want to start as soon as I graduate. But, I'm thinking theres alot more to it than just taking a course at the college. So I came here to hopfully get a thorough and complete list of what I need to do.

Thanks in advance for any info guys.

God bless,

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My husband took his firefighter/EMT-Basic class while he was still in high school so I know it can be done. It will depend on the school rules. For fire class you will need gear. You can buy your own gear if you want but it is going to cost a lot. If you are going to buy your own I would suggest looking on ebay just use common sense as you would with any online buying. I know a lot of people that talk to different fire dept. and get one of them to loan the gear or rent it. You will have to find out from the school if they provide the SCBA or if you have to provide that as well. My best advise for you would be to go talk to the school/teacher of the fire course and find out from them if they will let you in the class before you are 18/graduated and if so what supplies you will need. Good Luck
Becoming a paid firefighter is increasingly getting difficult. First off, you need to sit down and look around you to see who has a paid fire department. Once you have achieved a listing of whom has paid fire departments, its time for research. You can start by calling or stopping by these fire departments to see what the basic need to become hired is. Some companies will not hire unless you have a EMT- B or Cardiac License. Some won't hire you unless you have some fire experience. Some companies will train you for emt, cardiac or paramedic. It all depends on who your applying to and their policy. Doing your homework now greatly increases your chances to becoming a career firefighter in the future.
With that being said, I am 28 years old, and have a lot of certifications. The departments on here have firefighters who have a stranglehold on the department, and don't want out. The positions are few and far between, and when they hire 6 people, they can have up to 3000 applicants for those 6 positions. Join a volunteer firehouse if there is one around you, and start getting fire education and training. A good dose of professional training, and also hands on training will make you a potential candidate for a career job.

Be well, and stay safe future brother, keep the faith!!

Michael S. Deniger Sr
This is not necessarily true. Again, call to the companies you are most interested in, and base it off of what they require. The city of Providence will put you through the cardiac class whether you are a cardiac or not. You can save yourself the money and aggrivation ahead of time by doing research
First FINISH HIGH SCHOOL thats a big plus, get in shape if your not as this is a very physically demanding job. Some college courses will definitly help,but the most important thing is desire if its in your heart and soul its not something that you just want to do, its a calling( Its that burning desire within your very being to do the best you can to preserve life and property of your fellow humanbeing)be prepared for the most fulfilling thing you have ever experienced in your life
Hey guys, Riley, all of these guys have some important points and they are all correct in some way or another. There are several ways into the fire service as they have stated. FIRST, graduate hight school like was already mentioned before. If there is a volunteer deptarment near you i would suggest that you join if you have the time to put forth while your in high school. There is no substitution for experience whether you are 17 or have been in the service for 20 yrs. I know alot of career guys who hate the volly's but it sad that most of them, at least 75% of them started there. A college degree in fire science is a huge plus and is greatly appreciated during the resume stage, it will grab thier attention. I have a Business degree as well as a Fire Science degree. Don't limit yourself to the possiblilities that might lie ahead of you. Start putting in your resume now as well, it never hurts to put your name out there and the more you resume builds every time they hire, the more impressed they should be (whomever it might be that's hiring.) And just remember, you don't always have to go to a college near you. Many colleges now offer an online degree. Also don't expect to get into a career position right away. It may take several years even after you have your degree but you must keep positive always. Also, like mentioned before, the fire service isn't just about fire anymore. EMTB is almost a prerequisite as well all over the country, depending on where you get that, it may take several more months. A positive attitude about everything is were it starts at the moment though. Keep your head up, and if this is your calling like kevin said earlier, it will happen. Work strong, Live strong, Win strong.

I agree with the others who recommend you join up with a volunteer department near you first. See if you like it, and after a few years (when the glamour has worn off) if you still think you would like to do it as a career, you will have a better understanding of what you're getting into.

You may not be able to do much of anything until you've turned 18 but that's probably only a few months away. In our department people have to be 18 to be a full-fledged firefighter without restrictions.
I'll be 18 in 6 months. I've always wanted to do 2 things for sure. Be a doctor, and fight fires. I figure since fire fighting is a 1 day on 2 days off (or 1 day on 3 days off in some places) that I can do both in my life. Firefighting while in college. Doctor after I graduate. Firefighting will also help pay for Med. school so that's another plus. Theres only 1 volunteer dept. near me and I'd rather not spend my time there if it could be spent on the EMT-basic and NFPA firefighter 1 mentioned above.

What I understand is that I have to go talk to the guys at the firehouse and see whats required then go talk to the school and see if I can enroll for the classes while still in highschool...
Wait a mintue, you do sound like volunteering isn't worth your time. The majority of paid firefighters started out as volunteers not to mention that there are more volunteer firefighters then there are paid. You should start out volunteering you sound like you don't really want to be a true firefighter anyway. What makes you think that you are going to get on a paid department after you get your fire training? Fire jobs are few and far between and when departments are hiring it is a few spots like maybe 6 and there are upwards of 3000 people that apply. There are alot of departments that give you extra points for the number of years that you have been in fire service. I promise you that you are going to be going against career firefighters that will have a lot more experience then you will and the departments are going to look at them long before you. I think you need to look into the process of hiring for a firefighter job before you go any more forward. It sounds like to me you better figure out which thing you want to do in life. Firefighting isn't just something to do while you go to college for something else.
You can also contact the fire chief and see what age u have to be to become a cadet and learn that is how i started off to become a firefighter if you have anymore questions just ask me.

Take care

Well heres the deal im also 17 and thats not all you can do you can look into local stations and see if they have a cadet/exploratory program or even see if you can volunteer on a local department sure you may not be able to go interior but its definatley worth the experience. Now me im attending a vocational school in a neighboring city that my school pays for and ive got a qualification to go interior and im not even 18 yet and right now im studying for my HAZMAT but anyways if you have anymore questions feel free to ask and if i dont know il just talk it over with my instructor

Have a good day and Good Luck
Mr. Thrift,

Please remember, as many of the folks on this site will tell you, fighting fire is not something that you do, Firefighter is something that you are. There is no substitute for training and experience, and to continue in this field, you have to have the dediction to improve your education one class at a time. Techniques change, technology changes, sometimes right before your eyes...

I have logged hundreds of hours of training in my twelve year Volunteer career. I spent seven of those years trying to get hired by any local jurisdiction that would take my application. I never got hired. As has been stated, there are fewer and fewer jobs out there in public service. I moved to private service and have a career as a fire inspector in the private sector. If this is truly what you are, there is only one way to confirm... Go to your local volunteer fire department and put your application in. This will serve you three fold. You will gain the experience that you will need to qualify for application into a career department, you will save yourself some tuition money, as many departments will pay for training for their members, or the training agency may provide training free to volunteers and you will gain the needed experience for application to a career department. Check with your local volunteer organization for details.

Believe it or not, when I was just out of high school, I had the same attitude that you have shown above. Why volunteer?? I need a paying job to cover tuition!! I am now 30 years old, and I can't think of a better reason to ride a fire engine than pure human service. I have a job that pays the bills, but to volunteer makes me feel like I am giving something back to the world that has been so kind to me over the years. Think of the strangers that have helped you over the years. Change a tire, change for the phone, short a buck for your dinner, whatever. People do things for reasons far more important than money, and you need to decide why you want to be a firefighter. If it's for the money, hang it up, you are there for the wrong reasons. There are folks that have career positions, they are paid for their time. They are the ones that are fortunate to be paid for doing a job that they love to do! I am not anti-career. The career fire service is an important part of serving our public. Volunteers have to pay bills too and need to be other places sometimes.

Just my 2-cents... Please consider why you want to be a firefighter before you jump in with both feet. Other firefighters will be trusting you with their lives, that has to be taken seriously!!


Wow, from reading your responses, things are a whooollle lot different in the States. 99.9% of the paid firefighters here (and I'm assuming there, from the career guys I know in the US) did not start as volunteers. Some would say here that joining a volunteer department when you know you want to be a careeer guy is all but hanging the vollie department out to dry when you do get hired. I know many people who are happy as volunteers/POC and are content to stay as such because they enjoy their fulltime job and they are never impressed with the young guys who come flying through, after spending money to train and outfit them, just to have them leave in a year or two. It hardly seems fair, considering most of them sound to be quite cash strapped already. If you're planning on staying and your career department doesn't have a problem with Two hatting, that's one thing.

I don't know, I guess loyalty is a big thing with me. I would never sign up as a volunteer, expect to be trained, have my courses paid for (or partially paid for) and then leave because I knew all along I wanted to make it a career. I worked full time, went to school part time, spent time in my community, volunteered with organizations I believe in and tried to show that not only am I cut out for the job, but I enjoy working with the public and like being a part of the community and didn't just say so on a resume.

What about going to fire school? I know it's costly, but there is financing. I don't know about the schools in the US, I know a lot of Canadians either head out West or go to Texas for the course, not to mention the pre-service courses offered in the community colleges. Other courses such as med courses, swift water and ice rescue courses, high angle, getting involved in practical activities that test abilities, etc, etc.

Once again, I'm sure my opinion is not the popular one, but that's just the way it is here. You work, you spend the time, the money, the hours, you nearly go broke and if you're lucky, some time within 10 years you get a job and it's the most rewarding experience of your life!!!

My advice to you is to talk to the guys at the departments you are interested in and see what they had to do to get on the job. It varies so greatly from State to State (as it does from province to province, even city to city here), do what you have to, work your ass off and hope that someone takes notice. It's a competitive market, that's for sure, but it can be done!

Best of luck.

PS - I hope I didn't offend anyone, I certainly did not mean to, just going by personal experience.

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