I have been wanting to be a firefighter since i was 9..... Now that im 18 i still very much want too. I have 2 tattoos. 1. Is a "crown of thorns" arm band around my bicep. ( able to be covered by a tshirt) but i have another one... The word "perseverance" on the underside of my right forearm. Its pretty big but well done. I really want to become a firefighter. Will this affect me from getting a paid position or even being a volunteer?

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Got to love irony.

What do you mean

This will depend entirely upon the policy of the Department your applying for. Some may not allow the tats while others wouldnt have issues.

Well im planning on going to get my fire science degree. I just want to know im not wasting tens of thousands of dollars on something i cant do

Why didnt you ask yourself this question before you got tattoos, if you knew what you wanted to do with your life ???

I didnt think it would affect it
I don't think working as a volunteer ff would be affected by having tattoos. My perspective is that of a career ff on the west coast, specifically SoCal. LA City FD has prospective FF's do a swim test not for swimming but to find out if they have tattoo ink. If you have tattoos then you are immediately disqualified and asked to leave. The feeling is that the tax payer, many being elderly, don't want a biker type of person coming to their aid. It's a stereotype that unfortunately sticks like glue. Considering you would be paid in excess of 100k per year, a certain image is what they want and they make no bones about it. Career FF's on the west coast are suppose to look and act a certain way. Having tats where folks can see them is a no no. Typically, it's the tow truck drivers that show up on accident scenes that have tattoos. I've always wanted one myself but I wanted to be FF more. 
The FD I volunteer with doesn't mind tats, but the EMS services in my area do. They can be covered with a long sleeve under shirt though. I don't see it as an issue in the FD, unless the tats are derogatory in any way.

How do you become a FF in So.Cal? That 100k a year sounds like a great wage. I can't get close to that in the private sector where I am from. Lol.

It can vary from department to department. Some don't have any problem while others are very strict about no visible ink. One of my departments has no problem with tattoos if they are not visible. We had a volunteer come in with a sleeve type tattoo on his lower arm of sea animals (fish,starfish, etc) that was actually a pretty cool and well done tat. The dept didn't have any policy about visible tats at the time and the BC's or anyone on the shift had a problem with it. The AC saw it one day and just said "Oh, thats colorful" then a few hours later, we had a SOG about covering all tattoos. The volunteer just had to wear long sleeve shirts to make sure it was always covered but nothing else.

I would say don't let it stop you from working towards your goal of getting into the fire service. It may keep you from getting into some departments but there are many that allow them or just have you make sure they are covered.

Good luck.

They do make skin toned sleeves that can be worn to cover up tats.


Mike, SoCal policy is nothing but Liberal B.S. , I have ink on parts of my body  that can be covered up with a uniform , hell a T-shirt for that matter. so they would tell me to go and i would.. but come back with a Lawyer and sue them for discrimination..... And people wonder why cali is so #$@#$%$&% up.  You can keep Cali.........


Mike, SoCal policy is nothing but Liberal B.S.

Which conservative talking head told you to think that?

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