Firefighter Career Path

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Firefighter Career Path

Firefighters are vital for society since they play an important role in saving the lives of others. They don’t just do their jobs; they make a difference in the lives of others every day. It takes more than bravery and physical strength to be a firefighter; it takes courage and compassion too.

If you’re considering becoming a firefighter, it’s important to realize what you might be up against. The road to success as a firefighter is not an easy one, and you’ll need discipline and determination if you want to make the grade.

But if your heart is set on firefighting but doesn’t know how to get started, this article will help you understand the process. Keep reading, please!

1. How to Become a Firefighter?

A firefighter’s job is to prevent and put out fires. A person usually becomes a firefighter by attending firefighting school, which teaches them how to operate heavy equipment and use specialized tools.

After graduation from the firefighting academy, firefighters must complete a probationary period of employment before they are eligible for promotion within their department’s ranks or transfer to another agency. Firefighters work rotating 24-hour shifts with two days off per week. They also receive training in rescue techniques such as swift water rescue and search and rescue operations, hazardous materials handling, rappelling down buildings using ropes (rappel), among other skills required for this profession. To be considered for a position as a firefighter, you must have at least one year of experience working in a similar setting.

2. What Do Firefighters Do?

There is a lot of misinformation about what firefighters do. Some people think they spend all day putting out fires, but this isn’t true. The most common job for a firefighter is to make sure that there are no emergencies in their area and be on call if an emergency occurs. In other words, “firefighting” means being ready at any moment to provide assistance to those who need it – whether by fighting the fire or providing first aid, or helping someone who has been injured in an accident. It also includes inspecting buildings and equipment for safety hazards and educating people about fire prevention and safety techniques.

3. Other Career Paths for People Interested in Firefighting

The firefighting profession is one of the most demanding careers undertaken. The work is often dangerous and strenuous, requiring a great deal of physical strength, stamina, and courage. It also requires extensive training before firefighters are deemed competent enough to enter into the field on their own. But despite these drawbacks, many people still want to become firefighters because they are drawn in by the excitement or desire for adventure associated with this line of work.

If you are interested in becoming a firefighter but do not have all the necessary qualities just yet, then there are other career paths that you could embark upon first that may help prepare you for your future goal. Please take a look at the career options similar to the firefighter career path:

  • Emergency Medical Technicians
  • Fire Inspectors
  • Fire Investigators
  • Forestry Technicians
  • Heavy Truck Drivers
  • Line Installers and Repairers
  • Police Patrol Officers
  • Riggers
  • Ship Captains and Mates
  • Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

4. Tips for Applying and Getting Hired as a Firefighter

Firefighting is a career that requires a lot of hard work and dedication. It can be very rewarding, but it’s not an easy job to get into. There are many steps you have to take in order to apply for the position, and there are also some things you need to know about being a firefighter if you want this as your career path.

If you’re interested in becoming a firefighter, keep reading for tips that will help you make your dream come true:

1) Get the education you need to be a firefighter

The first thing you have to make sure of is that you are eligible for the job. You will not be able to apply if you don’t meet the requirements. One of the most important things they are looking for is your qualifications, which means having a high school diploma or a GED. You should also know that a lot of fire departments require that you have a bachelor’s degree or at least 60 college credit hours from an accredited college or university. Having this degree will make you stand out from the rest of the applicants and increase your chances of getting hired, so it’s better to get it done before applying for a firefighting job.

2) Find the perfect fire department

Once you have your degree, it’s time to find a fire department hiring and applying for the job. There are many different departments out there, so even if none of them are hiring currently, one might start looking for recruits in the future. Some things you should consider when looking for a job are the place, the benefits, and the salary. You should also make sure that you know what is expected of you in this position and if it’s something you’re willing to do.

3) Get certified

Firefighting requires special training and skills, which means that even though your degree is necessary, it’s not enough. You need to get your certification and training before you can apply and be hired for the position. There are many different certifications that each state has, which means that you should check with your state’s fire department to see what they require from their recruits. They will usually ask you to get your EMT-B certificate and some on-the-job training.

4) Get the right attitude and be willing to work hard

Getting your certification isn’t enough, and you also need to get the proper mental preparation and physical readiness to become a firefighter. This career path is challenging, so it can take a lot out of you, but it’s worth it if this is what you want to do with your life. There are many great things about being a firefighter, and most people who chose this for their career path say they love every minute of it. It’s not an easy job, but once you pass all the steps and get hired, getting experience is also very rewarding!

5. The Challenges and Rewards of Being a Firefighter

Firefighters are lifesavers. They are brave, bold, daring individuals who go out in the thick of it when everyone else is running for cover. A firefighter could be anyone brave and bold, but not all are daring. The difference between a firefighter and an ordinary person is that some firefighters run into burning buildings without fear of dying because they know what to do.

Below, we have mentioned some benefits and challenges that you will have as a firefighter:


  • You could save a life
  • You get to explore the world
  • You meet good people looking for heroes
  • You could be part of a team
  • You are not likely to get bored
  • You make the world a better place by spreading goodwill and peace


  • Putting out fires
  • Rescuing people from dangerous situations
  • Dealing with hazardous materials
  • Managing intense emotions
  • Maintaining a high level of physical fitness
  • Working a variety of schedules
  • Performing repetitive tasks
  • Being part of a team or working independently
  • Working outdoors in all types of weather conditions for long hours
  • Having to handle dangerous substances and equipment
  • Exposed to injury from fire, smoke, fumes, falling objects, electrical shocks, and more

6. Related Jobs Firefighters May Pursue After Retirement or Leaving the Profession

Some firefighters may prefer to stay in the field as an instructor, trainer, or fire marshal. Others may want to become an arson investigators for their local police department. Still, others might find work as a technical writer or public relations specialist for one of the many manufacturers that produce equipment used by firefighters every day. And some choose to go into business on their own, running their own company providing training services for firefighters all over the country.

Whatever you choose after retirement or leaving your profession, be sure you’ve taken time during your career to explore what other options are out there so you can be successful when you decide to move on:

  • Delivery driver
  • Safety trainer
  • EMT
  • Personal trainer
  • Lifeguard
  • Dispatcher
  • Camp counselor
  • Security guard
  • Correctional officer
  • First aid instructor
  • Home inspector
  • Dog trainer
  • Fire investigator
  • Handyman

7. Where to Find the Best Firefighter Jobs

The first place to look for a firefighter job is your local fire department. If you live in an area with a large population, there are likely several fire departments that would be hiring. You can call them up and ask about the requirements or visit their website for more information.

If you have extensive experience as a volunteer firefighter, this may help you get hired because many people do not meet all the requirements of being a full-time firefighter. Some jobs will require training before you can start working, so it’s best to make sure beforehand if any training is necessary and plan accordingly. Once on the job, firefighters need to work on-call and put in hours at various stations every month; they cannot just work only one station like many other kinds of jobs.

When you apply for a job, be sure to include all your experience and qualifications on the resume; if you don’t have any paid experience, list volunteer time under “honors” or “related activities.”

Here are some of the best places where working as a firefighter will be rewarding:

  • United States Fire Administration
  • American Red Cross
  • National Volunteer Fire Council
  • International Association of Fire Fighters
  • National Fire Protection Association
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
  • Firefighter Nation
  • National Association of State Fire Marshals
  • International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC)
  • South Metro Fire Rescue
  • The City of Calgary
  • Saint John’s Regional Fire Department, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Prince George’s County Government
  • Kidde

8. What Kind of Education Will You Need to Become a Firefighter?

You need the right education, which will prepare you for this tough but rewarding profession. You can train as an apprentice or take classes in firefighting at many community colleges around the country. But if your goal is to be a career firefighter, it’s important that you get some training on the job first, so you know what firefighters do every day before committing to any formal degree program. This way, you’ll see firsthand whether or not becoming a firefighter is really for you before investing years of time and money into your education. Even if it turns out that being a firefighter isn’t for you, there are still plenty of exciting and rewarding careers you can follow up with.

Firefighters have a high-risk job, and because of this, they require extensive training. The best way to receive the appropriate education for this profession is through college. College offers the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fire science or pre-medicine. Furthermore, many colleges offer hands-on experience with equipment such as ladders, extinguishers, and hose lines before graduating from undergraduate school.

Here are some of the top schools that are considered best when it comes to firefighter education and training:

  • Austin Community College
  • Texas A&M International University
  • Lamar Institute of Technology
  • United States Military Academy
  • Portland State University
  • New Mexico Junior College
  • University of Hawaii
  • Texarkana College
  • The Ohio State University at Marion
  • Warren County Community College
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Arkansas State University-Mountain Home
  • Lower Columbia College
  • Central Texas College
  • George Mason University

9. How Much Money Can Firefighter Make?

Firefighters are typically paid on a salary basis, which means that they get the same amount of money each week no matter how many hours they work. For example, if you make $30,000 per year as a firefighter and you work 40 hours per week for 52 weeks in a year, then your yearly salary would be $30,000. If you only worked 36 hours per week (including overtime) for 52 weeks in a year and made the same amount of money ($30,000), then your yearly salary would be $27,500.

Even though firefighters can’t always control how much time they will spend at their job every day or every week due to unforeseen circumstances like emergencies and natural disasters (and must often receive approval from their superiors before proceeding with certain activities during work hours), which makes it difficult to accurately estimate the amount of time they will actually spend working each day or week, firefighters are usually able to determine when they would like to take their breaks and vacations. Since most firefighter jobs offer full health insurance coverage (including coverage for your spouse and children) in addition to retirement plans and paid sick days, many firefighters are willing to work long hours (including some nights and weekends) in order to earn more money every year.

Firefighters can make as much as six figures per year if they choose to work a lot of overtime hours during fire season or other busy periods. In comparison, the average firefighter salary is between $45,000 and $55,000 per year. In California, the average annual firefighter salary is roughly $78,000, while in New York City, it’s about $76,000 each year.


The process of becoming a firefighter can be long, but it is worth it. You may have to take the steps of other careers in order to get there. For example, you could become an EMT first and then work your way up from there. It’s not easy by any means – let alone dangerous at times-but; if this profession interests you, then it could be the best career path that can give you satisfaction and a chance to make good money. We hope you have liked this article! Good Luck!

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.