Firefighters work in forested, rural and urban areas to protect lives and property. While there are several pathways into the profession, students need to know the kind of fire organization — federal, state, regional, rural or city — that best matches their career goals. For some students, earning a high school diploma and emergency medical technician (EMT) certification is enough to start a satisfying career. Which path is right for you?
Step by step guide to becoming a fire fighter
What does a fire fighter do?
On the most basic level, firefighters control and put out fires and respond to emergencies. Due to the wide range of duties involved in the job, firefighters must receive expert training to handle talks such as driving fire trucks and other emergency vehicles, connecting hoses and pumps, rescuing and treat the injured, writing reports on incidents and potential causes, educating the public about safety, conducting routine drills, and maintaining fire equipment. Firefighters that are employed or who volunteer in forested areas perform preventative maintenance and create fire breaks and service roads, or they may respond to forest and open-space emergencies within their region.
What kind of skills are required?
Fighting fires can be physically demanding and emotional. Firefighters often carry heavy equipment and have to be ready to carry victims to safety. Emergencies happen at all hours of the day and night, and firefighters must be ready to work at any time and for long periods without rest. When responding to emergencies, firefighters need to communicate with other emergency responders to make critical decisions quickly. The most common attributes among all firefighters include physical fitness, decision-making aptitude, and a thorough understanding of fire causes, fire prevention and fire suppression techniques.
- Meet employment prerequisites
- Earn EMT certification
- Complete a degree program (optional)
- Test for a fighter position
- Complete fire academy training
- Advance your career (continuous)