Many people strive to make a difference in their communities, and public service is one of the most effective ways to use your skills to help others in need. An estimated 1.1 million firefighters risk their health and lives to prevent and put out fires nationwide, and their courage and training save countless lives annually.
Becoming a firefighter is a noble pursuit, especially if you’re keen on choosing a career that allows you to impact others positively. You’ll need more than physical strength to pursue firefighter careers, but the proper steps could help you land your dream job.
Luckily for your future career, you’ve discovered this eye-opening guide to learning what you’ll need to do to join the ranks of firefighters in the United States. Continue reading to take the first step toward finding a job today!
Table of Contents
Ensure the Right Fit
You’ll need particular skills and traits to become a good candidate for a career as a firefighter. Regardless of your background, you must have physical fitness, integrity, and a commitment to bettering yourself when becoming a firefighter.
Firefighters carry heavy equipment and protective gear into dangerous situations. Strength and stamina are requirements for firefighters.
They must dedicate much time to their physical fitness needs. Expect to spend time running and lifting weights to stay in peak condition for your career.
You should also reflect on your integrity. When you become a firefighter, you become a public servant. It’s essential to uphold your values and look out for the interests of the people in your community.
Courage and dedication are other traits that are vital for firefighters. You need to determine if you’re willing to put yourself in harm’s way to help others. You’re an excellent fit if you have all these traits.
The next step to take to become a firefighter is to volunteer your time and skills. Many firefighters working at the fire station near your home started as volunteers who wanted to make a difference.
The local department will likely have an opening for someone who wants to help around the fire station. This experience extends into community service and attending fairs and events.
Volunteering is an excellent way to build strong contacts in the firefighting industry. You’ll introduce yourself to the local firefighters and get started on your dream career. The value of these relationships is crucial to break into this competitive field.
Take CPR Training
Firefighters must have specific skills, and one of the most essential skills you’ll need to learn is how to administer CPR. The American Red Cross offers CPR courses you can take to get certified. Having a Red Cross card in your pocket will increase your odds of gaining practical experience with the fire department.
You can take on physical duties at the fire station or go for ride-along experiences. The best approach involves taking EMT training while volunteering with your local fire department. You’ll learn the necessary skills while building relationships and gaining practical experience.
Get in Shape
You’ll also need to get in shape if you plan on finding a job as a firefighter in the United States. Firefighters are famous for working long and grueling hours while carrying heavy loads. Choosing a career as a firefighter is similar to a career in law enforcement or athletics.
You must take care of your body and maintain your strength and stamina. Your life and the lives of those in your community are on the line, and you need to be prepared to assist. The firefighting profession also requires you to pass a challenging physical test, so do your due diligence when preparing.
Further Your Education
Firefighting also requires brains in addition to brawn and courage. Furthering your education is a must if you want to improve your odds of qualifying for firefighter jobs. Each fire department has its educational requirements, so speak with the head of the fire department to find out how to proceed.
Most volunteers combine their volunteer experience and CPR certification with fire training at a college or academy. There are also plenty of firefighting technical programs that will allow you to qualify for firefighting careers. Getting your fire science degree will put you a step closer to receiving your first fire department challenge coins.
Firefighters need to know how to suppress and extinguish fires while learning how to evacuate burning buildings. Maintenance of equipment and fire trucks is also essential to understand.
Take Your Exams
Exams are another critical part of becoming a firefighter. You’ll take a written exam and go through an oral interview during the exam and application process. Drug screenings and background checks are also standard for firefighter candidates.
The physical exam examines your blood pressure, eyesight, hearing, and blood. A clean criminal record is also essential to get a job at the fire station. You can explore the types of firefighters to find the best fit for your skills and interests.
Further Your Career
Getting your first job as a firefighter is the beginning of a long and distinguished career. Firefighters enjoy more job stability and advancement opportunities than public sector career options. Experience and ongoing training will help you continue your rise up the rankings.
Earning advanced certifications will grow your skillset and allow you to earn promotions. Your earnings and responsibilities will also increase as you move toward becoming a firefighter. Hard work and time are all that stand between you and becoming a fire chief.
Consider Becoming a Firefighter Today
Firefighters are among the most significant heroes in the United States of America, and it’s a viable option when choosing a career. You can make a difference in your community by volunteering with the fire department and gaining experience. Consider pursuing a degree related to firefighter jobs, and strive to be your best physically and mentally.
Are you ready to explore more exciting career paths for your future? Check out the rest of our blog content for more eye-opening career content today!