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How to Become a Firefighter in Washington State

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Aspiring firefighters in Washington State should be prepared to pass a series of physical, oral and written examinations in order to pursue a career as a firefighter. Candidates must demonstrate a series of skills critically important to the management of emergency situations including strength and physical endurance, coping and crisis management skills along with the fundamental understanding of fire containment. Understanding the recruitment and hiring requirements can help potential candidates successfully prepare for a demanding application process.

Complete the entry-level fire fighter application. To apply, you can submit an application online through your municipal government website, or you may be required to mail your application. You will need to indicate that you are 18 or older, in possession of a high school diploma or GED with a state-issued driver's license in good standing. Age limits may vary depending on the city or county within Washington State.

Confirm EMT certification requirements for your city or county. For some cities within Washington State, like Seattle, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification is not required until applicants have completed the recruitment process. In other areas, such as East Pierce, certification is required at the time you apply for the position. Check with your local municipality to confirm your EMT certification requirements.

Take the firefighter written exam. When your application has been successfully submitted, you will be asked to take a written exam to demonstrate your comprehension.

Complete an oral interview. Candidates who pass the written exam in the city of Seattle will be notified and asked to participate in an oral interview. This interview will help further determine your readiness and allow you to discuss how your skills and experiences help qualify you for the position.

Complete pre-employment testing. Top applicants who pass the written exam and oral interview will participate in a series of evaluations including mental and emotional assessments as well as a physical exam and endurance test.

Enter and complete the firefighter-training program. Individuals who have passed all examination requirements are invited to participate in a recruit-training program. Seattle's training program for firefighter recruits is nationally recognized. It is also one of the first training programs in the state of Washington to be accredited. Trainee programs throughout the state will vary in length and classroom instruction. With the successful completion of training, recruits move from entry-level to probationary and on to the formal title of firefighter.


CL Hardy is a communication professional based in Austin, Texas. In addition to writing corporate newsletters, proposals and technical white papers for Fortune 500 clients for more than 12 years, Hardy has been published in "Black Collegian" magazine; her articles on human resources, business and art topics can be found on eHow. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in communication.

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