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How to Become a Firefighter in Houston, Texas

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Houston was ranked the fourth-most populated city in the United States in 2009, with more than 2.25 million residents. The Houston Fire Department is always looking for employment recruits to ensure the safety needs for the city are adequately met. If you are interested in becoming a firefighter in the Houston area, you must undergo testing and training to ensure you have what it takes to save lives.

Take the Houston Fire Department Civil Service Examination. The Civil Service Exam covers basic mathematics and reading skills, and as of 2010 there is no study guide designed to help you prepare. Be sure to bring your driver's license or valid photo identification, as well as a copy of your DD214 Members 4 if you have military training.

Fill out the pre-screening application, including details about your driving record, educational background, proof of U.S. citizenship or resident alien status and employment history. Potential applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalency, at least 60 credit hours from an accredited college or university or two years of military experience with honorable discharge, a reputable work history and the ability to speak and understand English.

Attend a drug screening and polygraph test and a NFPA 1582 standard medical examination.

Endure a physical ability test conducted by the Houston Fire Department. This test includes seven timed events, including a balance beam walk, stair climb and 1.5 mile run. All are gauged on a pass/fail system.

Undergo 11 weeks of physical and written coursework provided by the Houston Fire Department and local EMTs. This training includes breathing apparatus use, fire tactics, fire safety and survival, rescue skills and guidelines and Houston Fire Department station operations.

Receive a conditional offer of employment. Once your polygraph and drug testing results are received, and you pass both tests, you will be hired under a 15-month probationary agreement. After successfully proving yourself during the probationary period, you may be eligible to apply and test for promotional positions, such as fire engineer or operator.


Physical endurance is essential when you apply for a firefighter job, as much of the job requires heavy lifting and other physically taxing maneuvers that could interfere with performance and safety if you are not able to endure under pressure.