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Requirements to Become a Firefighter in Missouri
Aspiring firefighters in Missouri have to meet a number of state and local requirements before donning their turnouts and fighting fires. Local fire departments set requirements for firefighters, so some standards vary from department to department. However, all firefighters have to meet a basic set of requirements before starting their careers in Missouri.
The age requirement to become a Missouri firefighter varies depending on the department you plan on working for. The city of Springfield's fire department, for example, requires firefighters to be at least 18 years old, meaning they can enter the program directly out of high school. Other municipalities, however, such as St. Louis, require their firefighters to be 21 years old.
Education and Training
Firefighters in Missouri have to be adequately educated and trained to obtain positions with local fire departments. All aspiring Missouri firefighters have to have their high school diploma or GED. St. Louis Fire Department and Richmond Heights Fire Department firefighters have to complete 16 hours of training through the Greater St. Louis Fire Academy. This academy offers courses in firefighter safety, building construction, arson detection, fire hose, auto extrication and ground cover fires.
Exams and Screenings
Aspiring Missouri firefighters have to go through a number of exams and screenings, but specific exams and screenings depend on the local fire department. Some, like the St. Louis Fire Department, require candidates to pass firefighter exams before landing a job; other fire departments in the state do not. All Missouri firefighter candidates have to successfully pass a drug screening and a physical to prove they are in peak physical condition. In Springfield, firefighter candidates cannot have any felony convictions on their record or any serious misdemeanors in the last five years. Also in Springfield, candidates have to pass a vision screening and have at least 20/30 vision, with or without glasses or contact lenses.
Many Missouri state fire departments are instituting stricter standards for firefighter candidates. In addition to possessing the education and training needed to be a firefighter, some departments, like the Richmond Heights Fire Department, require firefighters to also hold a paramedic license. The St. Louis Fire Department expects its firefighters to earn and maintain EMT certification within one year of employment.
Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.