What Are the Requirements to Become a Firefighter?

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A firefighter risks his life daily for the safety of others. The work requires stamina, physical endurance and attention to detail. To become a firefighter, an individual must pass a series of physical and mental exams that help the department determine whether the applicant would be successful as a firefighter. Additionally, a good credit score, secure references and a clean criminal background are helpful when applying to become a firefighter.

College Requirements

Many firefighting programs require a college degree or a certain amount of coursework. People who want to become firefighters typically enroll in a program that will lead to a fire technology or fire science degree. Check with your local fire department to determine whether you will need to take particular courses to enter certain programs, such as the emergency medical technician (EMT) program. EMTs make up a large percentage of the firefighter workforce. Some applications also indicate that you must be a certified EMT or paramedic to work as a firefighter for that location.


Each location has particular entrance exams you must pass to work there. These exams include tests of capability, strength and endurance that will determine whether you are a good match for the job. Obtain the location of these exams, exam dates and other important information you may need from the fire department. Upon successful completion of these exams, the department will determine whether to hire you. If hired, you'll attend firefighter academy to prepare yourself for job., obtaining the necessary skills and training.

Specialty Training

CPR is usually required to for become a firefighter. In addition to CPR certification, you will need firefighting state certifications and academy certifications upon being hired. These certifications are obtained through the firefighter academy.

Volunteer Fire Department

If you are interested in firefighting but not as a career, contact 1-800-FIRELINE to speak with a representative concerning volunteer fire department work in your area. The representative will put you in contact with individuals within local departments that will help you advance in your volunteer work. From them, you can obtain a list of recruitment requirements. This usually involves an application and a series of exams and tests to determine your aptitude, physical shape and mental health.