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Frequently Asked Questions About Firefighter Jobs
Do you need a degree
to become a firefighter?
Degree requirements vary from fire department to fire department. Some require a high school diploma, some an associate’s degree and others a bachelor’s degree. Some fire departments consider a degree from a fire science program or previous firefighter experience in place of any other educational requirements that may apply. Each department will list out the minimum application requirements. Visit this page to view current fire service job opportunities.
What is required for
the firefighter physical test?
Most fire departments will require that you pass a firefighter physical ability test in order to be eligible for further consideration. A physical ability test for a firefighter position usually consists of a series of activities that simulate tasks that are performed when responding to a fire or emergency scene. The CPAT® is a commonly used physical ability test. Some departments will have their own physical ability test. It is a good idea to learn about the physical ability test you will be required to pass and begin preparing for it early.
What are firefighter
The majority of fire departments will hire you without prior training or experience, and then immediately send you to a fire academy to be formally trained. Once you are hired by a fire department, there are usually no additional requirements to be eligible for academy training.
How much does the average
firefighter training academy cost?
Many municipalities hire applicants who have no firefighter training. The municipality generally bears the expenses associated with firefighter and EMS training. A small percentage of fire departments will require prior firefighter experience and/or EMT or Paramedic certification at time-of-hire.
How long is training
to become a firefighter?
Firefighter training academies vary in length but typically require months worth of intensive training. Once you meet the minimum training requirements to be certified as a firefighter in a particular state, there is usually a period of approximately one year of “probationary status” during which you receive on-the-job training.
How much money does
a firefighter make?
Firefighter compensation varies greatly by state and region. The median firefighter salary in the United States is approximately $47,000. Depending on the state, this salary can range as high as $100,000.
Basic Duties of a Firefighter
When the alarm goes off, firefighters may also have to:
- Assist in vehicle or industrial accidents. Help trapped victims escape danger and provide emergency medical services.
- Assist in chemical spills. Determine hazard, minimize and contain the spill and fire prevention.
- Assist with various types of water rescues.
Fire department team members also collaborate with police in fire, accident and arson investigations. Detailed written reports are routinely required for fire and accident incidents.
Fire prevention is a significant part of firefighter job duties. This includes:
- Inspecting buildings for fire code compliance, smoke alarms, proper escape exits and fire suppression equipment.
- Informing and educating the public in fire safety by developing and conducting training and educational programs.
- Regularly conducting water hydrant inspections and documentation.
Fire team members are also expected to participate in Fire Station building maintenance and regular inspections and maintenance of firefighting equipment.
These and other duties begin with significant training and fire team members are then required to complete appropriate ongoing training updates.
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