If you are interested in becoming a firefighter, you need to be aware of the requirements for the job. These will, of course, differ from state to state, sometimes from town to town as well. Although there are differences, these general guidelines listed below will give you an idea of what you can expect.
The most general age is usually at least 18 years of age, but there are some fire departments that allow 17 year olds to apply. The age listed on some applications as maximum age for applying is 29 years old. Your local fire department will have their age limits listed on their application forms. Most fire departments require each applicant to at least possess a high school diploma, or a GED. This is accepted as general practice in most states, and most usually is understood. This is a basis to work from when applying for continuing education specialized in your chosen field. There are some fire departments that require the applicant to have already attended different courses and to have acquired special education in fire fighting. Some fire departments require the applicant to have acquired EMT-Basic, EMT-1 or equivalent skills for the position you are applying to fill. If you have successfully completed your EMT-1 or higher, you should be registered with the NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians). For those that require additional training, prior to hiring, you will need to show proof of having obtained certification from the Approved Fire Fighter Training program.
Some fire departments name a clear driving record as mandatory, and require the applicant to possess a valid and current driver's license with a clear driving record. Some states go back 3 - 5 years on the driving record concerning points and the reason you received them. It stands to reason that there must be no convictions for criminal offenses, especially for anything in relation to the job of an emergency worker. The applicant must show excellent physical fitness, and a physical assessment is mandatory during the recruitment process. You will also undergo a medical exam under the respective fire departments physician. Your vision is a necessity, and in most cases, they prefer you to have above average vision, unaided/uncorrected. Color vision as well as peripheral vision is also tested, along with your hearing, which must also be unaided. You as the applicant are generally preferred to reside in the county in which you are applying. You must definitely reside in the state.
The following are some qualifications you may want to attempt to obtain; these will escalate the worth of your application, and show you are already immersed in the world of firefighting. This is done by either volunteering or working during or after high school in career related fields. For instance, first aid work and/or training, driving large trucks or even emergency vehicles, any form of medical training or work. Completing any academic or trade program in your intended field is a benefit toward applying for a job as a firefighter, and be prepared to have a copy of your transcripts on hand. Most fire departments are particular in the applicants they choose for recruitment, and hiring. This is because there is a lot of stress and trust put on these men and women that make it to the final selection round. It takes someone physically strong and able, as well as emotionally and mentally strong. The stress alone is enough to bring a strong man to his knees, add to that, the fact that each call could be the last, or the fact that you could be facing long term health issues just from breathing the air around you at the scene of a fire. This and more are reasons that most people have no desire to be firefighters, however, there are a select few that make it all the way and become every little boys dream -- a firefighter.