Becoming a Firefighter – A Journey of Self-Discovery

steps to becoming a firefighter

Becoming a Firefighter – A Journey of Self-Discovery

People come to the career of a firefighter in a variety of ways. Some discover this profession in high school vocational programs that offer fire and EMS certifications; others gain entry through jobs involving damage control and rescue work or family members who are firefighters.

Several key traits will be important in becoming a successful firefighter regardless of how you start.


So, how do I become a firefighter in Texas? Firefighters work on the front lines of emergency response and are often exposed to traumatic incidents. They must make quick decisions under pressure and pass rigorous testing and training to succeed.

Meeting with local firefighters and learning as much as possible about the profession and your specific department is essential. Ask them about their careers, how they went through the hiring process, and what to expect from the selection phases.

Consider earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in fire science or a related subject. Postsecondary education can help you advance in the fire service and may also give you extra points on promotional exams.


Firefighters are called upon to make life-and-death decisions in the heat of the moment. This type of work is only for some and requires selflessness and a love for the job.

Solid self-confidence and self-esteem can help firefighters stay confident in facing setbacks. It can also ensure they learn from mistakes and avoid becoming professional “victims” who disrupt their department and others.

These qualities can be developed by learning from those already working in the field. This may be through speaking with or observing them on the job.


Firefighting is a demanding job. It requires a person to be selfless and passionate about their career. This is different than the job for someone who wants to be rich or famous.

Visit your local fire stations to talk with firefighters about their experience and the hiring process. They may have sat on oral boards or been a part of the recruiting process.

Maintain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree to strengthen your chances of being selected for a firefighter academy. Obtaining extra certifications like emergency medical technicians can add weight to your application.


Firefighters must be able to work as part of a team. They do this both in their firehouse and at emergency scenes. Not all calls go precisely according to plan, and firefighters learn to deal with change daily.

Visit local fire stations and talk to firefighters, particularly those at the department you’re interested in joining. They will have much knowledge to share, having gone through the hiring process and maybe even sitting on oral boards themselves.

Be honest about any past problems in your life. Your record will play a significant role in whether you get the job.


Firefighters must be able to put aside their self-interests for the good of the community. This includes participation in fundraisers, helping people who don’t know firefighters, and volunteering for activities that benefit the community – not just when on duty.

Becoming a firefighter is only for some. It takes a certain level of selflessness and passion to even think about throwing yourself into a burning building to save a life.

In addition, a candidate must pass the civil service exam and endure a rigorous training program. The process can take years, and preparing for the firefighter job in advance is essential – long before you submit your first application.

Physical Fitness

Firefighters must be physically fit to do their job well. They must be able to walk up and down stairs quickly, carry heavy equipment, and run and maneuver through hazardous situations like smashed cars and structurally unsafe buildings.

Get involved with a local fire department early by joining a fire explorer or cadet program. Also, start working toward an associate degree in fire science or an EMT certification.

Meet the minimum education requirements, which usually include a high school diploma, corrected 20/20 vision, and a clean criminal record. Also, pass a physical examination test and psychological evaluation.


A firefighter needs to have clear, intelligent communication with people. This includes comrades in the firehouse, the public, and interacting with other emergency personnel.

It also means having an open mind and a willingness to learn new things. This can be seen by firefighters spending time and money on their education, whether it is an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree in fire science, or an EMT certification.

A level-headed, thick-skinned person is a good fit for the job. Firefighters work and live with many personalities in close living conditions, so patience and tolerance are necessary.

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