Careers that Count: So You Want to Be a Firefighter?

So You Want to Be a Firefighter?

The Job:



The Gist: 

Do you jump into action in emergency situations? If you’re fearless, active, and love to help others, this may be the right career for you! Firefighters are typically known to put out fires, but they have many jobs. Whether it’s a car accident, a natural disaster, or another type of dire event, a firefighter is often the first on the scene and has to be willing to risk it all to put people out of harm’s way.


The Path:

Firefighters need a high school diploma and a certificate as an emergency medical technician, or EMT. Today, more and more firefighters attend college, since a degree in fire science may help you land a job.

When you first sign on as a firefighter, you have to go through training at a fire academy. There, you learn how to prevent and fight fires, plus use tools like a fire extinguisher and a ladder. You will study building codes to better understand how to treat fires in various structures. You will also practice emergency medical procedures, like first aid.

You must pass written and physical tests. Since the strength test includes climbing stairs while carrying equipment, firefighters have to be in excellent physical shape to qualify for a position.

After you complete training, you will go through a series of interviews. Once hired, you will begin working at a station assigned to you. The selection process is different depending on where you work.

Firefighters have to be brave and strong. The job requires discipline and hard work. It relies on teamwork, so you must get along with other firefighters.

The Perks:

Getting to serve and protect your community! Imagine saving someone’s life by pulling him from a burning building. Or simply rescuing a cat stuck in a tree! Every day you get to help someone in different ways. Being a firefighter is about making a difference when it truly counts.


The Impact:

Firefighters are very important figures in every community. Here, is a video showing how firefighters made a recent positive impact:

Make Your Move:

What can you do to get started as a firefighter? Here are some resources to get you going:

  • Heroes come in many different forms. Some might consider firefighter’s local heroes in their community. Here are some awesome quotes on bravery and strength.
  • Curious about becoming a firefighter? Read about Curious George’s adventure with the firefighters!
  • Visit your local Fire Station. Here are some questions to ask!
  • Find a CPR class at the American Red Cross or other agency offering training. Having a CPR card can increase your chances of going on ride-along exercises with the firefighters.
  • Is your family safe at home? Make sure your home has a fire escape plan!
  • Find out if you could escape this simulated fire situation!
  • Service is the sacrifice of one’s own desires, time, and energy to benefit others. Here are some great quotes about serving others.
  • Wondering where you can begin? Start practicing fire safety now!
  • Join a Junior Firefighter Camp or Academy! It includes teamwork exercises and learning what it takes to become a firefighter. You can find out more here.

What is your dream job when you grow up?

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