What Kind of Training Does a Firefighter Need?


A firefighter deals with both controlled and uncontrolled fires. This can be a dangerous profession and therefore, proper training is required before a person can become a firefighter. The firefighting training in itself is like a full-time job, since the training can get very intense.

Where can you train?

  • Firefighting training is usually conducted at a fire academy run by the fire department, a university or through a division of the state government. The training involves a lot of academic coursework, apart from simulations and practical firefighting training. However, the coursework always commences with theoretical studies.

Curriculum of Training

  • The trainees study English, mathematics, chemistry and physics. Simultaneously, students are also taught fire science with respect to real-life situations of fire and destruction. Apart from this, to make the training well-rounded, trainees are also taught effective communications skills and communication at times of emergency.

Hours of Training

  • Before a trainees can become an active duty firefighter, she must spend at least 600 hours of training, over the period of three to four months. To complete this, a professional has to log about 48 hours of training on the job. The training occurs at a fire academy under the supervision of a trained firefighter.


  • Though the requirements may vary from one fire department to another, there are some typical requirements which must be followed. The foremost requirement is for the incumbent to be of legal adult age of 18 or 21, whichever is applicable. Apart from this, a high school diploma or equivalent is necessary. Many fire departments may require a college education, too. The incumbent should be physically fit, have a vision of 20/20 and should have a clean criminal record.

Other Requirements

  • Firefighting is a challenging and competitive field. Out of thousands of applications, only a few are selected every year. A lot of applicants obtain an emergency medical technician or paramedic certification before applying for firefighting positions, in order to increase their chances for selection. The applicants also have to take three examinations--a written examination, a physical ability test and an aptitude test.

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