Requirements to Be a State of Illinois Firefighter


Becoming a firefighter in Illinois is a rigorous process but one that is well worth it for those who want to take this very important career path. Since many steps are involved, it helps to start working on becoming an Illinois firefighter right after finishing high school.


  • In most areas of Illinois, you must be 21 years old to become a firefighter, although a few communities will accept applicants who are at least 18 years old. For full-time employment as a firefighter, you must be between the ages of 21 and 35 years old.


  • A high school diploma or its equivalent is the minimum requirement, although having a specialized bachelor's or associate's degree will increase your chances as an applicant. Attend a university or college that has fire science or emergency medical technician programs.

Probationary Period

  • All firefighters in Illinois undergo a one-year probabtionary period that starts the day they are hired. During this period, most firefighters work toward earning the certifications required in their communities.


  • Illinois firefighters must obtain the following certifications from their area: Paramedic or EMT-B and Firefighter II. In addition, some communities require that firefighters become state-certified paramedics or emergency medical technicians.


  • As part of the hiring process, Illinois firefighters have to go through different types of testing: agility tests, psychological exams, background checks, polygraph testing and drug testing.

Additional Requirements

  • In some parts of Illinois, firefighters are required to be a resident in order to join the department, or become one. Also, to become a certified firefighter in Illinois, one must be a current member of an agency providing emergency or fire services.

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