How to Become a Firefighter in the Military

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The United States divides its military into four branches: Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. All four branches utilize firefighters in a number of roles. Servicemen and servicewomen in this career put out fires on board ships, aircrafts and in structures. Military firefighters also help perform emergency medical services, such as CPR, and they also assist crews responding to hazardous materials removal and contamination.

Things You'll Need

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Valid driver's license
  • Decide which branch of the service you would like to join. Each branch of the military demands different requirements for its firefighters. For example, naval firefighters and fire marshals might have to serve on board ships, which might dissuade some candidates from choosing this branch of the service. You can explore military firefighting career options at the military’s website.

  • Talk to a recruiter. After you’ve selected which branch of the service you would like to join, go and speak with a recruiter of that branch. Ask questions about your chances of becoming a firefighter, what types of specific training you will need and what score is acceptable on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), the military's entrance examination.

  • Study for and take the ASVAB. While each branch of the military lets enrollees choose a career path, the services do set standards for each Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). For instance, while you only need to score a 31 on the ASVAB to join the Army, to become an Army firefighter you will need to score a 90 or higher.

  • Enlist in the military. Once you’ve made your decision and have spoken to a recruiter, you can sign up for service. Your recruiter will then determine the date on which you will arrive at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).

  • Go to the MEPS. Here, you’ll receive a physical, get sworn in as a soldier and choose your MOS as a military firefighter.

  • Complete Basic Training. Basic training consists of learning basic soldiering techniques, such as how to shoot a weapon and hand-to-hand combat.

  • Attend firefighter school. Each branch of the military conducts its firefighting training at a certain base or location. For instance, the Army trains its firefighters during an 11-week protocol at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas.

Tips & Warnings

  • Get in shape. No matter which branch of the service you join, in order to become a military firefighter, you will need to pass the basic training specific to each branch. While the military has recently changed its basic training conditioning protocols to put less emphasis on long-distance running, you will still need to pass strict physical requirements in order to graduate from basic training. Additionally, the military has set higher standards of physical requirements for becoming a firefighter, and you will need to meet or exceed these standards in order to move on to firefighting training school.
  • Please note that certain physical conditions (such as colorblindness) will prevent you from becoming a military firefighter. Check with your recruiter to see which conditions would invalidate your ability to become a firefighter and then see a doctor to determine if you suffer from any of these conditions.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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