How to Become a Firefighter in Alabama

Firefighters undergo extensive training before getting to suit up.
Firefighters undergo extensive training before getting to suit up. (Image: Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Carefully consider whether to pursue a career in firefighting, because it is one of the most hazardous positions available. It requires superior physical fitness, specialized knowledge and a willingness to give your life for another. Local communities in Alabama determine firefighter qualifications; however, certain requirements are similar from community to community. Job growth for firefighters is expected to remain above average from 2008 to 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Obtain your high school diploma or GED. This is the minimum educational requirement to become a firefighter in most localities, according to the BLS. In some cases, a community college education is also required. Taking courses in fire science or fire safety can help enhance your resume. Offering degree programs in either fire safety or emergency response training are: John C. Calhoun State Community College in Tanner, Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham and Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa. Basic emergency response training is necessary to take the entry-level course offered at Alabama Fire College.

Complete EMT or paramedic training. This training is available at various institutions around the state and will prepare you to provide basic emergency medical care. Schools offering either EMT or paramedic training in the state of Alabama include Jefferson State College, the University of South Alabama and Alabama Fire College.

Obtain firefighter training through Alabama Fire College and Personnel Standards Commission. The college, located in Tuscaloosa, offers different types of training for all levels of firefighters. The entry level course is Firefighter I/II, requiring the completion of 360 hours of total training. You must be at least age 18, have a valid driver's license and your high school diploma or GED. You also need to complete basic EMT training and pass a physical fitness test as a prerequisite to starting the program. The class typically takes about two months to complete. Coursework includes classroom lecture and drill exercises culminating with a certification exam. Once you pass the exam, you can begin working as a firefighter.

Seek and apply for positions with local firefighting units. If you are willing to relocate, you can check with other communities throughout Alabama and whether additional training or education is needed.

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