How to Become a Firefighter in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia experienced 0.4 deaths and 0.9 injuries per 1,000 fires in 2017 as opposed to the national averages of 2.3 and 9.3 respectively. Similarly, the residential structure fires caused an average 2.4 injuries and 0.0 deaths per 1,000 fires, as compared to the national averages of 24.5 and 6.1 respectively. With such stellar averages, there is no doubt that the fire departments in the state are doing some really great work! If you want to join in and contribute in keeping the state safe, here is all the information you would need on how to become a firefighter in the District of Columbia.

Requirements to Become a Firefighter in District of Columbia

The District of Columbia is home to 3 fire departments, registered with the National Fire Department Registry. According to the Fire and EMS Department, the following requirements are applicable to aspiring firefighters in the District of Columbia:

  • “Be a US citizen at the time of appointment
  • Have reached the age of 19 as of the date of application
  • Possess a current valid motor vehicle operator’s permit at the time of appointment
  • Possess a high school diploma or a certificate of equivalency (GED) issued by a recognized department of education
  • Pass the written firefighter/EMT entry-level examination
  • Pass a scheduled physical abilities test
  • Pass a thorough background check
  • Pass thorough medical and employment suitability assessment
  • Submit to urinalysis and test negative for the presence of controlled substances/illegal drugs
  • Be of high moral character and committed to public service”

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in District of Columbia

The amount of time it takes to become a firefighter in the District of Columbia depends on the educational path you take. If you choose to enter the field after a high school diploma, it will take you a minimum of 3 to 4 months. However, if you go for an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in fire studies or a related science, it may take you up to 4 to 5 years to be ready for fire academy training. The training, which happens after you are hired, takes an additional few months to complete.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in District of Columbia

The annual mean wage for firefighters in the District of Columbia was $73,850. This is significantly higher than the national mean of $53,240. Washington is the third highest paying state for firefighters, coming in after California and New Jersey. This data has been taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Outlook for Firefighters in District of Columbia

As per data from O*Net Online, the field of firefighters in Washington is expected to experience a growth of 11% in the years from 2016 to 2026. This is much higher than the national growth of 7% for the same time period.