Boston,MA: How to Become a Firefighter
The Boston Fire Department is one of 363 firefighting units listed with the National Fire Department Registry in Massachusetts. This organization of committed and hardworking professionals toils every day to keep people of the city safe during fires and other emergencies. The department is one of the first responders to emergencies like fires, technical rescues and road accidents, etc.
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In 2020, Massachusetts suffered 1.3 casualties for every 1,000 fires in the state. This was below the national average of 2.3 for the same period. The Boston Fire Department played a big part in keeping these numbers down.
Interested in joining them, here is all the information you need.
Criteria for Joining the Boston Fire Department
You must fulfill the criteria outlined below to join the ranks of Boston’s bravest:
- Must be at least 19 at the time of application. You must also be younger than 32 by the time you take the Boston Civil Service Exam
- Must have a valid Massachusetts driver’s ID
- Must be a resident of Boston for at least a year before taking the test. Residents are generally preferred over non-residents
- Must not be a smoker
- Must pass the Boston Civil Service Exam for firefighters. It consists of a written test and a physical evaluation.
- Clear all background checks
- Pass the drugs test and medical screening
- Clear the psychological exam
- Obtain Firefighter 1 and 2 certifications (during the one year probationary period after completion of training)
- Obtain EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certification.
Best Firefighting Programs in Boston, MA
There are several highly rated firefighting programs in the Boston, MA area. Here are a few of the top options:
Massachusetts Firefighting Academy
This academy is located in Stow, MA and offers firefighting certification courses for both new and experienced firefighters.
Boston Fire Academy
The Boston Fire Academy provides firefighting training and certification for the Boston Fire Department, but also offers courses to outside agencies.
Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Cooperative
This cooperative provides firefighting training and certification to firefighters from across the state of Massachusetts.
North Shore Community College Fire Science Program
North Shore Community College in Danvers, MA offers an Associate in Science degree in Fire Science, as well as a certificate program in firefighting.
Middlesex Community College Fire Science Program
Middlesex Community College in Bedford, MA offers a certificate program in firefighting, as well as an Associate in Science degree in Fire Science.
It’s worth noting that some fire departments in the Boston area have their own training programs and may only hire individuals who have completed their specific training regimen.
How Long Is Needed to Become a Boston Firefighter?
Depending upon the availability of open positions, you will need about 1 year to become a fire professional in Boston. After applying, you will have to take the Boston State Civil Service Exam which normally takes place every 2 years (the next one is scheduled for 2020).
This is part of the Boston Fire Department’s candidate screening and selection procedure which takes a few months to complete. Once you come through this phase, you will have to undergo training at the Boston Fire Academy which is about 6 months long.
How Much Do Firefighters Make in Boston?
As of 2023, the salary of a firefighter in Massachusetts is $65,000. This is according to the information made available on the City of Boston website. The following benefits are also offered:
- Health insurance (various options available)
- 13 paid leaves a year
- 15 sick days every year with the facility to buyback at retirement
- Paid vacations
- Inclusion in the Boston Retirement System with the choice to retire at 55 (or older)
- Option to become a part of the Boston Firefighter Credit Union
Career Prospects for Boston Firefighters
O*Net Online predicts firefighting jobs in Massachusetts to increase by 8% in the 10 years from 2020 to 2030. As the capital and one of the largest cities in the state, Boston will be location of a considerable number of these new vacancies. Moreover, firefighting jobs will grow by 4% across the country during this time.