- Should I Become a Firefighter in Chicago?
- Steps to Become a Firefighter in Chicago
- Career Opportunities for Firefighters in Chicago
- Eligibility Requirements for Chicago Fire Personnel
- How Long Is Needed to Join the Chicago Fire Department (CFD)
- What Salary Is Paid to a Firefighter in Chicago
- Chicago Firefighters Future Job Prospects
Should I Become a Firefighter in Chicago?
Firefighters put their lives at risk to put out fires. They are normally the first people at the site whenever a fire breaks out. Yes, they wear protective gear and use the best equipment, but the job of a firefighter is still full of risks. 17,180 firefighters were working in the state of Illinois in 2019 as per the data by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
|Education Required||High school education or an equivalent GED will suffice.|
|Training||Fire Academy Training is needed.|
|Licenses/Certifications||EMT and CRT Certification.|
|Key Skills/Qualities||Physical Stamina, Strong Decision Making, Quick Thinking, etc.|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National||$54,650|
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||6%|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019) –Illinois||$58,170|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps to Become a Firefighter in Chicago
The Chicago Fire Department (CFD) is one of the largest public service departments among the 1,108 Illinois fire units listed at the National Fire Department Registry. The CFD is always striving to keep the numbers of fire fatalities down. If you believe you have something to offer to this great organization, you have to complete the following steps:
All aspiring firefighters in Chicago must have at least a high school diploma or an equivalent GED certificate.
You will also have to obtain a valid Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certificate.
To become a firefighter in Chicago, you will also have to pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT).
The next step is to apply for the job at the fire station of your choice.
Every fire department has its own screening process. Generally, all aspiring firefighters have to clear a written test, an interview, a background examination, drug screening, medical examination, and a psychological evaluation.
Once you clear all the steps mentioned above, you will have to take part in training at an approved fire academy. The training duration varies from fire department to fire department.
Career Opportunities for Firefighters in Chicago
- Specialist Fire Equipment Personnel
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Fire Investigator (Employed by Insurance Agencies)
- Fire Safety Expert
Eligibility Requirements for Chicago Fire Personnel
Following are the eligibility requirements:
- Must be at least 21 years old
- Must have completed high school. This is the minimum educational requirement for becoming a firefighter in Chicago. If you don’t have a high school diploma (HSD), then the equivalent GED certificate is acceptable too
- Must possess a valid Illinois driving license. If you don’t have one at the time of applying, then you will have to obtain one by the time of appointment
- Must hold legal American nationality, be it on the basis of naturalization or birth
- Must not be a convicted felon nor have any other kind of criminal record anywhere in the United States
- Must be a resident of Chicago. This is not mandatory when applying. However, once appointed to the firefighting force, all employees are obligated to live within the Chicago city limits
- Must clear the Chicago civil service test. This is a written assessment designed to evaluate candidates’ proficiency in reading comprehension, basic mathematics, vocabulary and grammar
- Must obtain a good score on the Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT)
- Must clear all background checks
How Long Is Needed to Join the Chicago Fire Department (CFD)?
The CFD’s firefighter training program is usually 6 to 7 months long. On top of that, the initial screening and applicant shortlisting process takes a few months. So, you will need about 8 to 12 months to become a part of the Chicago Fire Department, depending on the availability of the positions.
What Salary Is Paid to a Firefighter in Chicago?
According to the City of Chicago, a Firefighter/EMT has an annual salary starting from $50,490.
Chicago Firefighters Future Job Prospects
O*Net Online has predicted a 4% increase in firefighting jobs in Illinois for the decade from 2016 to 2026. You can expect opportunities with CFD to increase at a similar rate. Moreover, the national average for firefighter employment growth during this time is expected to be 7%.