Firefighting is a profession that requires courage, quick thinking, and a willingness to put oneself in harm’s way to protect others. It’s a job that attracts individuals who are driven by a desire to serve their community and make a positive difference in the world. If you’re looking for a career that challenges you both mentally and physically, and allows you to help others in their time of need, then firefighting might be the perfect fit for you.

To become a firefighter in Florida, there are certain prerequisites you must meet. These can include a high school diploma or GED, passing a physical agility test, and completing a certified firefighter training program. Additionally, candidates must possess a valid driver’s license and have a clean criminal record.

What makes firefighting a great profession in Florida is the diversity of the state. Florida is home to a wide range of communities, from small towns to bustling cities, and firefighters are needed in every one of them. Furthermore, Florida’s warm climate means that there is a higher risk of wildfires and other natural disasters, creating a high demand for trained firefighters who can respond to emergencies quickly and efficiently.

4 Steps Guide to Become a Firefighter in Florida

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With over 21 million residents, Florida is the third largest state in the United States. According to 2016 statistics published on the U.S. Fire Administration’s website, the State of Florida reported 2.1 deaths and 12.6 injuries out of all 1,000 fires reported in the state. These numbers are of a great concern to Floridians since the US wide average for deaths and injuries for 1,000 fires is 2.4 and 9.3 respectively. In the light of this, the role of firefighters in Florida assumes even more importance.
Please note that every fire department will have its own requirements for aspiring firefighters. Below are some general steps you will have to complete to become a firefighter in the state of Florida.

Step 1: Get a High School Diploma

Some states in the US might require candidates to have a college degree to become a firefighter but most states just require a high school diploma as the minimum educational requirement. An alternative GED certificate is acceptable as well.

Step 2: Get EMT Certification

In order to become a firefighter in the state of Florida, you will also have to get an EMT certification. The Emergency Medical Technician certificate equips firefighters to provide emergency medical care to rescued or injured people, since they are normally the first respondents every time a fire breaks out.

Step 3: Clear the Hiring Process

Once your job application is approved, you will be asked to clear a few mandatory steps of the hiring process. You will need to clear a thorough background check, physical as well as psychological examinations, and drug screening. You will also need a CPAT to make the cut.

Step 4: Complete Training

Once you have navigated through the hiring process successfully, you will be sent to a fire academy to complete fire academy training. This is a mandatory requirement.

How to Become a Firefighter in Florida
How to Become a Firefighter in Florida

How Hard Is It Be a Firefighter in Florida?

Since the job of a firefighter is a tough one, it is not easy to become one. All aspiring candidates should be extremely physically fit for starters. Then, they have to go through a very strict hiring process and fire academy training where they are taught how to combat raging fires and minimize damage.

Requirements to Become a Firefighter in Florida

Be mindful of the fact that the set of requirements to become a firefighter in Florida often vary from city to city. Therefore treat the following list as a general guideline. Furthermore, the requirements to become a firefighter in Florida are sometime the same as those of EMT or fire medic.

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • High school graduate or its equivalent
  • Holding a valid driver’s license
  • Clean criminal history with no misdemeanor and felony conviction
  • Meet and maintain departmental requirements of physical and mental health
  • A bona fide resident of the county where the application is being submitted
  • No use of illegal drugs and no abuse of prescription drugs one year prior to submission of the application
  • Possession of a current State of Florida Emergency Medical Technician Certification and a current State of Florida Firefighter Certification or Paramedic Certification (Fire Medics)

How to Apply

Once the prerequisites to filing an application to become a firefighter in Florida are fulfilled, follow these steps:

  • Visit your future employer’s official website and submit an application online with valid Firefighter/EMT and Paramedic certifications attached
  • Complete CPAT and NTN Fire Team Testing at National Testing Network

Once your application is approved, it is likely that you will be called for further tests, including but not limited to:

Physical Ability Test/Fire Team Testing

It is a series of tasks representing what firefighters do on daily basis at work. You will be asked to undergo the same routine to gauge a realistic assessment of your suitability for the job. Once you clear this stage, you will be put on the department’s eligibility list. When the hiring process starts, the department will review all the names on the eligibility list and contact them for participation in other stages of the hiring process.

Fire Academy

Once you have cleared all the stages, you will start your training at a designated fire academy. The duration of the program will vary but is likely to last from four to six months, if not more. The curriculum will be based on classroom-based learning as well as practical learning. Fire academies tend to have a burn tower where recruits apply in practice what they have learned in classroom.
During the course of your training, you are likely to learn about search and rescue, emergency vehicle driving, advanced airway training, CPR, tools and ropes, ladders, pump operator training and vehicle extrication, etc.

How Hard Is It to Be a Firefighter in Florida?

Being a firefighter is a physically and mentally demanding job, and the same holds true for Florida. Firefighters in Florida must be able to perform strenuous tasks such as carrying heavy equipment, climbing ladders, and working in extreme temperatures. Additionally, they must be able to make quick decisions and work well under pressure in emergency situations. The training and certification process can also be challenging, but with dedication and hard work, anyone can become a firefighter in Florida.

How Much Do Firefighters Earn in Florida

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021), the annual mean wage for firefighters in Florida is $53,480. However, firefighters can ensure more stability and a better salary by pursuing higher education and certification, such as becoming a paramedic or a fire inspector. Additionally, many fire departments offer benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Some fire departments also offer perks such as gym memberships and tuition reimbursement programs.

Job Prospects

According to O*Net Online, the job outlook for firefighters in Florida is positive, with a projected 7% growth between 2020 and 2030. This growth is expected to result in 1,630 projected annual openings for the same period. Firefighters can progress in their careers by pursuing advanced education and certification, such as becoming a fire captain or a fire chief. They can also improve their skills and qualifications by participating in ongoing training programs and continuing education courses.

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