Should I Become a Firefighter in Houston?

There are many people who aspire to become firefighters and while it is their passion to save lives, they also want to know more about the job and the benefits of this career. Professionally speaking, firefighters get to help community, get to practice leadership skills, and learn how to deal with difficult situations. Among other things, firefighters enjoy job security as communities and states need these brave men and women in emergency situations.

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If you are passionate about serving the community and protecting the residents of your city, then joining the firefighting profession would be an ideal choice for you. The entire process is lengthy and complex – this guide will help you understand how to become a firefighter in Houston.

Education RequiredPostsecondary nondegree award
TrainingFirefighter Training Academy
Licenses/CertificationsEMT and CRT Certification.
Key Skills/QualitiesQuick Response, Physical Fitness, Resilience, Critical Thinking, Teamwork, Courage, Public Safety and Security
Job Outlook – Texas (2020 – 2030)14%
Annual Mean Salary – Texas (2021)$ 53,310 per year

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) and O*Net Online

Steps to Become a Firefighter in Houston

Step 1: Fill in the Recruiting Interest Form and Online Application

Go to the official website of the Houston Fire Department and fill in the interest form. Once you have submitted this form, you will be notified about the exam date. When the exam date is announced, you can submit an online application to take the Civil Service Exam.

Step 1: Appear for the Civil Service Exam

You will be expected to take the Houston Fire Department Civil Service Exam. This exam will test your reasoning and problem solving skills, and will cover a reading portion and a mathematics portion. You will be required to bring along valid photo identification or a driver’s license to be able to sit for the exam.

Step 3: Clear the Screening Tests

If you pass the written exam, you will have to fill out the pre-screening application form. You will also have to undergo the physical ability test, a medical exam, a polygraph test and a drug screening test.

Step 4: Take Part in Fire Academy Training

Once you clear all the steps referred to above, you will have to participate in training at an approved fire academy. The training duration varies from fire department to fire department.

Requirements to Become a Firefighter in Houston

If you are applying for a Non-Certified Firefighter/EMT Trainee position, you need to meet the following requirements to take the Civil Service Exam:

  • 24 transferrable college credit hours with a minimum ‘C’ grade
  • 18 years of age at the time of applying
  • 2 years of active military service with an honorable discharge
  • Valid driver’s license; 2 or less violations in the past 36 months

If you are applying for a Certified Firefighter/EMT Trainee position, you need to meet the following requirements to take the Civil Service Exam:

  • Texas Department of State Health Service Certification (EMT) – Basic or Higher
  • Texas Commission Fire Protection – Basic or Higher
  • 15 transferrable college credit hours with a minimum ‘C’ grade
  • 18 years of age at the time of applying
  • Valid driver’s license; 2 or less violations in the past 36 months

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in Houston?

After 2-4 years of education, the Houston’s firefighter training program is usually 6 to 7 months long. On top of that, the initial screening and applicant shortlisting process can take a few months. So, you will need about 8 to 12 months after studies to become a part of the Houston Fire Department, depending on the availability of the positions.

What Salary Do Firefighters in Houston Get?

With 29,530 firefighters as of May 2021, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, Texas ranks as the number one state with the most employed firefighters. In 2021, firefighters in Texas were earning an annual mean salary of $ 53,310. This figure is close to the national annual mean wage i.e $ 55,290 in 2021. Besides good salary, firefighters also get benefits like
• Paid sick leaves
• Paid holidays
• Workers’ Compensation
• Disability Package and Life insurance
• Health Insurance
• College tuition reimbursement
• Retirement plan

The following table shows the annual compensation received by firefighters in Houston:

Firefighter Trainee$28,024
Probationary Firefighter$40,170
1st Year Firefighter$43,528
2nd Year Firefighter$45,791

Choosing the Right Firefighting Degree

Before entering any field, it is important to learn about its potential growth, opportunities that are available, and of course, which educational path you should take. Firefighting is a challenging profession that requires a lot of physical training. Once you have determined that you are the right fit for the job, then you have to decide which educational route to take.
There is a fast-track way to become a firefighter, which requires finishing high school and then enrolling into firefighting academy. Due to the growing demand of firefighters now more and more states prefer a professional degree holder. An associate degree in fire science gives you a competitive edge and opportunities to climb up the hierarchy. There are many colleges and universities that offer certificates and degrees in Firefighting, Fire Science, and Fire Technology. Which one is best suited for you? We have compiled a list that will make degree selection easier for you.


Education Requirement/Career Goals





Associate’s Degree


Bachelor’s Degree


Master’s Degree


Online Program


A serving firefighter looking to enhance skills and knowledge. Fit coursework around a busy firefighting schedule.


Best Suited


Looking to start a professional career as a firefighter with the desire to learn about fire concepts from different perspectives. Want to avail different opportunities available and explore areas like fire prevention, fire science technology, investigation and analysis, and hazardous material handling.




Best Suited


Want to expand firefighting skills and knowledge, and ultimately earning capacity. Looking for a degree that covers different areas, focusing on material for entry-level and mid-level careers. To be in a position for career advancement and leadership roles.



Best Suited




Looking for educational advancement and desire to build on the prior knowledge developed through undergraduate program. Aiming for advanced credentials to explore leadership strategies, management techniques, and finance. Pursue higher level roles in departments like fire engineering, arson investigation, and fire protection. Work in leadership positions like battalion chief, fire chief, district chief, and fire commissioner.






Best Suited



Inspired by community service and significant role that firefighters play in saving lives and property. Want to learn the basics of firefighting and work in a fast-paced environment with quick access to training and skills development.


Best Suited