Guide to Become a Firefighter in Indiana

According to 2016 statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration, 1,000 fires in the state of Indiana resulted in 2.8 deaths and 8.6 injuries. This is on average similar to the national fire statistics where 1,000 fire incidents resulted in 2.4 deaths and 9.3 injuries.

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In order to prevent the occurrences of fire, including arson and protect its residents, the state of Indiana employs a large firefighting force comprising of more than 7,000 firefighters. To join the ranks of firefighters in Indiana, you will have to complete the steps mentioned below:

Step 1: Meet the Educational Requirements

The minimum educational requirements to become a firefighter in the state of Indiana is a high school diploma or GED. Having said that, you will only be hired with a high school diploma if you are committed to getting a college degree later on.

Step 2: Get an EMT Certification

You will also have to get EMT certification before you apply for the position of a firefighter in Indiana. On top of that, you will also need a Firefighter I/II certification.

Step 3: Get the CPAT

To become a firefighter in Indiana, you will also need to get CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) certificate.

Step 4: Clear the Hiring Requirements

If your job application is selected, you will be asked to come in and go through a strict hiring process. While every fire department has its own hiring criteria, there are certain general steps you will have to complete. For example, you will have to sit through a written exam and an interview. You will also have to clear a background check, mental and physical examinations, drug screening, etc.

Step 5: Graduate from a Fire Academy

The last step of the process will be about graduating from a fire academy where you will get training about putting out fires, the safety protocols, and the use of fire equipment, etc.
If you want to join their ranks then continue reading.

How to Become a Firefighter in Indiana
How to Become a Firefighter in Indiana

Requirements to Become a Firefighter in Indiana

The following are some of the basic requirements, which if met, may qualify you to proceed to the next level in the hiring process. Candidates:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age at the time of applying but not more than 36 years of age by date of appointment
  • Must be US citizens or legally allowed to work in the US
  • Must hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Must have a clean criminal record with no felony convictions
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license

If you fulfill the above mentioned basic requirements then the hiring process proceeds further in the following order:

Written Test

A timed test (3.5 hours), which assesses your problem solving, memorization, reading comprehension and basic math skills.


A business interview conducted by a board of three people. This oral interview lasts approximately 20 minutes.

Candidates Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

This is a vigorous, timed physical test. The date, time and venue for the test will be notified to you in advance. Once you are at the site, you’ll have the option of participating in two open practice sessions and two one-on-one sessions before you are asked to take the actual test. You don’t have to participate in these, but it is highly recommended that you do for the sake of passing this test. If you are in a good physical shape than your chances of passing this test are high.

Background Investigation

Once you have passed CPAT, you will be fingerprinted and go through a thorough background investigation. Your criminal and driving history will be checked. Not all cities in Indiana check an applicant’s credit history. Those with a felony conviction are automatically excluded from the hiring process. References that you may have provided may also be contacted. This step alone may take weeks to process.

Aerial Climb

If your fingerprints and background check turn up clean, you will be asked to do aerial climb. This event is timed. If you make the climb up and down in the allotted time, you’ll proceed to the next step.

Conditional Offer of Employment

Upon successful completion of all the previous steps, you may be given a conditional offer of employment. However, be mindful of the fact that this offer doesn’t come with schedule or time of your fire training. For that, your employer will notify you by mail. So keep a look out for the dates for joining a fire academy.

Medical and Psychological Exam

The psychological exam is the MMPI and takes approximately two hours to complete. Once the results are in, the candidate sits with a licensed psychologist for an interview. The psychologist gives his/her recommendations on the candidate’s suitability for the job. The medical exam on the other hand is conducted by a licensed physician in which a candidate’s previous medical history is reviewed and current health is assessed based on blood and urine tests, hearing/vision, body fat and treadmill tests. Once the results are in, the physician makes his/her recommendations. If a candidate is recommended for employment at this stage by both the physician and the psychologist then he/she is given an unconditional offer of employment.


May 2017 Indiana wide statistics taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) state that the annual mean salary of firefighters was $47,980.

How Much Do Firefighters Earn in Indiana?

May 2017 Indiana wide statistics taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) state that the annual mean salary of firefighters was $47,980.

Career Outlook

As mentioned above, the state of Indiana employs a large firefighting force comprising of more than 7,000 firefighters. The number according to the BLS (as of May 2017) is 7,600. The national job growth rate in this field is 7 percent, which means that there will be about 23,500 new jobs in this field from 2016 to 2026. This is for the entire United States. Since jobs will steadily grow in this field, therefore there will always be vacancies for those with potential for exceptional firefighting skills.

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