Guide to Become a Firefighter in Indiana

Firefighting is a profession that requires bravery, physical strength, and quick thinking. It involves risking one’s life to save others and protect property from fires and other disasters. Becoming a firefighter is a dream for many and Indiana offers a range of training programs to help aspiring firefighters achieve their goals.

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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

Factors to Consider to Become a Firefighter in Indiana

To become a firefighter in Indiana, aspiring candidates should consider the following factors:

  • Physical fitness and mental preparedness
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Willingness to take risks and work in unpredictable environments
  • Completion of required training programs and certification exams
  • Possession of a valid driver’s license and clean driving record
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check and drug test

Skills Required to Become a Firefighter

To become a firefighter, candidates must possess the following skills:

  • Physical fitness: Carrying heavy equipment and working in dangerous and unpredictable environments requires a high level of physical fitness.
  • Communication skills: Effective communication is crucial in emergency situations to coordinate with fellow firefighters and other emergency responders.
  • Problem-solving ability: Quick and effective decision-making during a crisis is essential to protect lives and property.
  • Teamwork: Cooperation and collaboration with other firefighters are necessary to achieve firefighting goals.
  • Attention to detail: Careful attention to detail ensures that all equipment is in good working order and that all safety protocols are followed.

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.


Indiana offers a variety of training programs for firefighters, including:

  • Indiana Firefighter Training System (IFTS): Provides basic and advanced firefighter training, as well as specialized training for hazardous materials, technical rescue, and other specialized areas.
  • Firefighter I and Firefighter II certification programs: Offered by the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office to provide training in firefighting tactics, safety procedures, and equipment use.
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training: Provides medical training for firefighters who want to provide medical assistance at emergency scenes.

How Much Do Firefighters Earn in Indiana?

Firefighting is a noble profession, but it’s also important to consider the financial aspect of the job. The annual mean wage for firefighters in Indiana is $53,490 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021). However, it’s important to note that several factors can affect a firefighter’s salary range. These factors include the number of years of experience, education level, location, and type of employer. For instance, firefighters working for the government may have a different salary range than those working for the private sector. Therefore, it’s crucial for aspiring firefighters to research and understand these factors to make informed decisions about their career paths.

Career Outlook

According to O*Net Online data, the projected growth rate for firefighters in Indiana is 9% between 2020 and 2030. Firefighting can be a good career path for individuals interested in public service and helping others. Top-level roles in firefighting, such as Fire Chief or Fire Marshal, typically require many years of experience and additional training and education. Aspiring firefighters can work towards these roles by gaining experience, completing advanced training, and pursuing higher education in fields related to firefighting and emergency management.

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