One of the most amazing careers is Firefighting, but how do you get hired as a Firefighter?
My experience comes from thirteen years as a Firefighter Paramedic in the state of Florida. Each state has its own criteria and challenges when it comes to getting hired as a Firefighter. I am going to share with you the experiences and knowledge I have on how to differentiate yourself and stand out amongst the many applicants all fighting for a few spots in our local Fire Departments.
Minimum Fire Education
The basics to getting hired as a Firefighter in the state of Florida can all be found on the Florida Chief Financial Officer’s website, where a list of eligibility requirements must be met, and basic education needs to be obtained. The summation is that one must go to an accredited Fire Academy and become Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 certified for professional employment. This course takes approximately six months to complete. You will then be prepared to take the state Firefighter written test and practical portions to obtain your “Fire Ticket.”
Emergency Medical Training
In the state of Florida, with minimal exceptions, you will also be expected to assist in Emergency Medical calls at an EMT-Basic or Paramedic level. We don’t just fight fires, you know. To many, this is a gratifying portion of our jobs and requires six months to a year if becoming a Paramedic. These certifications are overseen by the Florida Department of Health.
Your Constant Interview
Along the way, during these classes, you will be networking and learning tons more information about different agencies and expectations. The entire time you will be building a name for yourself with local educators who also typically work in the local agencies you will be wanting to apply to. Work hard, show dedication, and realize the Firefighting world is way smaller than it appears.
How To Apply
Firefighting in Florida is different than most industries; most departments, as of this article, are utilizing an agency called National Testing Network, which offers Fire Team and CPAT testing. Fire departments will reach out to the (NTN) and pick off lists of qualified candidates based on your test score ranking on the Fire Team and CPAT tests. So pass these tests well, and put in your application to all available agencies you are looking to work for.
How To Be Competitive
All of the above is only entry-level admission to the table to interview; in my years of service, I have seen candidates who go above and beyond the minimum. This can be done by taking online courses or blended in-person courses like the ones offered with Couch Courses.
Any additional certifications you can produce while interviewing is advantageous to increase your chances of being hired!
Standing Out In the Crowd
I have seen candidates walk into an interview with a resume, all of their certifications, and additional classes in a bound folder. Talk about standing out! Previous Couch Courses Blogs talk about their course offerings and the advantages of each class; the link I am sharing reiterates many points I made here in this post.
Brendan Betancourt is the owner of Sales Lift, a Firefighter Paramedic, Educator, father, and husband living in Englewood, Florida.