How To Become A Firefighter In Florida | FirefighterNOW (2022)

Thousands of people are drawn to Florida, and this leaves many asking how to become a firefighter in Florida.

Families will come here to raise their kids and enjoy lifein a sunnier state. Retirees will relocate here in their Golden years to enjoythe laid-back nature of the area. Then there are all of the tourists that cometo the coasts, national parks and major attractions here.

Such a vast population means that there is a high demand forskilled firefighters across all departments. So, how can you become a member ofthe Florida fire service?

Table of Contents

How to Become aFirefighter in Florida

  • 18 yearsold
  • Highschool diploma or GED
  • ValidFlorida driver’s license
  • State ofFlorida Firefighter Certificate of Compliance
  • Paramedicor EMT Basic Certificate by the State of Florida

As you can see, the minimum requirements here are about asstraightforward as they get concerning age and background.

Departments will check your criminal and employment records too and require a drug test.

Departments here aren’t fans of tobacco use so it is best toquit now to avoid lengthening the application process.

In this guide on how to become a firefighter in Florida, Iwill look at some of the training options and major fire departments in thestate. This is important for all new recruits as the more you understand yourarea and its needs, the better able you are to serve.

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Firefighting in Florida

Florida changes dramatically depending on which part of thestate you are in. So many regions have their own identities, demographics andrisk factors.

In one corner, you have the Everglades and the other thetourist paradise of Miami. There are all kinds of communities from theretirement complexes up to the towns and cities in the Panhandle.

Then, of course, there is Orlando and all the attractionsthere. Each city needs a fire department that can handle the challenges itbrings. New applicants need to be prepared for what awaits them.

This means not only understanding what lies within thejurisdiction and its climate, but also means a willingness to learn new skillsand train on the job. Those that can do this will go far.

Let’s take a closer look at those communities and the challenges they bring.

Challenges for Firefightersin Florida

Thousands of seniors relocate to the sunnier climate of Floridaand its dedicated retirement villages.

These well-maintained gated areas provide everything thatseniors need for a relaxed way of life. The scale of these developments and thepublic safety risks of older residents means that Florida needs skilled fireand EMS staff on hand to look after them.

The Villages is one of the largest communities in Floridawith 140,000 people living in five cities over three counties. This is an areaof 55 square miles.

The Villages Fire Rescue provides care and support acrossthis vast area. It also looks after the few family’s communities and schoolswithin its jurisdiction.

In 2018, they handled 25,000 calls, 58% of which were medical emergencies. This is why it is so important that firefighters here get their EMT certification as soon as possible. Learn more about the department here.

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A major concern for health and safety in Florida is theprevalence of major hurricanes and tropical storms. Many that make landfall inthe US tend to hit the coast of Florida first and do so with a devastatingimpact.

Therefore, fire departments the length of the state need tobe prepared to handle the aftermath of the weather. This means helping those inflooded areas, dealing with damaged structures and offering aid in cut-offcommunities.

The more hurricanes that develop, the more resources andman-power is needed. That is where it is so important that Florida fire departmentsare trained in all kinds of specialist skills.

Another consideration for those learning how to become afirefighter in Florida is that there is the chance of being sent out to othercommunities or even to the Caribbean islands.

This happened recently as Florida crews relocated to theBahamas to help out in Nassau.

Again, advanced training in communications and strategies are vital here because you need to be able to work with new departments and agencies in a new location.

The diversity of Florida and the challenges it brings fornew firefighters continues at the tourist attractions.

Florida is home to both Universal Studios and Cape Canaveral– among many others. Both sites have their own departments dedicated toprotecting the area in case of fire, medical emergencies and other major risksto life.

They can be interesting places to work for those that wantto follow a more specific passion. The Cape Canaveral service also looks afterPort Canaveral and other marine areas so needs firefighters with good marineand dive rescue training.

They also run a lot of outreach programs for the community. Find out more here.

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Finally, there are those that need support out in theEverglades, and this may sound like a more laid back option than Orlando orMiami.

However, there are still plenty of residents and business toprotect. There are also plenty of tourists that may get into difficulties outon the water. Firefighters stationed in this area need to understand waterrescue operations, fire suppression and hazardous material containment – amongother skills.

The port is at risk of fire, accidents and contaminations.Also, there is the risk of wildfire. Just this June, a massive fire in Sawgrassthat put the Everglades at risk. Port Everglades has a fire department on-siteand they expect crews to be able to handle chemical spills, truck rollovers,major fires and medical emergencies.

Learn more about the department and the services they provide here.

Fire Academies inFlorida

Wherever you choose to work or happen to reside in Florida, you need to make sure that you have the right training to meet the standards of the department. Most major towns and cities in Florida have some form of training program or fire academy available.

HCI has campuses in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale and offers a Fire Science course. This program helps those interested in progressing through a career in firefighting to gain the additional knowledge they need for the Fire Officer and II exams as well as the Fire Inspector exam. Learn more about the college here.

Valencia College:

This Orlando College offers a fire academy program that gives students the tools to handle the Firefighter I and II certificates.

From there, students can use their vocational credits to move onto an Associate degree in the field of Fire Science Technology. Requirements for enrollment are the same as to join the fire service itself. Learn more about the program here.

Major Fire Departmentsin Florida

I have already covered some of the more interesting firedepartments in the state when looking at The Villages, Cape Canaveral andUniversal Studios. But, we can’t forget about some of the other largedepartments in Florida.

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How to Become anOrlando, FL Firefighter

  • 18 yearsold
  • Highschool diploma or GED
  • ValidFlorida driver’s license
  • State ofFlorida Firefighter Certificate of Compliance
  • Paramedicor EMT Basic Certificate by the State of Florida
  • Notobacco use in the past 12 months

Orlando follows most of the same rules when it comes to age,residency and experience.

An additional consideration here is that they don’t takeanyone that has used tobacco products in the past year. The department is theonly one in Florida with an ISO 1 classification and it sets high standards forfire prevention, suppression and other specializations in the city.

You can learn more about the Orlando fire department here.

Job Prospects forFirefighters in Florida

As of 2018, Florida is the third-highest employer offirefighters with 22,690 and a high ratio of 2.64 per 1000 people.

The metropolitan area of Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West PalmBeach is the highest employer in the state with 7,020 and 2.71 per 1000 jobs.

Florida’s annual meanwage for firefighters was $53,340, which is significantly higher compared tothe rest of the country.

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes332011.htm#st

Getting into the fire service in Florida isn’t toodifficult. You can join from an early age and the hiring process isn’t toodifficult. T

he hard part comes when it is time to step-up within yourdepartment. You need to understand what it takes to work in your chosen area.That means understanding the population and risks as well as the skills neededfor the job.

If you have the passion to serve and can continue to learn,you should find that you can enjoy an exciting career as a Florida firefighter.

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FAQs

How To Become A Firefighter In Florida | FirefighterNOW? ›

Major Fire Departments in Florida
  1. 18 years old.
  2. High school diploma or GED.
  3. Valid Florida driver's license.
  4. State of Florida Firefighter Certificate of Compliance.
  5. Paramedic or EMT Basic Certificate by the State of Florida.
  6. No tobacco use in the past 12 months.

How long does it take to become a firefighter in Florida? ›

In the state of Florida, aspiring firefighters must take the state's Firefighter Minimum Standards Course in preparation for certification. The course is divided into 2 parts. The "Firefighter I" coursework comprises 206 of the required 398 hours of total training necessary to certification.

How much does it cost to become a firefighter in Florida? ›

Firefighter Program Estimated Expenses
Tuition - Florida Resident Rate
Firefighter I (191 Clock Hours)$488.96
Firefighter 2$445.00
One Time Costs
Application Fee for EFSC$30.00
13 more rows

How much do fire firefighters make in Florida? ›

The average salary for a firefighter is $45,293 per year in Florida. 51 salaries reported, updated at July 15, 2022.

How do I get my firefighter certification in Florida? ›

To be a career Firefighter in the State of Florida, an individual must submit an Application for Certification as a Firefighter II, and successfully complete the Firefighter Minimum Standards Course, or have received an equivalent amount of training in another state (or country), and pass the state written and ...

How many hours do firefighters work? ›

Working hours: full-time firefighters normally work a shift system comprising nine-hour days and 15-hour nights across four watches.

What's the oldest age to become a firefighter? ›

The age limit to become a firefighter is usually between 18 and 35. However, many departments have no upper age limit to apply. Read on to learn more about the age restrictions on becoming a firefighter. Just because you are over 35, that doesn't necessarily rule you out from becoming a firefighter.

How much do firemen make? ›

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average firefighter makes about $50,850 annually or $24.45 per hour.

What are the requirements to become a firefighter? ›

You'll need to:
  • pass a fitness test.
  • pass a medical check.
  • pass enhanced background checks.
  • have a full driving licence.
  • be over 18 years of age.

What are the benefits of becoming a firefighter? ›

The Advantages of Being a Firefighter
  • Physical fitness. Firefighters need to be physically fit in order to do their jobs. ...
  • Teamwork. People who enjoy working with a team may love working in the fire department. ...
  • Job security and pay. ...
  • Educational requirements. ...
  • Lifelong dream.
Dec 4, 2017

What do Firefighters do all day? ›

Throughout the day, Firefighters will respond to many different calls for service. Those calls may include structural fires, technical rescues, medical emergencies and hazardous material spills.

Who is the highest paid fire department? ›

The states and districts that pay Firefighters the highest mean salary are New Jersey ($86,880), California ($86,860), Washington ($77,700), New York ($77,380), and Hawaii ($68,590). How Much Do Firefighters Make in Your City?

How much does an emt firefighter make in Florida? ›

The average salary for a firefighter/emt is $43,297 per year in Florida. 64 salaries reported, updated at July 5, 2022.

How long does a Florida fire cert last? ›

(1) In order for a firefighter to retain her or his Firefighter Certificate of Compliance, every 4 years he or she must meet the requirements for renewal provided in this chapter and by rule, which must include at least one of the following: (a) Be active as a firefighter.

What's the difference between firefighter 1 and 2? ›

The Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 Certifications use job performance requirements to measure the knowledge and skills needed as a firefighter. The Firefighter 1 Certificate covers basic fire service qualifications, while the Firefighter 2 Certificate involves more specialized areas and command.

Do firefighters get to sleep? ›

Firefighters work for up to 24 hours at a time, but their downtime is spent at the fire station. This time affords them the chance to sleep, although they could be awoken at any time. To stay alert for the rest of their shift, firefighters will often power nap, which is known as safety napping among firefighters.

Do you need to know math to be a firefighter? ›

Firefighters need to use mental math when choosing how to attack a fire safely and avoid damaging the integrity of a building. Our degree program also trains firefighters to use a method called the Fire Flow Formula to determine how much water they will require to suppress a fire.

What is a Kelly shift? ›

Kelly Shift Schedule. DESCRIPTION: It consists of a 9-day cycle where each team works one 24-hour shift, followed by 24 hours off duty, works another 24-hour shift, followed by 24 hours off duty, then works a final 24-hour shift, followed by 4 consecutive days off duty.

How long does it take to train to be a firefighter? ›

All new firefighters are required to undergo extensive training that normally lasts between 12 and 16 weeks. Even firefighters who have been doing the job for a number of years are required to do ongoing training to ensure they're at the top of their game.

Is becoming a firefighter hard? ›

It's really difficult to become a firefighter. A constant story from many firefighters is that it can take many attempts before you're successful. You need to find out when the fire service you're considering to apply to is likely to have its next recruitment period.

How much do firemen make? ›

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average firefighter makes about $50,850 annually or $24.45 per hour.

What qualifications do you need to be a firefighter? ›

Qualifications. You don't need any particular qualifications to become a firefighter, however you'll be expected to pass English and Maths tests at a GCSE Grade C level (or equivalent).

If you are based out of Florida and want to work as a fireman in the state, you must complete equivalent hours of training in another state and qualify the state certification exam.. Certified aspirants from another state need to pass the Firefighter Minimum Standards Equivalency Exam.. The college has been recognized as a Training Center of the Year by the Florida Fire Training Directors Association and the Florida State Fire College.. Address: 3001 South West College Road, Ocala, Florida 34474-4415 Course Offered: Certificate Programs, Associate and Bachelor Degrees Key Highlights: The coursework is designed to prepare students for managerial/administrative positions in fire services.. For firefighter aspirants, the college provides the A.S (Associate in Science) in Fire Science Technology and certifications in Fire Office Supervisor and Firefighter I/II.. Address: South Campus, 2700 Firefighter Memorial Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32246 Course Offered: Certificate Programs and Associate Degree Key Highlights: The Fire Science programs prepare students for advanced and entry-level fire protection jobs and fire services.. Address: 5230 West Highway 98, Panama City, Florida 32401 Course Offered: Associate Degree Key Highlights: After completing an associate degree in Fire Science from this college, you can pursue the Fire Inspector Certification or Fire Officer Certification.. After completing associate’s degree, students can complete an online degree in Fire and Emergency Services from the University of Florida.. Address: 6151 Lake Osprey Drive, Sarasota, Florida 34240 Course Offered: Associate Degree Key Highlights: Students must achieve 60 credit hours to obtain an AS degree in Fire Science from this college.. It offers a 2-year Fire Science Academy Track program that includes three components – AS Degree in Fire Science Technology, EMT Certification, and Firefighter I and Firefighter II – minimum standards training.. Address: P.O.

Like the above, being an Emergency Medical Technician is one of the minimum requirements for becoming a firefighter (both volunteer firefighter and professional firefighter/career firefighter).. EMT and Firefighter 1 and 2 training are requirements in Florida.. However, if you decide to, you can take your training further if you really want to stand out when applying to become a recruit at any Florida fire department.. Once you meet the minimum requirements, including EMT, Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 certification, you are ready to start applying to be a firefighter in Florida!. Because of this, you can expect to face a lot of competition at the hiring stage, no matter where you apply or the time of the year that you choose to apply.. Recruit training, similar to Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 training, is mandatory for all recruits (at any fire department) even if you have Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 certification.. This accounts for EMT training, earning your Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 certifications, applying to fire departments (and getting accepted), recruit training, and the probationary period after being hired.. Remember, you will have to pay for your EMT training, as well as your Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 training.. Want to become a firefighter in Florida?

Already, Florida employs the third-highest number of firefighters in the country.. Specific firefighter requirements in Florida vary depending on the regulating body in each town or county, but because Florida offers statewide certification for firefighting, many fire departments require entry-level firefighters to obtain this certification.. Is EMT/paramedic/other training or certification required?. Yes, most fire departments in Florida require firefighters to hold Florida EMT and firefighting certifications.. Many locations require firefighters to hold EMT certification, as well, which can take three months to four years to complete, depending on how each candidate pursues certification.. University of Florida Program Name Bachelor of Science in Fire and Emergency Services Program DescriptionOffering specializations in fire management, emergency medical services management, and emergency management, UF's 120-credit bachelor's degree requires courses in fire and emergency services financial management, communication and information technology, ethical practices and leadership, disaster planning and control, and strategic planning for fire and emergency services.. Florida Fire Chiefs' Association Serving both professional and volunteer fire departments, the FFCA supports leaders in emergency services through advocacy and continuing education for its members, plus a foundation offering scholarship opportunities.

While all firefighters must undergo some kind of post-secondary training, either in a vocational school, college, or fire academy, each state and fire department sets its own hiring qualifications and training requirements.. Many vocational and trade schools offer certificate programs in fire science that provide students with the fundamental knowledge and skills related to firefighting and fire prevention.. Fire science certificate and associate degree programs are common and available at many community college campuses throughout the U.S. Online program options from community colleges are also plentiful and like vocational and trade schools, your local community college may be the home of your local fire department’s fire academy and EMT training facility.. Working professionals in the fire science field will find a few master’s degree options with fire science-specific major titles like fire investigation, fire prevention, and fire engineering.. A fire science certificate or degree can be a huge plus when trying to land a firefighter job or advance your firefighting career.. Common certificate subjects include fire science, firefighter (both basic and advanced), fire prevention specialist, fire apparatus operator, and hazardous materials operations.. As with the fire science certificate, associate degree holders should still expect to complete fire academy training and meet other prerequisites before starting work as a professional firefighter.. Fire chemistry Fire control and suppression methods Fire investigation Firefighter safety Fire services culture, orientation, and department organization Physical fitness

However, Firefighters do much more than just fight fires, they also find and rescue victims, help in emergency situations, treat sick people, help with chemical spills, and teach citizens about fire safety.. You don’t need to earn a degree to become a Firefighter, although having a degree in fire science can be very helpful, you will have to take some tests.. This could mean earning a degree in fire science, which can take around four years to complete, or gaining experience through working as a Firefighter.. Often times, going to Fire Academy is enough to become a Firefighter.. Fire captain Fire marshal Fire prevention manager Fire officer Fire prevention educator Fire/Arson investigator Insurance Investigator. Typically, fire stations require aspiring Firefighters to take the Candidate Physical Ability Test.. Different fire stations’ requirements may vary, so talk to your local fire chief to find out what you need to do in order to gain employment as a Firefighter.. Even though the career of a Firefighter is slow-moving, it’s only projected to rise around 5 percent in the next decade, there is still a need for more Firefighters.. Most Fire Academies require only a few months of training before you are able to work as a firefighter.. Even though the need for as many Firefighters is going down, there are still many Firefighters who are retiring or leaving the workforce.

However, before you can usually apply to paramedic school, you must first successfully pass EMT training.. Do not do it to simply increase your opportunities in the fire service.. Even though this is typically not a requirement to apply for a fire job, it sure looks good on your resume and prepares you for the career.. What better way to understand all of the phases of the firefighter hiring process than taking firefighter tests?. Who cares if you fail a portion of the test; what matters is that you have exposed yourself to the process and more importantly, have a better idea of what to expect in the future, since most fire departments have very similar hiring process components.. How do I find out which departments are testing?. Talking to firefighters is a great way to find out more about the career and specific department as well as any programs they may have such as cadet positions, reserve firefighter or other opportunities.. These are things you should bring to the job, and not expect the fire department to have to teach you.. I have seen many candidates prepare for all the other phases of the testing process, pass with flying colors, but then fail the background because they lied, or had something in their background that was enough to disqualify them that they were not forthright with, or they did not have the necessary information.. It is common for this packet to be given to a candidate with the expectation to return it complete, within a week or less.. You will need to submit to a background and provide this information once you make it through the process, so don't wait until then to do it.. Don't be one of them.. The fire service should not just be a job, it should be a career and you should be passionate about the career and all that goes along with it.. It is common for fire departments to ask you such questions as, "Where is the fire service going to be in five years?"

which is available through several fire departments to high school students and adults alike which will give a good orientation into the fire service.. Once you are 18 years of age (or 17 with parental consent) there are several volunteer programs available through Cal Fire, Riverside County Fire Department and other various departments.. Some give priority to people with more college units, some require all fire science classes be completed prior to admittance and place applicants in a lottery.. Take every test you can make it to in order to learn the testing process and gain experience taking the different types of tests departments utilize.. Generally your success in an exam will be good for 6 months to 1 year, however sometimes various departments require that you take them specifically for their department which your score may be determined by your time.. Remember when answering scenarios human resource perspective can be different than fire department perspective so think about your answers.. Other types of questions are situations, or general fire department knowledge.. It will be in your best interest to do some mock interviews, with the department you are testing for if possible, in order to get feedback and be ready for the real deal.. In general the chief’s interview is just to get to know you and see if the chief feels you are right for his/her department.. Probationary periods vary from department to department generally lasting anywhere from a year to a year and a half.. Paramedic - Emergency Medical Services has become a very large part of the fire service throughout the years.. Associates and Bachelors Degree - Education has been an important part of your life up to this point and it will continue to be important especially if you get into a career with the fire service.. Additional Fire Service Jobs. Fire Prevention - Specially trained fire service employs who are well versed in Fire Codes, and conduct inspections to insure compliance and safety within the community.

Meet the minimum requirements Complete the required screenings Complete the required training Pass the State Officer Certification Examination Gain employment with a Florida criminal justice employing agency Have the employment file reviewed by Commission staff. Basic Abilities Test : Candidates must pass the Basic Abilities Test (BAT) also referred to as the Criminal Justice Basic Abilities Test (CJBAT).. Candidates must complete the Basic Recruitment Training Program through a training school certified by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission in order to become a law enforcement officer in Florida.. Candidates may be exempt from taking this training program if they have served as a sworn-in law enforcement officer in another state for a minimum of one year or as a special operations officer in the armed forces for a minimum of five years with no dishonorable discharge.. In some cases, however, candidates may apply to be hired as a Temporary Employment Authorization pursuant with a Criminal Justice agency before completing the Basic Recruit Training Program or passing the State Officer Certification Examination.. Once the candidate has met all of the minimum requirements, completed all the training, and passed all of the exams, the employing agency will submit an Officer Certification Application form to the Commission on behalf of the officer.

Some people feel that a younger candidate has a better chance of getting hired because; after all, the fire departments are looking to hire a candidate for the next 30 years.. Quite commonly, older firefighters pay little attention to healthy eating in the fire station.. Additionally, hiring younger firefighters minimizes the chances of hiring an employee with a pre-existing injury.. This is especially true since it is expected that the rookie is the one who makes sure all of the little things are done around the station.. Since these departments are looking to hire firefighters with life experience, older candidates fit the bill.. Older firefighters usually bring a lot to the job.. Most importantly, older firefighters generally fit in with the crew more easily than younger firefighters.. A candidate who is considering leaving an established job has a lot to lose.. The candidate is taking a pay cut, losing benefits and most importantly, losing job security.. As you can see, there are benefits to hiring both younger and older candidates in the fire service.. It’s up to the candidates to demonstrate that their personality traits, maturity and experience make them the best choice for the job.

In some jurisdictions, having an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license is a requirement for firefighters, who are often called out for emergency medical situations.. Students who are interested in an associate degree in fire science or fire technology can find it here.. Principles of Fire and Emergency Services This course explores the history of fire services, the various career paths available, laws and regulations, basic fire protections and working with the public in emergency situations.. Skills Gained Understanding building codes. Students can choose from two separate tracks: an associate degree program, which includes general education courses and can serve as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree, or an applied associate program, which focuses on the major and gets students into the workforce upon graduation.. Knowing how to handle the public in an emergency. Skills Gained Knowing how to respond to an incident. Bachelor's degrees take about four years to complete, and includes general education courses as well as targeted fire science courses.. Knowledge of job performance requirements. Fire Service Human Resource Management This class focuses on hiring and firing decisions, understanding unions, deciding the placement of firefighters and emergency workers during active calls, and laws concerning employment.. Knowing the proper use of tools in the field. Usually taking between two and three years to complete, most master's fire science degrees are offered online so that students can continue their rigorous work schedule with fire services while they pursue higher education.

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