How Long Will it Take to Become a Firefighter?

When you are training for a career, in particular, you need to judge exactly how long it will take for you to get your qualification and actually start saving lives.

It would be very awkward to see that you finished your training when you started getting gray hair.

firemen putting out a fire

Generally speaking, it should not take more than your average medical student training, for example – only that with this career, you need to get your start beforehand.

There are several aspects of firefighter training that might take quite some time. Here is what you may expect as a timeline.

  • Education in Fire Science

After you graduate from high school, you will have to get your degree in the fire sciences. The timeline for this may depend on the place that you are applying from.

For example, some colleges may give you a degree in as little as 2 years, whereas others may take as much as 4 years to finish. Ideally, if you want higher pay, you should get a bachelor’s degree in a longer-lasting educational program.

  • EMT Training 

Some fire science colleges also provide EMT training where you learn the basics of CPR. In this case, you will not have to spend any more time on this.

However, if your college program does not provide this kind of training, a separate course can take as much as 3 years – depending on the program that you are going for. Bear in mind that the longer the program, the more qualified you’ll be.

  • Volunteering 

Volunteering is also essential, as no one will hire you without some sort of experience.

In most cases, however, it shouldn’t take more than a year. Each agency will have different requirements – but generally speaking, the more volunteer work you do, the better you’ll be seen.

  • Job Application 

The application and hiring stage might take as little as a few days – and as much as a few weeks.

Fire departments generally hire intermittently – for example, every 4 months or every 4 years. There are also departments that hire every year (or in some cases, every other year). It is just a matter of timing.

Once a fire department is hiring, the entire process should take no more than 6 weeks. 

  • Recruitment Training

Recruitment training will vary based on the department and municipal regulations, but it should take no more than 6 months.

In this stage, you will have to learn the basics involving the firehouse – and the faster you learn, the sooner you’ll be able to go onto the next step.

  • Probation

You may have been hired and trained, but this doesn’t mean that you are a professional firefighter now.

You will also have to undergo probation, under the supervision of the higher-ups. This last step might take as little as 6 months and as much as 1 year.

To sum things up nicely, it will take at least 4 years for you to become a firefighter – but not a professional one. The more work you put into it, the better it will be.

Still, even with all the delays and long programs, it shouldn’t take more than 11 years – and this only happens if you take your sweet time.