Fire Fighter Education Requirements

Fire fighters require some formal education. Learn about the training programs, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

A high school education is sufficient to be hired as a fire fighter, but many fire fighters go on to earn degrees in fire science in order to advance in their careers. New hires must complete intensive training programs, usually at a state or local fire training academy. Some departments require their recruits to participate in apprenticeship programs that may include college courses. In addition to passing pre-employment written, physical and medical exams, fire fighters are usually required to earn certification as emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

Required Education High school education or the equivalent
Other RequirementsFire training academy; on-the-job training; EMT certification is common
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 7%
Median Salary (2013)* $45,600

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Education is Necessary for a Career as a Fire Fighter?

A career as a fire fighter doesn't necessarily require formal education beyond a high school diploma or a GED; however, it may lead to increased employment opportunities and career advancement. Regardless of an individual's educational experience, a fire fighter's training primarily takes place on the job. Applicants are expected to pass written, physical and medical examinations prior to being considered for a job opening.

Once they are hired, new recruits participate in vigorous physical training exercises before they are permitted to enter the field. Nearly all fire fighters in the United States must be certified as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) before being allowed in the field. This training can take up to one year to complete and also results in EMT-Basic certification.

Fire Fighter Educational Options

Certificate or Degree in Fire Science

Certificates, associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees in fire science are widely available at vocational colleges and 4-year universities. Many of these programs are administered by fire academies, which are associated with both a school and the local fire department.

Students in a fire science program study various fire investigation methods as well as techniques for controlling a fire with equipment, like axes, fire extinguishers, ladders and chainsaws. These programs also typically include instruction in fire prevention and teaching fire safety to the public. Additionally, fire science students are taught basic first aid, CPR and proper handling of hazardous materials.

Fire Fighter Apprenticeship

Accredited apprenticeships are offered by fire departments, and programs often require students to enroll in a fire science degree program at an affiliated school. These programs take about 4 years to complete and involve extensive practical training in the field.

Students in apprenticeships programs have the opportunity to gain paid experience in a fire department, operating equipment and responding to calls. Fire departments that offer apprenticeship programs typically hire candidates who have completed an apprenticeship for firefighting positions.

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Certified Fire Fighter II: Job Duties & Requirements

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (3)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (7)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Minnesota (1 campus)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Science - Criminal Justice Brooklyn Center
    • Associate
        • Associate - Criminal Justice Brooklyn Center

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (5 campuses)
    • California (22)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1)
    • Florida (1)
    • Georgia (1)
    • Hawaii (1)
    • Illinois (2)
    • New Mexico (2)
    • Nevada (2)
    • Pennsylvania (1)
    • Puerto Rico (1)
    • Tennessee (3)
    • Texas (6)
    • Virginia (3)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Fire Safety and Protection
        • Fire Fighting
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Southwestern College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
      • Fire Safety and Protection
        • Fire Fighting
      • Legal Support Services
  • School locations:
    • Alaska (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Alaska include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
      • Fire Safety and Protection
        • Fire Fighting
        • Fire Services Admin
      • Legal Support Services
  • School locations:
    • Oklahoma (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Oklahoma State University include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
      • Fire Safety and Protection
        • Fire Fighting
  • School locations:
    • Wisconsin (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Milwaukee Area Technical College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
      • Fire Safety and Protection
        • Fire Fighting
      • Legal Support Services

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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