Can you be a Firefighter with a GED?

If you want to be a firefighter, you are usually required to hold a high school or equivalent diploma.

So the answer is yes, you can be a firefighter with a GED® but you’ll need extensive training and specific education to learn this interesting job.

Before getting employment as a firefighter, you must complete a special fire academy program that includes both physical training and education.

Not all states require firemen to become state-certified, but this practice is becoming more and more generally accepted and required.

The job

A firefighter’s main responsibility is protecting life and property through battling fires and extinguishing these.

They are also first responders when medical emergencies occur such as traffic accident injuries or heart attacks. So many firemen are certified EMTs.

Firefighters also educate the public on fire safety and they visit schools to participate in special education programs.

They are trained to use a number of techniques for controlling or suppressing fires, but they also will help victims with medical treatment to deal with ailments such as burns, smoke inhalation, or shock.

Requirements

If you want to apply to a position as a firefighter, you need to be 18 years old or older and hold a current driver’s license.

You need to pass some written and physical tests, a medical exam, and a drug-screening exam.

And when it comes to formal education, fire departments generally require applicants to hold a high school or high school equivalency diploma.

However, more specialized education will help candidates to master certain skills necessary for performing well as a firefighter.

Firefighters are, and that goes without saying, required to be in and maintain an excellent physical condition.

Skills training

Key skills include athletic and teamwork skills that can be optimized through specialized physical education courses, communication skills that can be improved through verbal and written English courses, and analytical skills that will be addressed in math and science courses.

You will receive most of your job training at a firefighting academy. These programs will usually take a few weeks to complete.

Courses include instruction in combustibles such as gasoline or propane, firefighting survival skills, commanding emergencies, equipment use, fire inspections, operating emergency vehicles, and rope rescues.

There are also firefighting departments that use apprenticeship programs that may take several years where formal education is combined with on-the-job instruction while being supervised by experienced firefighters.

Many community colleges and vocational schools offer specialized programs that cover hazardous materials, firefighting techniques, management, hydraulics, and tactics and strategies for fighting fires.

Usually, these institutions offer certificates for fire technicians, fire inspectors, fire ground commanders, or fire company officers.

Many of those that apply to a firefighting position hold a post-secondary degree in fire science. These schools offer certificate or associate degree programs.

Get your GED

So if you want to be a firefighter and don’t have a high school diploma, earning a GED might be your best option.

Most departments require applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED at the time they enroll.

There are many adult schools that offer GED and high school diploma prep classes in both day and evening sessions to help students acquire a high school diploma or GED. Keep in mind that there are also some good accredited online high schools.

EMT certification

Most departments require applicants to additionally hold EMT certifications when they apply. This makes a lot of sense since most firefighters will be engaging rather in medical emergencies than in fire fighting situations.

Being a certified EMT will also make you exempt from having to attend some fire academy training.

If you are allowed to work as a 9-1-1 ambulance EMT, your fire academy application will look even much better as that demonstrates you’ve got what it takes to operate with medical emergencies in real-world situations.

Key skills

As stated above, fire academies will teach you a number of key skills and offer also certifications in the core subject fields of proficient firefighting.

Core skills include working with heavy equipment and hoses, HAZMAT training, incident command systems, vehicle extraction, firefighter survival, human behavior, fire line tactics, just to mention a few.

Firemen are emergency first response professionals that have specialized in protecting people and property from the dangers of fire, smoke, or a related threat.

Educational requirements

So usually, firefighters get their education through fire academy programs and/or apprenticeships.

Completing a fire academy program and/or apprenticeship is required for entry-level positions and holding an undergraduate or graduate fire science degree or in a related field is needed to advance to specialized positions.

So to get employed a fireman doesn’t demand lots of education. To apply to a fire academy, you need to hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Certification

If you want to hold fireman certification, you need to pass an exam but the regulations vary from state to state. Usually, a minimum number of training and education hours need to be completed after which a certification exam needs to be passed.

The higher-level the position is that you apply to, the higher the requirements are. Often preparation courses for firefighter exams are offered by states.

Further education

So though holding a high school or GED diploma plus training and education at a fire academy is required to become a firefighter, many of these professionals go on to earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree.

Usually, career advancement requires completion of a college degree. Firefighters can become state-certified if they take preparatory courses and pass an exam.

If you seek certification from the U.S. National Fire Academy, you need to hold at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. This will open the doors to a rewarding career in fire fighting.

Firefighters can advance their careers (including higher salaries) if they achieve a masters or doctoral degree in fire engineering technology, fire safety engineering, or environmental science.

Specialized training in the fields of petroleum manufacturing or forestry may also lead to an interesting career in fighting oil or forest fires for private companies or state or federal government.

 

Last Updated on September 21, 2020.

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