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.

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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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).


1. Behind The Scenes With HCFR: Episode 1 - What It Takes To Be A Firefighter
(Hillsborough County)
2. 5 Reasons You WANT To Be A Firefighter
3. How To Become A Firefighter: Make Becoming A Firefighter As Soon As Possible A Reality!
(Firefighter Ambitions)
4. Rookie Day with Tampa Fire Rescue
(City of Tampa)
5. How Do You Become A Firefighter In Florida?
(new sparky)
6. Become a Firefighter in 2022? Salary, Jobs, Education

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