Do You Need A Degree To Be A Firefighter?

Being a firefighter is a noble profession that requires dedication and commitment.

You will risk your life to save the lives of others and to keep communities safe, and you will be a role model for people around you.

If you want to become a firefighter then you will face some tough competition. Lots of people want to get into this profession and not everyone will be successful.

You need to plan your entry into your career carefully to ensure that you are one of those who make it.

If you want to become a firefighter but you aren’t sure what you need to do or how to get there then don’t worry.

We have put together this useful guide to help you. We will give you all of the information you need about the qualifications and skills required to become a firefighter. Keep reading to find out more. 

Do You Need A Degree To Be A FireFighter?


In order to become a firefighter you must be at least 18 years old. If you are younger than this and you are interested in joining the fire department then you can look for junior firefighter programs in your local area.

This will enable you to help out at your local station and start to learn some of the basic skills needed.

This also shows commitment to the profession which will help you later on when you are old enough to apply. 

The fire department does not tend to recruit anyone over the age of 35, and for some areas it is as young as 28.

Make sure you check the age limit of the department that you are applying to. In order to apply to become a firefighter you will need a valid drivers license. 


The minimum educational requirement to become a firefighter is a high school diploma. This means that you do not need a degree to become a firefighter.

However, there will be a lot of competition to join the department so a relevant degree or additional qualification could improve your chances and help you to stand out from the crowd of other applicants. 

Which degree should you get if you want to become a firefighter? A degree in fire science is relevant, or you could go down the medical route and become a paramedic before you apply to the fire department.

Some fire stations that receive a lot of applications may even require that you become a qualified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) before applying. 

Another way to give yourself a head start and make a good impression is to get your entry level firefighter certifications before you apply. You can do this by joining a volunteer fire department. 


In order to be a firefighter you need to ensure that you are fit and healthy with good physical strength and stamina.

There are physical tests that you need to pass before you can join the fire department which includes stair climbing, hose dragging, ladder work (raising, extending, climbing), forcible entry, ceiling breach, and search and rescue. 

You should exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight before applying to become a firefighter to give yourself the best chance at being accepted.

Cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength should be worked into your exercise routine. 

Criminal Background 

When you are interviewed to become a firefighter it is not just your physical capabilities that are being tested, it is also your moral fiber.

This does not mean that you need to have a perfect, squeaky clean record. However, you need to own up to any mistakes you have made and explain how you have learned from them. 

If there is a lot of competition then a criminal record, even a minor one, could prevent you from being successful.

However, it is important that you don’t lie about it in the interview. Lying about your past is much worse than discussing it openly. 

Social Media 

While your application is being processed, your social media accounts are likely to be checked.

If you have any inappropriate posts or images then this could hinder your application. Be mindful of how you use your social media accounts if you plan on applying to join the fire department. 

Social Responsibility 

Social Responsibility

Being a firefighter is about working as a team to help and support the local community by keeping them safe.

You are more likely to be successful if you can demonstrate that you know how to work well with others, and you care about your local area. 

Get involved in team sports, groups, or activities. Take on positions of responsibility like team captain or treasurer to show that you can pull your weight. Get involved in local community events and fundraisers. 

Written Exam 

In order for your application to the fire department to be successful, you need to pass a written exam of multiple choice questions.

Make sure you take this seriously and study for it. If you don’t prepare then you are unlikely to pass. 

Psychological Evaluation 

Being a firefighter is a mentally challenging job. You will find yourself in stressful and life threatening situations, you will witness horrific injuries and even have to deal with the deaths of people that you could not save.

The fire department will see if you are capable of this by putting you through a psychological evaluation. This is something you can’t really prepare for, other than by trying to stay calm and be true to yourself. 

The Interview

If your application is successful then you will be invited to an interview. Try to stay relaxed and be yourself.

Make sure you are familiar with the key skills required for the job and have some example situations that you can discuss to demonstrate that you have those skills. 


You do not need a degree to become a firefighter, but it is a difficult profession to get into with tough competition.

If you follow our advice and you are successful, you will then need to pass the fire academy.