Firefighters assist in emergency medical situations such as fires and accidents. Their job is emotionally draining, but also gratifying.
They must work extraordinarily long hours in the event of an emergency. Rescue operations, maintenance, readiness, hazardous materials awareness, and other duties are among their tasks.
But how do you become a firefighter in Texas? This article will discuss how to become a certified firefighter in the state of Texas.
What Is A Firefighter?
Firefighters are trained and experienced professionals who fight and put out fires. They work to prevent fires, serve as emergency medics, and research the causes of fires.
A firefighter is usually the first professional to arrive at a fire or other emergency, and they are therefore sometimes known as first responders.
Some firefighters work as full-time professionals, while others work as volunteers.
What Is The Role Of A Firefighter?
Putting out flames, evacuating and treating the sick and wounded, striving to stop potential accidents, and researching the origins of blazes, specifically in the context of suspected arson, are their four key responsibilities and duties.
Firefighter's main responsibilities are to put out fires. After receiving a call, a firefighter dresses in safety gear before stepping onboard or operating one of various types of fire trucks.
Some trucks transfer fire casualties to hospitals, and others serve as aerial platform fire engines that raise ladders to upper floors of structures.
After they have arrived at an emergency, firefighters report to a superior officer and are assigned roles.
For example, hose operators attach hoses to hydrants and direct the flow of water towards the blaze, whereas pump operators control the water flow.
Tillers, on the other hand, steer aerial ladders. The other firefighters enter burning buildings to rescue victims of the fire.
While most firemen have medical qualifications, some specialize in treating patients after they have been evacuated from burning buildings.
Firefighters use their medical skills to treat the wounded and make the area safe until other responders arrive in the event of an auto crash which does not entail a fire.
They are also called to serve during natural calamities such as tornadoes, flash floods, and earthquakes.
Firefighters utilize their skills to help disaster victims and search for missing people.
A firefighter also works as an educator and a detective to help prevent fires.
Inspectors guarantee that companies, schools, and other institutions comply with fire safety rules and that fire exits, detectors, and sprinklers are in working order.
If there is a suspected arson, specific firefighters are trained as inspectors to find the cause of fires and collect evidence from the scene.
Firefighters must also manage fire equipment and participate in regular drills or training in addition to their firefighting duties.
In order to withstand the physical requirements of their employment, they must also maintain outstanding physical condition.
Firefighters are frequently rushed into completely unforeseen circumstances in which they risk being hurt or killed.
At times they have no idea what's on fire, the layout of the structure, who's inside, whether the roof is ready to collapse, whether their equipment will fail, or if they'll run out of oxygen at the wrong time.
They go into dangerous environments despite the large number of unknowns and they are prepared to deal with life and death situations.
What Is It Like Working As A Firefighter?
Most first responders, apart from part-time volunteer firemen, work and live in firehouses for long durations.
Shifts are normally 24 hours long to ensure that a whole team is always available in the case of a fire.
A firefighter serves from 9 to 11 full shifts every month. They also work on vacations and weekends to guarantee that their town is fire-safe.
A firefighter may serve extremely long hours in the case of natural disasters to keep people safe and evacuate victims.
Many of the conditions they face are life-threatening; many firemen have died in the line of duty.
A volunteer firefighter faces the same dangers as a paid firefighter, but does not live at the station and is only called in an emergency.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Becoming A Firefighter?
It brings you great joy to contribute to society through your valued services.
Furthermore, several fire departments offer firefighters opportunities for ongoing education and growth.
These professionals receive many non-monetary perks in addition to a strong pay, such as full paid leave, sick days, dental care, insurance coverage, retirement packages, and so on.
However, you need to be willing to work long hours and not see your family and friends for extended periods.
Most importantly, you need to be aware that firefighting is a very dangerous job and you could be put into life and death situations, so you need to be able to remain calm in these scenarios.
How To Become A Firefighter In Texas: Education Requirements
Aspiring firefighters are expected to meet certain educational standards. The following are some examples:
Earn your high school diploma
To enroll in a high school diploma or GED program, candidates must be 18 years old. A criminal history screening is also a prerequisite for receiving a high school diploma.
Earn your EMT certification (Emergency Medical Technician)
To earn a firefighting certification, candidates must first obtain an EMT certificate.
To participate in an EMT certification school, you must have a clean background, good vision, and high physical stamina.
Earn a Firefighting Certificate or Degree
To get a certificate or degree in firefighting, enroll in the Fire Academy Texas. You can select the program that best suits your job goals.
Should You Become A Volunteer Firefighter In Texas First?
Aspirants must finish 110 hours of a firefighting course approved by the NFPA to become a volunteer firefighter.
Serving as a volunteer firefighter has numerous professional benefits. Here are a few examples:
- You become acquainted with the workplace.
- Aspirants get the necessary skills to complete their normal firefighting duties.
- Some fire departments and agencies offer volunteers an hourly wage or a stipend.
- Your professional network will grow as you meet more experienced firefighters, which may help you land a better position.
What Is The Firefighter Salary In Texas?
Texas firefighter salaries ranged from $36,090 to $60,150 as of June, 2022. Their annual wage was $48,119 on average.
Of course salary ranges can vary widely depending on what city you work in, as well as additional important factors, including education, certifications, any other skills obtained, and the number of years of experience you have.
Availability Of Firefighting Jobs In Texas
Texas was the state with the greatest firefighter employment in May 2021. The state employed 29,530 firefighters (California was the next closest with 27,730), with an employment rate of 2.41 per thousand jobs.
In Texas, firefighters have a bright future. In the coming years, a substantial number of firefighters retiring will lead to many future job opportunities and the rate of growth of firefighters nationwide is expected to be 8.5% through the end of the decade.
However, it will remain a competitive industry so make sure you're doing everything you can to stay ahead of the competition.
Firefighter Training Program In Texas
Students must undergo 471 hours of firefighting training in Texas. There are three levels of firefighter training available in Texas:
Certificate: One-year certificate programs in fire science typically consist of classroom lectures and hands-on practice at a regional training center or a fire school.
Incident investigation, equipment management, emergency operation, and fire safety are among the topics covered in the certification courses.
You could pursue certificates such as Firefighter I and II, Rescue Technician Certifications, and so on.
Associate's Degree: To earn an associate's degree in fire science, students must study for two years.
This degree qualifies students for entry-level firefighting positions.
The program is aimed to teach students about fire science chemistry, rescue methods, fire extinguishing basics, fire rules and legislation, and EMT basics, among other topics.
Bachelor's Degree: This four-year degree program is ideal for those who are already working as firefighters and want to advance their careers.
It’s also a great option for those who want to learn about management aspects of the industry, such as fire investigation and avoidance, personnel planning, and emergency preparedness.
Becoming A Firefighter In Texas: Step-By-Step Guide
Aspirants seeking to serve as a certified firefighter in Texas must fulfill particular criteria. Following the steps below will help you on your way to becoming a fully licensed firefighter.
1. Get A High School Diploma Or Its Equivalent
A GED or high school diploma from a recognized school is required. Students must meet different standards to enroll in different educational institutions.
2. Volunteer As A Firefighter
Serving as a volunteer firefighter makes it simple to enter this field. Furthermore, you gain on-the-job experience and opportunity to network with professionals.
3. Get A Degree In Fire Science
You can earn an associate's (2-year) or bachelor's (4-year) degree with an approved college, depending on your employment goals.
The programs are meant to teach both theoretical and practical knowledge.
4. Acquire Firefighter License and Job Applications
Pass the state-mandated firefighter certification exam. Start applying for firefighting employment once you get your certification.
Top Ten Schools In Texas For Firefighting
1. Central Texas College
Central Texas College began as a charity non-profit organization in 1992.
The institution hopes to gain support from the community for the programs it offers to its employees, teachers, and students.
The college has a global presence, with over 100 locations around the world. It provides Fire Protection Technology courses as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science Administration.
The associate's degree program covers a wide range of topics, including basic emergency management principles, firefighting tactics and strategies, and fire protection foundations, among others.
2. Amarillo College
Amarillo College is based in Amarillo, Texas, and has six campuses, a technical training facility, and an outreach center.
The college's Fire Protection Technology Program offers certificate and associate's degree programs in Emergency Medical Services, Allied Health, and other fields.
The college also provides financial help to those that qualify. Amarillo College's highly engaging online courses are easy, quick, and economical.
3. Houston Community College
Houston Community College seems to be the finest place to go if you want to be a fireman in Houston.
Students are prepared to deal with a technological and competitive world by receiving an inexpensive, high-quality, and innovative education from the college.
Competencies in fire service management, life safety, fire prevention, and fire suppression are available through the Fire Science and Safety Program.
Fire Officer, Fire Instructor, and Firefighter AAS are the certificates and degrees available through this program.
4. Austin Community College
Austin Community College seeks to give students a flexible and inexpensive education to help them gain job skills and enhance their careers.
The college offers associate's and bachelor's degrees in a variety of fields. The college's Fire Protection Technology Program provides hands-on training in a cutting-edge facility.
5. El Paso Community College
In 1994, El Paso Community College opened its doors.
It aspires to provide students with inexpensive, high-quality, and accessible education in order to prepare them for personal, professional, and academic progress.
Basic firefighting, fire management, fire inspection, and fire science are all offered at the college. Distance study and financial aid are also available at the college.
6. Dallas County Community College
Study at Dallas County Community College, one of the state's largest community institutions, if you wish to be a firefighter in Dallas.
Dallas County College District's Fire Protection Technology program is accredited and the college offers CE courses such as Arson Investigation and Fire Officer.
7. Collin College
Collin College is the county's only public institution, offering around 100 certifications and degrees in a variety of subjects. Every year, the college hosts approximately 50,000 students.
For students interested in becoming firefighters, it offers Fire Training and Fire Science programs.
EMT training is included in the Fire Academy program.
Candidates can access state certification exams for Fire Officer I, II, and Fire Instructor I, II after finishing the Fire Officer Training courses.
8. Blinn College
Blinn College was founded in 1883 and offers courses in Emergency Services, Professional Nursing, Dental Hygiene, and other fields.
In its Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, the school has a collaboration with Texas Engineering Extension Services to provide fire science programs.
Financial help is also available to eligible fire academy students.
9. South Plains College
South Plains College is a two-year community college that provides advanced courses in a variety of fields.
The institution assists students in gaining marketable training to meet job needs through its quick educational and workforce training programs.
The Basic Fire Academy, Advanced Fire Technology, and Associate of Applied Science in Fire Technology certifications are all part of this college's Fire Technology curriculum.
10. College Of The Mainland
The College Of The Mainland is a learner-centered institution dedicated to the financial and intellectual development of the many communities it serves.
The college's Fire Technology Program provides an AAS certification in Fire Technology as well as Continuing Education.
For veteran volunteer firefighters, a variety of weekend courses are also offered.
To become a firefighter in Texas, you will need to undertake a wide variety of training courses.
A firefighting career isn’t for everyone, though, and you’ll need to make sure that you meet the certification requirements, as well as the competencies and physical/mental health requirements needed to deal with life or death situations.
Having the correct competencies is vital for effectively performing your role as a successful firefighter and meeting the responsibilities you have to the public and your teammates.