Becoming a firefighter is the dream job of many children – right up the popularity list, along with scientists, doctors, and astronauts.
But actually, being eligible to work in the fire service is far from a dream.
It requires dedication and hard work.
Texas firefighters, much like any other state, must meet strict requirements in order to work in the fire academy.
If you are wondering how to become a firefighter in Texas, then you are in luck! Today, we will discuss everything you must know to work in fire emergency services in Texas city.
Let us begin!
Steps to Become a Firefighter in Texas
This is what you can do in order to become a firefighter in Texas –
To get into fire service, there are a few things you should ensure. The minimum age requirement is 18, and there is a maximum too – the maximum varies in different fire departments, typically ranging between 28 to 35 years.
You will also need to graduate from a fire academy, pass a background check, and enroll in a relevant firefighting course.
All of these will be discussed in detail later.
For a Texas firefighter, it only makes sense to have and maintain a perfect physique. Apart from acing the physical ability test, you will be faced with many adverse situations where you will have to be at your best.
Physical fitness directly correlates to how well you can run, carry, jump, and stay active during rescue operations. Things like forcible entry are common in the fire service, and they need a lot of strength.
Having a high school diploma or GED is a must for anyone trying to pursue a firefighter career in Texas city.
You will not be qualified to even try out the assessment without a high school diploma or GED certification.
A bachelor’s degree is not needed, but it will help if you want a better job in fire science.
Many educational institutions provide mandatory courses for firefighter certification.
Municipal firefighters can still study and work in these fire academies, continuing education.
Check out the different firefighter courses by Texas Fire Academy here.
Build and Maintain Good Records
A thorough background check will be undertaken when you apply to be a firefighter in Texas. This is why you should ensure that you have good records.
For example, your social media accounts will be checked to see how you conduct yourself in public online.
So, if there are any risqué, immature, or inappropriate posts, it will not be good for you.
Similarly, financial background such as credit card score and driving license will also be checked.
Criminal records will be observed, too, so do not get into any trouble.
If you have something on your record and are wondering whether you can apply to be a firefighter, check out this list of fire employment disqualifications for Texas.
Acquire an EMT Certification
Firefighters are almost always the first responders in an accident site, so knowing emergency medical treatments is a must.
Many firefighters specialize as emergency medical technicians, but every firefighter in Texas should have a basic level of emergency medical treatment training.
When you apply for firefighting, you will be given a hiring preference if you have EMT basic course covered.
Apply to Your Desired Fire Departments
Now that you fit all the criteria, it is time to start applying to fire suppression courses or programs.
There are many departments and academies you can apply to, either for a job or to get the proper fire science education.
Texas Department of State Health Services is a popular choice, but a little research will land several more options for you.
There is a wide selection of programs offered in these academies related to firefighting, such as Fire Instructor I and II, Firefighter I and II, Fire Officer I and II, Hazardous Material Awareness, etc.
Names of the program will vary depending on where you are applying. You can also try jobs such as fire inspectors and investigators.
Pass the Screening
After you apply, you need to sit for an exam, such as the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) exam.
There will be both a written exam and a physical test to check your basic fire suppression knowledge and abilities. These exams are not quite easy, so make sure to study a lot on fire science for a passing score.
Once your exam is complete, you will get a firefighter certification for the exam you have undertaken.
These certificates are made if you meet National Fire Protection Association (NFA) requirements.
The Texas Commission on Fire Protection fits these criteria. An EMT from Texas State Health Services is another certification you should have by now.
These certificates will affirm your ability for basic fire suppression.
Complete Fire Training
If you think your job is done after you have passed the written exam and physical test, you could not be more wrong. Your journey to match the brave Texas firefighters starts here.
After you have successfully completed the requirements by Texas Commission on Fire Protection, you will start your training for fire ground operations.
The training areas will be vast, starting from rescue techniques, firefighting tools, and equipment, practical training, life safety, incident management, public safety, arson investigation, hazardous materials awareness, etc.
Primarily, firefighters will get hands-on training; but if you pursue advanced courses, knowledge-focused training will also be provided. You can complete a few programs and then take on new, more advanced ones to progress in your firefighting career.
How Much Do Firefighters Make in Texas?
This amount may change based on location (El Paso, Houston, Austin, Pasadena, etc.), experience, education, performance on the career, and direct reports.
What Does the Career Prospects in Texas Look Like for Firefighters?
The career prospects for a firefighter are great in Texas, with the second-highest employment number among all the states.
The metropolitan area of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington has the 4th highest employment.
Another metropolitan area, Houston, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land, is not lagging that much behind, with the 8th highest employment.
However, the mean pay is less compared to several other states, such as California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, etc.
How Long Do I Need to Become a Firefighter in TX?
After you fulfill the minimum qualifications and become a firefighter, it will take several months or even years to earn the Basic Fire Suppression Certification by TCFP.
The maximum time you may need is around 5 years, but it can be done within a few months, too, if you are lucky.
What Are Some Top Fire Schools and Academies in Texas?
The top 9 schools offering firefighter education programs in Texas are –
- Tarrant County College
- Blinn College
- Amarillo College
- Central Texas College
- Austin Community College District
- Collin College
- College of the Mainland
- Dallas County Community College District
- McLennan Community College
Hope we can help you learn how to become a firefighter in Texas. Becoming a firefighter in this state requires an elevated level of skill, endurance, education, training, and perseverance.
We hope you succeed in this tough but fulfilling journey.
Wishing you all the best!