Being a firefighter is a very noble and rewarding profession. It is also a very strenuous and demanding career physically, mentally and emotionally. Firefighters must be well trained and always ready to respond to a wide array of emergencies like structural fires, wildland fires, hazardous materials spills, many types of rescues, traffic collisions, life threatening medical emergencies, and other vital functions to protect life and property. Firefighters are constantly engaged in public education, daily equipment and station maintenance, training, inspections, fire prevention, and various other non-emergency activities.
Careers in the fire service tend to be highly competitive. Many people are attracted to firefighting because it is challenging and provides the opportunity to perform an essential public service. Consequently, it's not uncommon for the number of qualified applicants to far exceed the number of job openings. Candidates with the best chances are typically those who are physically fit and score the highest on mechanical aptitude exams. The purpose of this page is to provide direction for individuals interested in pursuing a firefighting career as well as give general information on typical job requirements.
Education Requirements for City of San Bernardino Fire Department
High School Diploma or G.E.D. - Required
Community College Classes:
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) - Required
California State Accredited Basic Fire Academy - Required
EMT-Paramedic - Desirable
Fire Science Associates Degree - Desirable
It is important to research the job requirements of the Fire Department you are interested in applying for since they can vary from one organization to another.
Local Colleges where these courses are located:
Higher education, such as undergraduate and graduate degrees are not required, however, they are desirable and sometimes required for promotion to higher positions.
Physical fitness is a key part of obtaining a job in the fire service. The fire service is a very physically demanding profession and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an important part of your preparation for this career. It is important to include both strength and cardiovascular training into your workout routine. The previously listed Community Colleges may have physical fitness courses to help guide you in your fitness goals and practices.
Fire departments usually require the completion of one of the standardized physical ability tests and to have a certification of completion within six months prior to the application date.
Standardized Tests utilized by Fire Departments
Gaining as much experience as you can is one of the most important things in preparing yourself for a career in the fire service. It is important to remember that you will be competing against a large number of people for a single job and your work related experience can definitely help to set you apart from other candidates.
Work related experience can include
- Fire Service - U.S. Forest Service, CAL Fire, Reserve/Cadet Programs, Paid-Call Firefighter Programs, Fire Prevention, Volunteer, Fire Explorer Programs
- Emergency Medical Services - Ambulance EMT and/or Paramedic, Emergency Room Technician
- Trade experience - Construction; trades involving use of tool, heavy equipment, and automobile service/repair
- Service jobs - Working with people/customer service, supervision, project management