At some point in most little boys' lives they want to be a fireman, and sometimes this childhood desire stays present and transforms into an adult’s career goal. A career in firefighting is challenging yet rewarding work. Firefighters help to preserve wildlife, keep people safe, and operate as emergency services in communities across the country. By understanding the educational requirements for becoming a firefighter, you can begin planning the steps to pursuing this honorable career.

Become an EMT

According to FireRescue1.com, 90 percent of departments are requiring candidates to have EMT certifications when applying . This makes sense given most fire departments engage in medical emergencies rather than fighting fires. Also, certified EMTs will get to bypass some of the training from the academy.. If you can work as an EMT on a 9-1-1 ambulance, your application to the fire academy will look even better, as it demonstrates you have real world experience in working with medical emergencies.

High School Diploma

If you don’t have your high school diploma, you better earn one if you want to become a firefighter. The city of Chula Vista lists its minimum requirements for becoming a firefighter and states that applicants must have a high school diploma or a GED at the time of enrollment. There are a number of continuing adult education schools that offer day and evening classes to help students earn their high school diplomas or GED certificates. High school diplomas can also be earned from online schools.

Language Education

Being bilingual is a big plus, especially in areas where there are lots of Spanish-speaking people. The city of Carlsbad’s website says that being bilingual is a desirable educational item that applicants should have when applying to the fire academy. Often emergency situations arise in which Spanish speakers are needed. You can take private Spanish lessons from tutors or enroll in classes at a community college. You can also invest in computer software designed to make people fluent in Spanish. Rosetta Stone is a popular program used by top government agencies and universities to ensure their employees are bilingual.

Fire Academy

Attending the fire academy is a vital part of your education in becoming a firefighter. Fire academies teach a variety of skills and offer various certifications in core areas that lead to proficient firefighting. Some of the skills include how to work hoses and heavy equipment, incident command systems, HAZMAT training, firefighter survival, auto extrication, human factors of the fire line, tactics and a number of other skills.