While some firefighter training programs are rated higher than others, the choice of a firefighter school or academy may depend on the requirements of the state or locality where the individual intends to work. Different states have different requirements for certification, so attending a training program for firefighters in California may not qualify a firefighter for employment in New York or Missouri unless he has met additional qualifications.
Federal Firefighter Training Programs
Federal certification for firefighters is rigorous and most individuals with this certification train through enlistment in a branch of military service. All service branches require fire services and provide excellent training for their personnel in military fire units. The Sycuan Fire Academy in California offers federal certification for civilians. Federally certified firefighters generally do not have to undergo further training to work in civilian departments.
Online Firefighter Training Programs
One of the most respected firefighter schools in the country is the North Texas Fire Academy in Rockwell, TX. North Texas Academy offers most of its classroom training through online courses, but fire fighters are required to attend a 2 day program for practical training at the facility. Online programs must also offer practical training to be accredited by the state where they are located since it is necessary to apply classroom training in actual fire situations.
Prerequisites for Enrolling in Firefighter Training Programs
In many cases, firefighters enter schools and training programs after they have been hired by a fire department. In order to be accepted as a firefighter, applicants must be in excellent physical health and pass vision and hearing acuity tests. Depending on the state, applicants must be at least 18 to 21 years old and have at least a high school diploma. Individuals with felony convictions are excluded from firefighter training programs.
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Choosing a School
Aspiring firefighters who meet the minimum physical standards for the job will need to attend a training program to obtain certification. Students should check with state and local fire authorities for schools which are accredited in the area where they plan to seek employment, as training programs are not universally recognized. In addition to formal schooling, some states require that firefighters work for a probationary period before becoming fully certified.
Training for Certified Firefighters
Once certified in the chosen area, a firefighter may choose to attend advanced training programs. Most of the top firefighter schools offer advanced training programs for professional firefighters. If the firefighter's employer declines to send him for advanced training, he can apply to the school himself, but he will have to pay tuition costs. Firefighters who opt for advanced training usually receive additional certifications in specific specialties.
In many cases, the right firefighter training program is the one that is approved by the state or local government where the applicant intends to work. Firefighters who have already received basic certification have more choices for advanced training programs. College degrees in fire related majors from accredited schools are recognized in all states.