How To Become a Firefighter in New York

On September 11th, 2001 Firefighters, Police Officers and service personnel in service all received the shock of their lifetimes when two planes crashed into the twin towers in New York City.  When the planes crashed into the twin towers, service personnel across the entire state were recruited to come and assist in the rescue of thousands of New York citizens.  Many noble firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians lost their lives trying to save the lives of many others during the course of what is probably the most memorable tragedy in recent American history.  While you hopefully would NEVER be called into action in the same way, it just goes to show that embarking on a career as a firefighter is something that should never be taken lightly.  The firefighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel that served the great state of New York on that dreadful day will never be forgotten.
The living space in New York is one of the most densely populated areas of the United States.  As such, there is a very high demand for Firefighters in the state of New York and New York City as well.  Firefighters in New York require urban firefighting training which differs slightly from rural and wild land fire training.  Due to the close living quarters in New York, firefighters absolutely must know every facet of urban firefighting especially their burn buildings and the material they are made of.  Not accurately diagnosing the situation can lead to personal injury or even death.  That being said, there are certain requirements when determining how to become a firefighter in New York.  We will cover these requirements in detail below.
To become a firefighter in New York, you must meet the following requirements:

  • fire brigadeBe 21 years old – this is in most cities.  You can take the New York City firefighter exam prior to turning 21, but you cannot actually be hired as a firefighter until age 21.
  • Cannot be older than 29 years old unless you pursue an age exception at the time of application.  There is certain criteria you will need to meet to qualify for an age exception, one of which is military experience where you can deduct your military experience from your actual age to qualify.
  • Must be a US citizen when being appointed as a firefighter.
  • Pass a physical exam and computer based exam.
  • Have a valid New York driver’s license.
  • You must demonstrate that you have good Character and pass a full background investigation.
  • You must be able to be working and Employed in the United States and meet all Immigration Reform laws and controls.
  • You must speak English fluently.
  • Reside in one of the New York boroughs of New York City, or live in any of the following counties:

  • Westchester County
  • Nassau County
  • Orange County
  • Rockland County
  • Suffolk County
  • Putnam County

  • You must have a High School Diploma or GED Equivalent.  On Top of that, you will also need:

  • You will also be required to have obtained 15 college credits at a local college or university unless you were in the military.  If so, then you will need the following below.
  • If you were in the military, an honorable discharge will also be sufficient.  If you don’t meet either of the above requirements, you can also meet the criteria by the method below.
  • You can also meet this requirement by having six months satisfactory work history as a full time employee if you don’t meet either of the two prior eligibility requirements.
    Once you’ve been accepted to the firefighting academy, you will be required to obtain a Certified First Responder with Defibrillation certificate.  This is different than an EMT and it’s a must have if you are going to become a firefighter full time.  The good news is that the NYC fire department will help cover the cost of this training and recover the costs later as you continue in your firefighting career so the money for the course is not required up front.
    Like many states, New York has a firefighter certification process.  You are required to obtain your Firefighter I and Firefighter II training certifications in the firefighting academy.  Once obtained and certified you will need to have the ability to become a full time career firefighter.  Some states offer reciprocity for the training certification and obtaining firefighter II status.  You will want to check with the local county or city regulations for becoming a firefighter if you need details on if your certification can qualify to be transferred.

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