How To Become a Firefighter in North Carolina

North Carolina is a diverse and beautiful state with many historic areas as well as one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. North Carolina’s economic expansion is expected increase in the coming years because of growth in industries, like manufacturing, construction,and education. It is a good time to become a firefighter in North Carolina, while housing prices are still reasonable and the economy is growing.  With that being said, with economic growth coming on strong, the need for firefighters will increase despite budget cuts.  Below are the Firefighter Certification standards for a professional firefighter in North Carolina, but some fire departments set higher standards for their firefighters.

You will need to meet these requirements to become a firefighter in North Carolina:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a High School Diploma or a GED equivalent
  • Pass a physical examination by qualified medical practitioner (recommended standards like those set out in NFPA 1582 Standard for Medical Requirements for Fire Service Personnel)

If you meet the above criteria, you must attend a certification program administered through NC Office of the State Fire Marshal.

These are some of the courses that are part of the North Carolina training requirements:

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  • Fire Department Orientation and Safety
  • Fire Behavior
  • Forcible Entry
  • Emergency Medical Care
  • Fire Prevention, Education, and Causes
  • Building Construction
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Haz Mat Awareness
  • Haz Mat Operations

The course takes about a month, and it is offered online through some providers. At the end, you may take the Firefighter Level I exam. The exam consists of a student evaluation, a practical examination, and a written examination. You must score at least 70% on the practical and written examination to pass. The certification classes are provided through the NC Community College System and may be taught at a community college or at a fire department. Once you have passed your Firefighter Level I exam, you can take your Level II exam. Some offered courses are a Firefighter I & II combo.

There is always opportunity to be a volunteer firefighter in North Carolina. Serving as a volunteer firefighter is a great way to learn about the fire department and the work that is involved. Often paid positions are in high demand, and a volunteer at a fire department has a better chance of being hired than an unknown firefighter. Plus your tuition for Firefighter certification courses is generally free if you are already affiliated with a fire department, otherwise you will pay the normal community college tuition rates.

These are some of the common requirements to become a volunteer firefighter in North Carolina:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Have a valid NC driver’s license
  • Live within the fire department’s district
  • Pass a physical examination
  • Receive a minimum amount of training

Becoming a volunteer firefighter wonderful way to serve your community and gain experience. Firefighting is physically demanding, but it is very satisfying work. Volunteering will help you to learn how to help people and be a part of a team. This is a great first step in learning how to become a firefighter in North Carolina.

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