Texas – Lone Star State and home of America’s football team – the Dallas Cowboys. While Texas is widely known across the country for its extremely heavy emphasis on football, what’s not publicized quite as often is the high number of very talented urban and wild land firefighters Texas claims for her own. Texas has some of the broadest terrain types across the entire country, from flat dry desert, to deep wooded forest or Oceanside oil refineries. There are a wide variety of different organizations from state and federal governments to private industries that employ staff firefighters all across this great state.
Texas, like any other state has a host of requirements that you must meet if you are going to be employed as a firefighter. We are going to cover the Texas firefighter requirements in depth so you have a good idea what it’s going to take for you to start down the path of your dream career in one of America’s most loyal and patriotic states.
Most cities/counties in Texas will require that you meet the following criteria:
- High School Diploma or GED equivalent. College Diplomas will not serve in place of either.
- Copy of Military Discharge Papers if applicable. Dishonorable Discharges are heavily scrutinized if not flat out disqualified depending on the location.
- Valid Current Driver’s License.
- Certification Issued by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection or proof of enrollment as a recruit in the fire training academy as approved by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.
- A Copy of your EMT Certificate Issued by the Texas Department of Health Services or proof you are enrolled in an EMT course approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
- Pass a Criminal Background Check.
This is the Basic Criteria you will need to apply for most state or city firefighter positions in Texas. Obviously, just like any state, networking, volunteer work, and getting above average scores on your certification exam will all help set you apart from your competition. You need to make sure you are in top shape and are more knowledgeable about fire policies than anyone else you are going up against if you want a good shot at getting hired on.
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Before you can officially become a firefighter in Texas, you need to make sure you have your basic training course already completed to meet the certification requirement mentioned in the previous bullets. This can all be obtained by attending one of the major Texas Fire Academies which includes a total of close to 470 hours of training. Like many other states,
Your course requirements will cover the following certification Processes:
- Fire Fighter I
- Fire Fighter II
- Hazmat Awareness Training
- Hazmat Handling/Operational Training
If you have state certification from out of state, you can do so, but you need to make sure that you meet certain state reciprocity guidelines when trying to move to Texas from out of state. Below are the following guidelines that you will need if you are moving from another state to Texas.
If you are coming from an IFSAC (International Fire Service Accreditation Congress) Jurisdiction, you will need to have/meet:
- A Copy of your Firefighter II IFSAC seal.
- Documentation of your EMT training equivalent from out of state.
- Completed TCFP-002 Form including a completed background check.
- An 85.00 Certification Fee.
If you are coming from a Non-IFSAC State, you will need to meet the following Criteria:
- Find out if your training is equivalent to Texas Requirements.
- Complete the designated skill evaluation process..
- Find out if you meet any additional certification requirements.
- Pass the commission exam for what you are seeking certification on (wild land, etc.).
Hopefully this has given you some insight on what to expect when determining how to become a firefighter in Texas. Texas has some extremely challenging conditions, and to become a firefighter in this state, you need to have determination and drive. In fact, during the 2011 fire season, Texas had some of the most destructive wildfires that burned almost 4 million acres and engulfed close to 2,900 homes. During the 2011 Texas Wildfires, more than 43 state authorities commissioned firefighters to help combat these tragic events. Firefighting is not for the weak hearted, and you must be prepared to deal with the difficult trials of the firefighting lifestyle as you pursue your career.
With that being said, being a firefighter has immense benefits and for those that love to live a life of helping people on a daily basis, there are few careers as rewarding as firefighting, especially in the great state of Texas.