How to Become a Firefighter in New York – Requirements and Salary

As stated by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a firefighter is someone responsible for extinguishing fires in the areas they are responsible for. While becoming a paid firefighter in New York or any other state doesn’t require more than a high school diploma, it is seen that almost all firefighters are required to undergo EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) training as both of these professions go hand-in-hand. A fireman should be able to provide emergency medical treatment in case EMTs are running late. If you want to know how to become a firefighter in New York, this extensive guide is all you need.

Requirements for Being a New York Firefighter

A firefighter’s job is pretty daunting and demanding because they have to respond to fires at any time of the day, which is why they work rotating shifts. This is a job suitable for young people who have all the energy in the world to take on massive physical challenges and save lives in the process. Below, you will find all the prerequisites for a New York firefighter’s job.

Firefighter Education Requirements in New York

Let us look at the educational requirements to kickstart your firefighter career in New York as per FDNY.

  1. A 4-year High School Diploma (compulsory).
  2. A total of 15 college semester credits at an accredited college or university or full-time military service with an honorable discharge.
  3. Certified First Responder with Defibrillation Certificate (CFR-D) by the end of probation period. This is provided by the New York Fire Department New York once you are hired. An amount of $30 will be deducted from every pay period until FDNY recovers the training cost. In case, a candidate fails the CFR-D certification, and is not able to get certified by the end of the probation period, he/she will be terminated.
  4. If you have worked as a volunteer firefighter in NY, you will have more chances of getting hired.

Skills and Knowledge Required to Become a Firefighter

  1.  Ability to work in a team, as a team
  2.  High decision-making ability
  3.  Driving skills (preferably trucks)
  4.  Public safety protocol knowledge
  5.  Humble and down to earth behavior
  6.  Willingness and ability to work hard and act quickly
  7.  Knowledge of Emergency Response Techniques
  8.  Analytical thinking for the best possible outcome
  9.  Physical strength and agility
  10.  Investigative instincts and an eye for detail

Other Requirements

After being eligible for the process, you will have to go through a series of exams and medical tests in order to make sure you are fit and ready for the job. If you have been living a healthy lifestyle and are good at working on your toes, these tests will not be very demanding for you. Otherwise, start working out and eating healthy now if you want to be fit for a future job as a firefighter. So, according to FDNY, to become a firefighter in New York, you should complete the following steps. At the time of appointment, you should be:

  1. a citizen of the United States
  2. 21 years old
  3. employable in the US under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
  4. clean in the background investigation and prove a good character
  5. well versed in the English language, both speaking and writing, because the documentation will be in English
  6. having a valid driving license to drive in New York
  7. living in New York City, or one of the following boroughs:
  • Nassau
  • Orange
  • Putnam
  • Rockland
  • Suffolk
  • Westchester County

How Long Does it Take to Become a Firefighter in New York?

Once you are sure that you want to join the Fire Department of New York, and you meet all the above requirements, you can move on to the final process. Preparation for the exam depends on your qualifications and general aptitude, which is then followed by 18 months of training before you can join the fire department as a firefighter. Below are the steps required to become a firefighter in New York:

  1. Apply for the firefighter examination on Citywide Administrative Services website where you will find all the details related to firefighter jobs and career in New York. This link displays a list of upcoming exams in New York. Check for the firefighter entrance exam, and whenever it is available, apply for it.
  2. Appear for the written exam and try to score as much as possible. The questions are only based on problem-solving skills, strategic execution, basic calculations, and general aptitude. You can prepare for the exam at FDNY’s Candidate Resources They have provided numerous documents, guides, and FAQs that will help you prepare for the examination and tests that will follow.
  3. You have to pass the CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test).
  4. After the previous exams, you will go through a series of medical assessments, psychological tests, and background verification processes. You need to prove a good character in order to get hired.
  5. You need to graduate from a firefighter academy after eight months of classroom & physical training combined with on-the-job training as well. This is when you finally become a firefighter.

Note: FDNY suggests that all the candidates must take part in the mentorship program, which is an initiative to make sure that all the aspirants successfully get through the hiring process and the NYC fire school without any difficulties. They can be in touch with a veteran firefighter, which will be valuable and helpful at every stage of becoming a certified firefighter in NY.

How Much do Firefighters Make in NY: A Research-based Report

According to BLS, the NY firefighter’s salary, on an average, including overtime and holiday pay, is $49,080 per annum & $23.60 hourly. While this may seem low, it is just the starting salary. A firefighter’s salary in New York after five years of experience was recorded at $110,293. As a firefighter, you also have an opportunity to get promoted to the position of the Lieutenant, Captain, & then, the Battalion Chief. Salary of a Battalion Chief is $161,281, according to FDNY’s official website.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a firefighter (as on August 16, 2018) was $87,646 if the experience is not considered. If you work hard and get to the higher ranks, this could become your dream career with a meaningful job and a decent salary.

Job Description: Duties & Responsibilities of a Firefighter

As a New York firefighter, you will receive orders and have to act on them as soon as possible. There cannot be any exceptions, whatsoever, because lives and property are at stake. Below, you will find the duties and responsibilities of a firefighter provided by Cincinnati Fire Department:

  1. Respond to emergency fire calls that might come in when you are on duty or off duty.
  2. In an emergency fire situation, you have to make sure that the fire doesn’t spread. You might have to use water and fire extinguishers depending upon the nature of fire that you are facing.
  3. You will have carry equipment weighing 80-100 lbs and climb up ladders, break doors, windows, cut locks, and other parts of a building in order to save the people stuck inside.
  4. Evaluate the need of an emergency and get all the help required to save lives and damage.
  5. Gather all the evidence and information needed to find out the source of the fire by talking to the witnesses.
  6. You have to assess the condition of the structure that is on fire & make sure that no cracks, breaks, or charring have caused enough damage for a partial or complete collapse.
  7. After the fire is completely put out, you will have to work as a team to clean up the entire area of fire-affected furniture, clothes, appliances, etc.
  8. You will also have to work in place of EMTs if they arrive after you or work with them if required.
  9. You will take rounds and penalize people for any violations of fire codes along with informing them about fire safety and methods to prevent it.
  10. You might have to work with the cops to solve any cases around your fire scene and appear in the court hearings if ordered.
  11. You might come across hazardous and infectious materials on the job, you need to be able to keep yourself protected from them.

A firefighter’s job is very meaningful and rewarding because you help reduce the loss of lives and property. But, it is also a very challenging one because it requires a lot of physical and mental strength, agility, and determination. You will always be on standby as a firefighter, but if the satisfaction of this job is something you think will let you sleep better at night, this is the job for you. For more information on the topic, visit the official webpage of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) https://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/index.page and http://www.joinfdny.com.