Academic Preparation

Firefighters use many different skills to perform routine duties. They must be competent in several areas including physical science, mathematics, chemistry, biology and mechanical reasoning. The message is simple – study hard and in addition to mastering the basic subjects of reading, writing and mathematics, choose classes that will serve you well as a firefighter.

  • A firefighter needs general knowledge of physics and building construction to put out fires, perform rescue operations or inspect public buildings for fire safety violations.
  • As a first responder to medical emergencies and vehicle accidents, a firefighter relies on extensive medical training. Consequently, many fire departments require firefighters to become a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or licensed paramedic. Taking biology and physiology in school will give you a head start in this training.
  • Firefighters use mathematics to perform hydraulic calculations. Therefore, a strong foundation in mathematics is necessary for the job. Advanced math such as algebra and geometry have proven to be helpful.
  • Knowledge of chemistry and environmental ecology is necessary when responding to hazardous material and wildfire incidents.
  • Firefighters maintain fire equipment and apparatus and would benefit from such classes as welding, woodshop and auto mechanics.
  • Some departments require a Firefighter 1 Certification.
  • Most California fire departments require a passing score on the FCTC Written Exam