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How To Become a Firefighter in New York

Welcome to our step by step guide on how to become a firefighter in New York (NY). We cover the procedures, certificates required, obligatory firefighter tests, information regarding salaries in NY, and much more.

Fire Departments In New York

In order to become a Firefighter in New York, you will need to locate a fire department to apply at. Depending on the department you choose, hiring requirements may vary slightly. This also includes required certifications and prior education. Here is a list of Fire Departments in NY. Make sure to contact the ones you’re interested in and inquire about their hiring process. This part of the process is crucial if you want to learn how to become a firefighter in New York.

Basic Firefighter Requirements in New  York

The following requirements hold true for almost every single fire department in the state of NY, including New York City.

  • Must be 21 years or older
  • Must be a US citizen
  • Must possess a high school diploma or an equivalent
  • Must pass a background check and demonstrate proof of good character
  • Must hold a valid New York driver’s license
  • Mus successfully pass a drug test

In certain places, such as New York City, you also need to be a resident of the jurisdiction governing the fire department you are applying at.

Do You Need a Fire Degree To Become a Fireman in New York?

Most fire departments in general do not list a fire degree or any sort of fire training as an official requirement. Where there is a lot of competition however, such as in New York City, fire department chiefs will be significantly more inclined to hire someone with prior firefighter training.

Below is a list of a few popular fire academies in New York:

Take a look at this list of NY community colleges, many of which offer some form of fire training.

Fire Department Tests For Aspiring New York Firefighters

If you want to be hired as a fireman in New York, you’ll need to go through a relatively difficult recruitment process:

Step #1: Submit an application. If you meet the minimum State requirements as outlined above, as well as any other requirements set forth by your fire department, you’ll first need to fill out and submit a very detailed application. Some of the information you’ll need to provide here will include:

  • Extensive details on prior work experiences
  • Extensive details about your education, acquired certificates
  • Family members’ and friends’ contact information (for background check)
  • Information regarding any encounters with the law

For all of the above you’ll need to provide dates, exact names, phone numbers, and more. Depending on the fire department, it might take you as long as 2 weeks to round up all the information required to fill out the application.

If your application meets the department’s minimum requirements, you’ll be contacted with details regarding the date of the written exam.

Step #2: Pass a written exam. The written firefighter test is not geared towards assessing your knowledge of the fire service. Rather, its purpose is to determine your ability to solve basic math and physics problems, spatial recognition abilities, and to test your comprehensive reading skills. Most of the questions will follow a multiple-choice, A/B/C/D system. Expect the test to last up to 3 hours, depending on the fire department in question.

Step #3: Pass an oral interview. Only those who perform really well on the written exam will be invited to participate in the oral interview. This will be conducted by a team of fire department chiefs, who will ask you questions about your personality and goals in life. They may also ask you basic questions about the fire service as a whole. Think of this as just a regular job interview, not an exam or a test.

Step #4: Submit your CPAT certification. The Candidate Physical Ability Test certification is required by pretty much every fire department in New York. The difference mostly lies in when you actually need to present the certificate; some departments will ask for it after you pass the oral interview(s). Other departments will ask for the CPAT certificate before your are even considered for the oral interview. Ask the department in question about their exact procedure. Please see our extensive CPAT guide for more details.

#5: Pass a physical test and background test. You are now well on your way to becoming an NY firefighter. The last step of the process will involve a full physical that can last an entire day. Expect your eye-sight, body fat levels, respiratory and circulatory systems to be tested extensively. A drug test will also be performed, with more to follow after you are hired.

A very extensive background check will also be performed. Fire department representatives will contact your family members and friends and ask about you. Expect all the details (education, certificates, encounters with the law, etc.) you provided in your application at the beginning of the recruitment process to be double and triple-checked by the department. A prior felony conviction will disqualify you, while misdemeanors will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Even something as small as having too many parking tickets can make it impossible for you to become a firefighter in New York. Fire departments are only looking to hire model citizens for the job.

#6: Probationary period. If everything went well so far, you’ll be hired as a probationary firefighter. The probation period will usually lasts from 6 to 12 months. During this time, you’ll have to undergo firefighter training. You’ll get to meet the firemen at your fire station, and learn about the day-to-day workings of the station. Only once you successfully pass the probation period will you be hired as a full-time, professional NY firefighter.

#7: EMT certification. All fire departments in New York require some form of medical training. This can be either an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certificate, or a CFR-D (Certified First Responder with Defibrillation) certificate. In most cases you’ll be required to acquire this certification before your probation period has been completed.

How To Become a Firefighter in New York City?

The procedure for becoming a New York City firefighter is very similar to what we outlined above. There are, however, a few extra requirements, common for most New York City fire departments:

  • You’ll need at least 15 college semester credits, or;
  • You must be an honorably discharged full-time soldier, or;
  • You must have 6 months of full-time, paid working experience, with a recommendation from your employers

Additionally, all New York City firefighters are required to become a Certified First Responder with Defibrillation (CRF-D). An EMT certificate is not enough by its own to get hired. You’ll need to get your CRF-D before the end of your probationary period.

You must also be a New York resident for a minimum of 5 years to be eligible for a New York City firefighter position.

How Long Does It Take To Become a New York City Fireman?

The list of candidates is very long in New York. It can take anywhere between 1 and 4 years for you to be invited to the oral interview, even after successfully completing the written exam. Use this time to educate yourself on the subject of firefighting, get in top physical shape, maybe attend some fire training if time and money allow for it.

How Much Does a Firefighter Earn in New York?

Firefighter salaries vary significantly from one city to another within New York. As of August 28, 2013, the average New York salary was $58,152 a year.

New York City pays extremely well.

  • Probationary firefighter: between $39,370 and $43,074
  • After 1 year: between $41,311 and $49,470
  • After 2 years: between $44,955 and $53,811
  • After 3 years: between $49,494 and $59,629
  • After 4 years: between $54,556 and $65,331
  • After 5 years: between $76,488 and $99,104

A New York City firefighter Lieutenant will earn between $94,300 and $125,848
A Captain will earn between $108,244 and $149,163
A Battalion Chief will earn between $140,945 and $161,281

How To Become a Firefighter in New York – Summary

We hope this guide has been helpful. Please take your time to browse through our website, where you’ll find guides that will help you on your journey to becoming a firefighter in New York. Any questions – please contact us or leave a comment below. We get back to everyone.

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