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About the Fire Service Profession


A career in the fire service is both challenging and rewarding. Fire suppression is only one of a wide variety of duties performed by the firefighters. In fact, approximately 85% of all fire departments responses are to emergency medical calls. Other typical assignments may include fire prevention education, commercial and residential fire inspections, community outreach and service, post-fire salvage and cleanup, and equipment maintenance.

General Qualifications


Minimum Requirements
  • 18 years of age
  • Valid California Driver’s License
  • Clean driving record
  • HS diploma or GED
Physical Requirements      
  • Visual acuity of 20/70 uncorrected in each eye
  • 20/25 correctable vision in both eyes
  • Normal range depth perception
  • Ability to identify primary colors
  • Normal hearing range
  • Weight proportioned to height
  • Excellent physical condition
Personal Attributes
  • Good judgment
  • Good communications skills
  • Demonstrate mechanical aptitude & basic math skills
  • Ability to understand and learn firefighting material
  • Ability to face hazardous & life threatening incidents
  • Possess coping skills for managing various situations
  • Must be a team player
  • Ability to get along with a variety of people in close quarters
  • Ability to follow orders
  • Ability to work in a paramilitary organization

Applying for a position

Most jurisdictions will distribute a flier or an announcement when they have an opening. To get specific information about a particular agency, contact their Human Resources office. Most selection processes for entry-level firefighters consist of an application screening, a written exam, a physical ability test, and one or more oral interviews.

The hiring process for entry-level firefighters is extremely competitive. It is not uncommon for a department to have as many as 5,000 applicants for as few as three or four job openings. However, this situation may not apply to other positions such as fire inspector, hazardous materials specialist, arson investigator, public information officer, and community service representative.

What you can do to prepare now

Mt. SAC’s Fire Technology Department can prepare you for a rewarding career in fire service. Becoming a firefighter often takes a great deal of long-term preparation, self-motivation, and commitment. While there is no guarantee that these qualifications will result in your selection as an entry-level firefighter, experience has shown that they tend to distinguish outstanding candidates and validate their interest in the profession.

For additional information, please contact us at (909) 274-5145 or via email at firetechnologyAT_mtsac.edu.