How to Become A Firefighter in California

Are you among many people who are looking for a way to become a firefighter in California? Well, you have come to the right place. Through this page, we’ll provide you with essential information that you need in order to get your dream job through California fire department.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) offers equal opportunity for all of you regardless your race, color, ancestry, sex, religious views, political views, age or sexual orientation to become firefighters. It’s really important for you to have the ability to work with a team, you need to build friendship and trust among other co-workers because you will be faced with many challenging situations that require great team works to do your job. You’ll be dealing with not just fire, but also medical emergencies, car or other vehicle accidents, wildland or structural fire, natural disasters and many other emergency accidents.

Having to deal with those various emergencies, it’s important to be physically fit and any candidates should meet CAL FIRE medical standard requirements. It’s a common thing for firefighters to work in shifts including weekends and holidays, there are times when you are required to stay and work in remote areas.

To become a firefighter in California, you have to meet several minimum requirements:

  1. You need to be at least 18-year old.
  2. Physically fit dexterity (agility to perform necessary tasks)
  3. Good visual acuity
  4. Color vision
  5. Hearing sufficient to perform assigned duties
  6. Possession of Valid California driver license (optional but desirable)

Above requirements are just the basic as there are other exams. Your medical and background will be checked as well.

CAL FIRE offers different fire protection careers depending on your qualification and experiences.

FIRE FIGHTER I Certification
If you are interested to become a seasonal firefighter in California, then you need to have Fire Fighter I certification. Usually CAL FIRE begins employment in the spring and lasts about 6 months. You will be responsible to fight fires using a variety firefighting equipment as well as responding to various emergency situations. You will be required to have skill to repair firefighter equipment.

FIRE FIGHTER II Certification
If you are looking for something more permanent, you need to have Fire Fighter II certification. There is a 3-year apprenticeship program, you will need to have some firefighting experiences. As firefighter who holds Fire fighter II certification, you will perform full range of fire fighting tasks, from fire prevention inspections, responding emergency situations to run into burning areas and structures with charged hose lines.

The minimum requirements to become eligible to enter FIRE FIGHTER II exams:

  1. 3-months of fire fighting experience, or
  2. A year experience as certified volunteer fire fighter, or
  3. Fire Fighter I certification, or
  4. A year experience as Fire Prevention Specialist I and completion of mandatory courses set by Department Forestry and Fire


Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certification
Although this is not required, but if you are an EMT certified, it would be a plus point to be taken into consideration to become a firefighter in California.

If you don’t have any background experience you might want to consider entering California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s (CAL FIRE) Academy to get your fire fighting training. The training covers everything from fire protection, fire prevention, law enforcement, administration, resource management to fire crew management. This academy is located on a 420 acre site in Sierra Nevada foothills, 35-miles southeast of Sacramento.

Resources :
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
California State Fire Fighter Association

One thought on “How to Become A Firefighter in California

  1. Michael L.

    I was in the navy as a engineer and have at least 2 years experience with fire fighting handling and equipment. Would it help if I brought in all certificates when applying?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>