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The Fire Service Provides Opportunity

Many of the men and women that serve at the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) received an opportunity at a new life as a result of joining the fire service.  A career as a firefighter provides stability, structure, a second family, and the ability to give back to the community in a very real and direct way.

In addition to the stability and opportunity for personal growth a career as a firefighter can offer, the job also comes with ample opportunity to receive extensive professional development and educational degrees that in turn may lead to promotions and higher levels of pay.

The Lakeland Fire Department has gathered the resources below as a spring board for prospective firefighters. This is not a definitive guide, but is a resource to direct interested individuals in Lakeland and its surrounding areas. Below you will find more information on what is required to be a firefighter and what organizations and schools offer the education and certificates you'll need to work in this field. 

Becoming a Firefighter

Firefighters in the State of Florida must be able to meet all of the general requirements for certification. Aspiring firefighters must be at least 18 years old, must possess a valid State of Florida driver's license, current CPR/ACLS certification, and be able to pass a physical examination designed to test their suitability for working in this physically demanding field.

Fire departments each set their own education standards, but a high school diploma or GED is the minimum requirement. Applicants for certification must also be able to pass a criminal background check.

Qualities Desired in a Firefighter Candidate

  • Dependable: Someone that is consistently there when you need them to be, responsible, and timely.
  • A Team Player: Team work is essential in the fire service. Firefighters work and live together so being a good team player is essential to success as a firefighter.
  • Compassionate: Firefighters are public servants, always putting others before themselves, so a potential candidate should demonstrate caring for others and a strong desire to help those in need.
  • Committed: The fire standards process and additional follow up examination and certification can take nearly a year and half from beginning to end. There are approximately 10 weeks of fire standards training, as well as a semester of EMT course work, followed by testing and certifications that would be required before an aspiring firefighter can seek employment. Additionally the application process can add many months to the equation in today’s competitive job market for firefighters. Candidates need to be able to stay dedicated to the end-goal and be consistently self-motivated to see it through to the end.

Certifications 

EMT / Paramedic 

You must complete the State of Florida Firefighter Certificate of Compliance and at a minimum, an EMT Basic Certification 

Although the word fire is frequently used at departments and is in the job title, a majority of the work firefighters do is emergency medical service related. We recommend you complete the EMT Basic Certification or Paramedic Certification first, to learn if this is something you truly want to do. These courses tend to weed out those who don't have the stomach for medical work, and those who are best suited for emergency medical work.  However, there is no specific order in which you need to receive your certifications.  

Below are locations in Central Florida where you can complete your EMT (EMR) /Paramedic Certification. 

 

Fire Standards 

The minimum standards program students would participate in, as well as the Candidates Physical Abilities Test (CPAT) required of all newly hired firefighters, are both very physically demanding. Firefighting requires you to be physically able to complete rigorous exercise, heavy lifting, and extended periods of exertion.

In addition to Fire Standards Training, there are series of exams that must be completed to become officially certified. Those are specifically addressed in Fire Standards. 

Below are locations in Central Florida where you can complete your Fire Standard courses, Firefighter I and Firefighter II.