If you are interested in learning about how to become a firefighter in Georgia, you’re not alone. The state is one of the biggest employers with large departments across many cities.
So, how do you become a firefighter in Georgia? The following is a quick list of everything that Georgian firefighter applicants need to consider before discussing them in more detail.
- 18 years or older
- Possess a firefighter certification
- Pass the CPAT or similar fitness test
- Valid drivers license
- No previous criminal convictions
- Be of good character
- CPR training
Before any academy will approve your application for training, you need to prove that you meet all of the requirements above.
It’s also important to note, you may not make as much money here as in other states, but you can definitely serve your local community with pride.
This is as true here as anywhere because of Georgia’s strict codes and morals when recruiting the very best into the profession. The application and training process aren’t easy.
However, those with the skill, character and determination to succeed can make a start on a fulfilling career.
Once you pass the detailed application process you can then enter your basic training at the >>fire academy<< where you will take part in:
- A Basic Firefighter Training Program
- An optional Firefighter skills test
On completion with a passing grade, you can then apply for roles in one of many stations across the state.
Below are some of the different requirements for applying for training, the training options available and details about some of the training facilities and departments.
There is also information on job prospects including employment rates and mean salary for the state.
Basic Requirements For Georgia Firefighter Trainees
The majority of the requirements to apply to be a firefighter in Georgia are the same as in other states. Applicants must be 18 years old, or older, with a high school diploma or GED.
They must also be physically fit enough for the post and hold a valid Georgia state driver’s license.
You will be required to enclose copies of a birth certificate and educational certificate in with the application, as well as a notarized transcript of the college activity. This level of authentication and detail continues throughout the entire hiring process.
Physical fitness and Background Checks for Georgia Firefighters
That physical ability is determined via the physical agility test of the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council as well as a medical exam before starting training classes.
Trainees must present their signed medical release on their first day or else they won’t be allowed to continue.
The department will also conduct the standard background checks on criminal activity and drug screening before applicants can proceed.
In addition to this background check, the council may take fingerprints to search national files.
Other considerations to become a Georgia Firefighter
However, two issues come up that aren’t always mention as basic requirements: applicants must pass a polygraph test and be of good moral character.
The latter is interesting because it places a higher emphasis on the importance of the character of the crew member behind the certification.
The problem is, ‘good moral character’ is a term that is open to interpretation. The official guideline here says, “as determined by investigation” and “approved by the council”.
They clearly want the right type of person carrying out these public roles and representing the fire service.
Generally, this relates to any past behavior of lying, cheating and/or steal with patterns of criminal behavior. Any indication of repeated deception in the past won’t be tolerated.
Other states will also have departments that favor the polygraph during their application process. But, it is fairly common in Georgia.
Polygraphs shouldn’t be a surprise when we consider that transparency and ethics are key core values of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department among many others throughout the state.
This can seem daunting to new recruits but as long as you have nothing to hide, you should produce the right result.
The questions are typically the same as though previous asked on application forms.
The aim is to ensure that the information is correct, especially with questions about past convictions, drug use and personal identity.
If you’ve never taken a polygraph before, or aren’t sure what to expect, I wrote a long article and made a video for firefighters on how to pass a polygraph (click the link to be taken to the article).
Medical and educational requirements to become a Georgia firefighter.
Trainees must have CPR certification before stating their basic firefighter training classes.
They must obtain the certificate via a course accredited by the American Heart Association or a viable equivalent. That certificate must be available on the first day of training.
Further qualifications may be helpful in the future and this will depend on whether you become a volunteer or career firefighter. To begin with, this course provides the basics.
Applicants also need to show that they have completed two additional short courses before joining the academy.
They are the NIMS level 100 and 700 training courses.
The good news for all newcomers is that they are online options that are available on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.
You can sign up, pass the course and bring your certificates with you once accepted onto the BFTC course.
Georgia Basic Firefighter Training Course
This 8-week course is the basic state requirement for those looking to become firefighters. Even though it is called “basic”, training requirements still cover a range of topics.
Firefighters need to be able to handle themselves in all kinds of conditions.
There are training sessions on urban search and rescue, vehicle extractions, confined spaces and more. Recruits also learn strategies about different types of fires and forms of equipment.
The Firefighter I skills test in an optional training at the end of the course.
The result does not affect the pass or fail status of the BFTC.
However, this extra qualification is a good idea for those that want the best jobs. It is a nationally recognized professional qualification.
Fire Academies And Fire Science Programs In Georgia
Many applicants will obtain their qualifications through the Georgia Fire Academy in Forsyth.
But, some stations will offer an in-house program for the Basic Firefighter NPQ 1 with tests via the training council.
Below I have included some helpful links to academies, the state fire marshal and other valuable resources.
Fire Academies in Georgia:
- Forsyth: https://www.gpstc.org/about-gpstc/training-divisions/georgia-fire-academy/
- Oakwood: http://www.laniertech.edu/
- Albany: http://www.albanytech.edu/
- Rome: http://www.gntc.edu/student-services/index.php
- Marietta: http://www.chattahoocheetech.edu/
- Clarkeville: http://www.northgatech.edu/
- Waco: http://www.westgatech.edu/
- Statesboro: http://www.ogeecheetech.edu/
Fire Science Degree providers in Georgia:
- Atlanta: http://www.atlantatech.edu/
- Clarkesville: http://www.gptc.edu/content.cfm?PageCode=programgroup&ProgramGroupID=32
- Valdosta: http://www.wiregrass.edu/
- Albany: https://www.asurams.edu/
- Decatur: https://perimeter.gsu.edu/
- Griffin: https://www.sctech.edu/
- Lawrenceville: http://www.gwinnetttech.edu/
- Savannah: http://www.savannahtech.edu/
- Athens: http://athenstech.edu/
- Americus: https://www.southgatech.edu/
- Thomasville: http://southernregional.edu/
Contact the Georgia Fire marshal:
How To Apply To Become A Firefighter – Georgia Public Safety and Training Center.
There are two ways to apply for training on the Basic Firefighter Training Course depending on your circumstances.
Those that are new to the profession need to open a student account on the center’s access page. From there, the center will contact you with an ID and further information.
Volunteer firefighters looking to become career firefighters should register through their training officer. Be aware that the course is not cheap.
Tuition costs $5,175 at the time of writing and trainees need to supply their own gear.
Major Fire Departments In Georgia
How to become an Atlanta firefighter
- U.S. Citizenship or Naturalization
- 18 years of age and older
- A valid driver’s license
- Either a high school diploma or GED certificate
- A good 3-year driving record
- Any discharge from a military branch must be honorable or uncharacterized.
The City of Atlanta is one of the biggest employers of firefighters in Georgia with a wide range of departments.
This includes their Field Operations, Emergency Medical Services and Airport Fire divisions.
The latter is vital because Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International is listed as the world’s busiest.
There are also over 3000 high rise buildings and 60 miles of highway to look after.
Learn more about the Atlanta Fire Department at: https://www.atlantaga.gov/government/departments/fire
How To Become A Macon Firefighter
- A high school diploma or GED
- 18 years old or older
- A DD-214 if the applicant has prior military service
- A valid driver’s license
The Macon fire department is massive, with a service area including over 20 stations and 426 employees over different departments.
This means a general service area of 266 square miles including the city and surrounding areas.
Within that area lives a population of 156,462.
That means a lot of potential fires and accidents in a wide area.
The department needs large crews available to handle each incident. All Macon firefighters are certified as first responders and many hold other skills, such as hazardous material technicians and scuba divers.
This suggests a chance to diversify and develop additional skills within the department.
Learn more the Macon Fire Department at: http://www.maconbibb.us/fire-department/
Job prospects And Salary For Firefighters In Georgia.
Georgia fire departments employ a lot of firefighters.
There are 11,280 employed with a location quotient of 1.15 and a ratio of 2.57. The Atlanta – Sandy Spring – Roswell metropolitan area currently has the 8th biggest employment level for this category.
Yet one of the lowest hourly mean wages and a low annual mean wage of $38,060. These figures are obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There is a lot to consider when discussing how to become a firefighter in Georgia.
By national standards, the training process at the academy isn’t that tough.
The BFTC gives everyone a step onto the ladder with room to progress with national qualifications. The tough part is getting through that door for your first day.
There are lots of tests of character and physical fitness first and a lot of paperwork to deal with.
Those that are successful with their application and training can then go on to enjoy a great career as a firefighter in the state of Georgia. You could serve in major cities, rural communities or even one of the busiest airports in the world.