I am interested in Becoming a Firefighter.  Where do I start?

All Firefighters must be certified as a National Registered EMT.  It is suggested to start with the EMGM 105 - EMT - NATIONAL REGISTRY course (See EMT FAQs for class requirements).  In addition, start your FIPT courses with FIPT 150A and FIPT 101.

Establish your educational plan through the counseling office and declare your major in FIPT.  (See CERT/DEGREE Page) You may take the FIPT courses in any order you wish, however it is suggested to take FIPT 101 first.

What books do I need for my classes, WHERE CAN I PURCHASE MY BOOKS?

We recommend purchasing your required textbooks through www.firebooks.com. Typically this is where you can find the cheapest books and will be delivered within a day or two after ordering.  To find out which required textbook you need for your class, click on the FIPT Courses page and select the course you are taking.

I Understand You Must Be a Paramedic to Become a Firefighter?  Is that True? 

Mostly True.  Most Fire Departments in San Diego County require candidates to be a National Registered Paramedic. (Exception is San Diego City.)  In addition, most large Fire Departments, LA City, LA County, Orange County, Ventura County do not require Paramedic, however paramedics do quite well in the testing process.

How do I become a Paramedic?

There are four Paramedic Programs in San Diego County.  Prior to applying to paramedic school, you must be a registered EMT, work in the field as an EMT for a minimum of one year and complete Anatomy and Physiology.

    Paramedic Programs

    Southwestern College Paramedic Program

    Palomar College Paramedic Program


    NCTI (AMR) San Diego

    So You Want To be a Paramedic Link

How do I go the to the fire academy?

Miramar College supports two Fire Academies in San Diego, the San Diego Fire - Rescue Academy and The Heartland Fire Academy.  The San Diego academy is for Fire Recruits who have been selected after completing the Firefighter Testing process for San Diego Fire - Rescue.  The top group of Category One candidates who are not selected as Fire Recruits may be selected through a lottery process to attend the academy as an open enrollee.  Open Enrollees must complete CPAT prior to the start of the fire academy.

Are there any disqualifications that would prevent me from getting hired?

When testing for the fire department or EMS company you will go through a background check to ensure you meet the proper qualifications and standards to work with the public.  Ultimately, you want to make certain you live a conservative lifestyle and you do not have any of these issue in your background.  Here are some examples of potential issues: Unresolved legal issues, i.e. unpaid tickets, multiple speeding offenses, multiple misdemeanors, outstanding warrant, DUI or other alcohol related issues,(DUI maybe overlooked after 10 years of good driving record), a felony and potentially a poor credit history.  Most background investigations participate in DMV Driver License Pull Programs.

So what do you do if you have an issue in your background?  Example, you have a DUI or other alcohol related offense.  Find a way to learn from this mistake, go beyond court ordered programs - join MADD and help prevent other people from making the same mistake.  Then use this experience in an interview as a positive learning experience.  Hoever, even then it is very difficult to get hired with a DUI in your past.

What about age?  Fire Departments do not have an age requirement outside of being a minimum of 18 years old.  You must be 18 years old to certify as an EMT.  There have been more than one student in our program who have been hired as a Firefighter while in their mid 40s.

Additional resources:

One of San Diego County’s best websites to learn about the firefighter hiring process:


FIPT - Frequently Asked Questions