First  complete EMGM 105A, FIPT 101, FIPT 110, FIPT 150A, FIPT 306A, and FIPT 308 as the minimum entry level Firefighter Requirements.  Review the process to obtain your Associate’s Degree by visiting our CERT and Degree pageMany Fire Departments also encourage Bachelor’ Degrees in a variety of subjects including Fire Technology, Public Administration, and Business Administration.  In the Fire Service, Education is a lifelong process.


Experience is extremely important for pursuing a career in the fire service.  So where do you get experience?  After completing the classes above at  a minumum, it is time to start applying to departments that have Reserve or Volunteer/Stipend Positions.  San Diego County Fire Authority has partnered with Miramar College to provide entry level training requirements for their program.  (All CA Firefighter mandatory training is provided by Miramar ) Heartland Fire Rescue is one of the premier Fire Departments that offer Reserve Programs.  These programs provide additional staff to augment full-time Firefighters, provide training, and in most cases lead to full-time employment if you meet the qualifications.

There are other Fire Departments in the County that offer training programs for men and women who are between 16-21 through Fire Explorer Programs.  Chula Vista, La Mesa, and San Diego (Fire Cadets) offer these great opportunities for eager future firefighters.


There are several certifications for required for Firefighters.  Due to obvious economic factors, fire departments prefer to hiring candidates that have completed courses that are required or highly recommended.  These courses greatly increase the chances to get hired full-time or even selected as a Reserve Firefighter in some cases. 

Some of the courses suggested include CSTI Hazmat First Responder Awareness and Operations and CSTI Weapons of Mass Destruction - see for the latest classes.  Additional certification classes can include FSTEP Auto Extrication, FSTEP RIC, FSTEP LARRO and RESCUE I and RESCUE II.  These classes are offered at Heartland Fire Training through Miramar College.

The Fire Academy now provides Accredited CA State Certification once completed.  See the Fire Academy page for the latest details or check with Heartland Fire Training.

community involvement

Firefighters obviously work daily with the local community.  One of the characteristics Fire Departments seek from applicants are candidates who have strong ties with the community.  There are several programs in the community that reflect these characteristics.  They include working with youth sports, local church groups, civic groups or other volunteer opportunities like the San Diego Burn Institute or San Diego Fire House Museum (very popular with local candidates).  Finally another great idea, learn to become a CPR Instructor by visiting Crown Cove Aquatic Center through Southwestern College.  Great resume builder and helps maintain your skills!

job knowledge

Here it is...putting it all together.  Keep up with the nomenclature, terminology and understanding of the fire service.  Read magazines, webpages, Fire Service Books, and memorize the IFSTA Essential Book, the bible of the Fire Service.  During the interview phase for a Firefighter position, the interview candidate must demonstrate their knowledge of the position they are applying for...Be a student of the fire service and know the job you are applying for!  Good luck! It will be competitive!

Five Firefighter Essentials