1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Becoming a California Firefighter

    I would like to get more information from you guys, I'm confused about the academy. If you get accepted to the academy will you start getting paid while attending? If so, how do I get into an academy?

    I'm currently on track to get my Business Degree next year around this time. But my main goal is to become a firefighter. I'm going to start taking an EMT course here in my community college as well as Fire Technology courses as well and plan on becoming a paramedic.

    I guess what I'm trying to get at with this post is what is the process in becoming a firefighter for california or LA county?

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    THis is a pretty broad question. Ill try to break it down.

    Bigger fire departments i.e. LA County, Kern County, LA City, etc. doesnt require a COLLEGE Firefighter 1 academy graduation. They require that you have an EMT Cert at some point in your career, so its a smart idea to knock out this coursework before getting hired. Makes it a lot easier for the departments, as well as makes you a much more viable candidate to select. As for the smaller departments, they require that you have your EMT at time of application, as well as a college ff1 academy graduation or CERT at time of application, as well as a paramedic cert for departments such as hermosa beach fire, manhattan beach fire, etc (all within LA County).

    As far as getting paid during your academy, if you are hired, you do get paid with the above mentioned departments. You are paid lower during the academy as you are a recruit (i.e. Kern County), but after graduation and/or completion of probation, your pay is raised to firefighter base pay.

    having a degree of any sort makes you a viable candidate, as well as raises your pay, as some departments offer an education incentive.

    Any other questions, feel free to pm me.


  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    Your best course of action will be to put yourself through a basic fire academy at the junior college. As was mentioned above, many departments REQUIRE graduation from a basic fire academy just to take the entry level test. Many larger departments, such as LA County, LA City, Long Beach, San Diego and San Francisco just to name a few DO NOT require a bsic fire academy prior to getting hired. The reality is, however, given the chance these departments will hire someone who has completed an academy when compared with someone who has not.
    A fire department academy is much more difficult than a junior college one. The failure rate is usually 30 - 40%. Those who have completed a basic academy prior to entering a fire department's academy have a better chance of succeding. We keep this in mind when we hire new firefighters.
    The JC fire academy does not pay. In fact, you pay the tuition. When you are hired by a fire department, the fire department pays you to attend the fire academy.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief

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