How Do I Become a Fire Fighter / Paramedic?

How Do I Become a Fire Fighter / Paramedic?

November 3, 2014 by respondright

Firefighting is a rewarding career that can be challenging to the mind, body and spirit.  It is a career that requires dedication and determination to meet the mental and physical demands of the job.

Typical Requirements

In the St. Louis and St. Charles area, requirements will vary depending on the city, department or district you are applying with.  In general, most employers will require that the candidate meets these requirements:

  • Age – Depending on the department they will require a minimum age of 18 or 21 years old.
  • Driver’s license – A valid driver’s license is crucial for a firefighter / paramedic due to the types of apparatus they may drive on a daily basis.
  • Physical exam – Candidates must pass a physical exam and drug screening for employment.
  • Education – A high school diploma or GED will be required.  Most paid departments in the St. Louis and St. Charles county area will require some level of EMS licensure, either as an EMT or Paramedic.  All departments will require the completion of a fire academy.


What is the best way for me to obtain my education?

Once you have made the decision that a professional career as a firefighter / paramedic is for you, think about the area you ultimately will be applying for a job.  Will you want to work in St. Louis City, St. Louis County or St. Charles County?  This will help you determine which fire academy is right for you.  We will talk more about this later.

Since most departments require EMT and/or Paramedic licensure, most people will begin by obtaining their Paramedic license.  EMT training can be completed in about 5 months.  Paramedic training will take approximately an additional 12 months.

Toward the end of Paramedic training many students will start to apply for the fire academy.  As we discussed earlier in this article, determining where you will be working is crucial when deciding on which fire academy you will want to apply for.  For example, in St. Charles county most departments require the completion of the Missouri Division of Fire Safety Fire fighter I & II certification.  This training is conducted at several fire academy’s in the State of Missouri including the St. Charles County Fire Academy.  However, if you are interested in working in the St. Louis County area, departments will require that you have successfully completed the St. Louis County Fire Academy.


Do I need to have my Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree before I can work as a Fire Fighter / Paramedic?

No.  In the State of Missouri the education that is required to work as a Paramedic is the completion of an accredited Paramedic school and successful licensure as a Paramedic.  The education that is required to work as a will vary depending on geographic location, but in Missouri it does not require a degree.


Here’s a quick road map of what a student’s typical training looks like:

    1. Graduate from High School
    2. EMT School
    3. Paramedic School
    4. Fire Academy
    5. Apply for Jobs
    6. Dream Job as a Fire Fighter / Paramedic!!!