Becoming a Firefighter as a Veteran


Veteran Resources

Date: Author:

Blaine Zimmerman

Firefighters serve communities directly, putting their life on the line to protect people from danger. Because of this, it is an attractive profession to troops and veterans alike. The alignment of values between the two professions makes transitioning from the military to civilian life as a firefighter a bit less drastic, and allows veterans to continue protecting their communities.

Firefighting can be a tough career to break into. Many firefighting hopefuls work to build their resume for years before their application is accepted. However, having served in the military is a boon to landing a firefighting job. Military service not only cultivates crucial skills and attitudes, but provides veteran’s benefits that can aid soon-to-be firefighters.

Skills and Attitudes

The most beneficial aspect of being a veteran is the experience of military service itself. Many aspects of service translate directly to traits aligning with being a great firefighter. Many fire departments will be attracted to veteran applicants because of many abilities: closely following complex protocols, collaborating efficiently within a team, leadership, working in high-stress environments, understanding of the importance of rank structure, and many others.

Because of this clear alignment of skills, many veterans transition to jobs as firefighters. Fortunately, this means there’s a good chance a veteran applicant will encounter a veteran or someone has worked closely with veterans reviewing their resume. Thus, fire departments often have a great deal of understanding about the benefits of military service.

Veterans Programs

A large number of communities utilize preferential hiring for firefighter jobs. But, this is not guaranteed. Being an honorably discharged veteran is sometimes not the only thing needed for a hiring boost in the firefighter application process. Some may require that the applying veteran has served a certain amount of time or has been awarded a campaign ribbon. Because these requirements differ between fire departments, it is integral to thoroughly research what a specific fire department does in regards to veteran applications.

Preferential hiring of veterans is the most direct benefit a firefighting applicant can utilize, but it is not nearly the only one. Through the GI Bill and similar programs, veterans can receive financial assistance in gaining an education that would benefit an application for a firefighter job. There are both associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in Fire Science, which would provide valuable knowledge pertaining to the many facets of a firefighting career. Additionally, there are certificates in various fire safety areas offered by the National Fire Protection Association. Any education in fire science and safety is a valuable investment in a career as a firefighter.

There are non-profit organizations dedicated to helping veterans transition to civilian careers. INvets offers a number of resources veterans can make use of for any career path. Interview training, career planning, resume improving, and connecting veterans to employers. Non-profit organizations like INvets are excellent resources for veterans wanting to be firefighters, as they are experts in leveraging veteran-specific skills, which are incredibly applicable to a career in firefighting.

Help INvets help you! Get started with us today to take your first step towards a firefighting career.