Preparing for a Firefighting Career

Firefighting does not require advanced preparation. However, it is a very competitive job field and having certain skills, abilities and experience can provide you with a foundation to advance your career in the fire service.

Medical Coursework

  • A good place to start is by taking a CPR class. Classes are available through a variety of local organizations, such as the American Red Cross, Carle, Presence Health, and Parkland College

  • If you would like to go a step further, start working towards your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification.  Locally, Parkland College offers several programs:  a 5 credit-hour EMT-Basic certification; EMT-Paramedic certification, which is a 12-month, 29-credit-hour program; and an Associate’s degree, which is a 66-hour program. Programs incorporate clinical experience and internships; upon completion, students are eligible to sit for their licensing exams.

  • If you are not located in the Parkland College region, contact your local community college for similar offerings.

Volunteer as a Firefighter

Another great way to prepare for a career as a Firefighter is to volunteer as one!  Champaign County has several volunteer fire departments:

If you are not in Champaign County, contact your local agencies for volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer in the Community

Volunteering is a great way to get to know your community better. Here are some websites that can offer you up-to-date opportunities based on your areas of interest:

• CU Volunteer (for those in the Champaign County area)

• Volunteer Match

• Volunteer.gov

• Red Cross

(We aren’t endorsing any agency or organization in particular—these are just ideas of where to start).

Skills & Abilities

  • Mechanical skills or physics

  • Knowledge of life sciences (most firefighters are also Emergency Medical Technicians)

  • Map reading skills

  • Computer skills

  • Construction skills

  • Excellent physical condition

  • Basic math and reading skills

  • Team player

  • Able to multi-task and work well under stress

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City of Urbana | 400 S. Vine St., Urbana, IL. 61801 | 217/384-2459

The City of Urbana Welcomes Diversity! 
We foster an environment that values and encourages mutual respect, inclusion of all people, and utilizing differences and similarities as an organizational asset. EOE.