How to Become a Firefighter

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The Burbank Fire Department wants qualified, ambitious individuals who desire to build a worthwhile career. Our Department is known for its progressive and innovative programs. Our wide diversity of challenging assignments offers personal growth as well as professional career advancement. These assignments include:

  • Paramedic/Emergency Medical Services Program
  • Hazardous Materials Team
  • Urban Search and Rescue
  • Fire Prevention Bureau
  • Public Education
  • Arson Investigation

Watch a video of the 2018 Firefighter Recruit Academy.


A Burbank firefighter must be a United States citizen of good character and free from any mental or physical condition which would limit performance. You must be at least 21 years of age at the time of appointment. A high school diploma or GED and valid California Driver License are required. A California Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certificate is also required at the time of appointment.

To receive updates on firefighter recruitment, please visit the City of Burbank Online Employment Center and subscribe to a job alert.

Selection Process

If you meet the qualifications necessary to become a Burbank firefighter, you may be considered for this position upon successful completion of any combination of the following:
  • Written Test: May measure your ability to understand written and oral directions, mathematics, mechanical aptitude and reasoning skills.
  • Physical Agility: Consists of events designed to measure your physical endurance, strength and agility.
  • Oral Interview: Evaluates your reasoning and problem solving abilities as well as your interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Background Investigation: Includes a thorough check of personal and employment histories along with contacting persons who know you and can evaluate your potential as a Burbank firefighter.
  • Truth Verification Examination: Confirms the accuracy of the information provided in the background investigation.
  • Psychological Evaluation: Determines if you are presently suited to perform the difficult and stressful job of a firefighter.
  • Medical and Orthopedic Examination: Confirms you are in good health with no conditions which would restrict your ability to safely perform firefighting duties.
  • Department Interview: Conducted with the Fire Chief for final selection.

After successfully completing the entry level testing process, you’ll be set to meet the challenge of the Firefighter Recruit Academy. As a recruit, you will be thoroughly trained in all aspects of firefighting under the professional guidance of the academy staff. When you have successfully passed tests of both academic and physical abilities, you will graduate as a Burbank firefighter fully prepared to provide quality service to the City of Burbank.

Steps to Becoming a Firefighter

  1. Sign up for various firefighter recruitment sites.
  2. Start testing with any fire department that you qualify for. Every test better prepares you for the next one. Figure out your weaknesses and work on them. For example, if you find the math portion of the written exam difficult, then work to improve your math skills.
  3. Enroll in and get your EMT certificate and get your National Registry certificate as well. This alone will make you eligible to apply for many departments in the U.S. (In most states, EMT courses can be taken at select community colleges. Keep in mind that these classes often fill up fast and priority will be given to current students, so you may need to sign up for other classes before enrolling).
  4. Take general education courses and work towards your AS degree in fire science as well as anatomy and physiology, which are often prerequisites for paramedic school.
  5. Once certified, apply for EMT jobs with private ambulance companies, hospitals, etc., to get some hands on experience. 
  6. Enroll in a Firefighter 1 Academy.
  7. Get involved in a volunteer, reserve or cadet program. If such a program is available in your area prior to obtaining your certifications, get involved now.
  8. If considering paramedic school, find a good one, get enrolled and get your paramedic license.
  9. Continue working towards your AS degree in fire science and once achieved consider a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as public administration or emergency management.
  10. Take as many specialized courses as possible: Driver operator/EVOC, wildland firefighter, hazardous materials tech and specialist, rescue systems, high rise tactics, confined space rescue, swift water rescue, truck company operations, engine company operations, etc.