Firefighters and Formal Qualifications The Myths

To become a firefighter you don’t usually need any formal qualifications. But you can’t afford to be complacent about your academic abilities; you still need to show a general intellectual competence to get ahead both in the initial selection phase and for any future career development.

Here are a few areas it will be important:

  • Your first taste of written testing will be within the initial firefighter selection process.   In addition to the challenging application form you will need brush up on the basics of reading, writing, comprehension and maths for the ability testing stage. You will be expected to show how well you a) understand information b) deal with numbers c) apply your judgement. Contrary to popular belief, fire-fighter training is not all about the physical demands of the job. A lot of the job is very technical and you’ll be learning some specialist skills and knowledge.
  • Might you want to develop your skills?   To tackle the demands of the next role up there is even more you’ll need to learn. Many Fire Services test your knowledge via Institute of Fire Engineer (IFE) exams.
  • Promotions are no longer given based on length of service but on how suitable you are for the post.   This is often judged by an extensive assessment process, including written papers which test how well you can commit your plans, solutions, decisions and logic to paper.
  • If you’re successful in your bid for promotion the hard work is about to begin!   Whether it’s writing letters, reading technical notes, preparing training, delivering presentations or implementing strategy, your ability to interpret, present and share information will be tested on a daily basis.


So what can you do?

  • Be prepared    As well as the physical demands of your training expect your brain to get a good workout!
  • Find reading or writing especially difficult?   Don’t worry, this needn’t be a disadvantage and there is help at hand. You just need to speak to the HR department to have your needs assessed and the right help allocated.
  • Take a look in our storeWe have developed Workbooks and Study Guides to help you with every test or assessment of your firefighter career. You aren’t alone!
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    FRS Team

    Our team of experts have the many years of Fire Service experience and are up to date with the latest selection news.

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