As with any job there are basic requirements such as a minimum age, 18, and hold a current driver‚Äôs license. In addition to the general requirements, there are two specific areas of training that are necessary. The Bedford Fire Department requires that an applicant be certifiable (Completed fire school but not working) or certified as a basic firefighter with the Texas Fire Commission at the time of employment. The applicant must also be a certified or licensed paramedic. So you ask, how do I achieve these certifications? Initially, you will need to acquire your Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT). There are several different local institutions that provide the certification courses. The most popular route is through your local community college. If you have time constraints like work, family, or, existing classes, etc. you can take the course online.
It is recommended that you try to attend a junior college class due to the amount of hands on training that will be required but the online course is acceptable. EMT is the fundamental building block of your career as a Firefighter/Paramedic. Therefore it is important that you have the basics perfected before moving on. After you obtain your EMT certificate there are several different routes to take. It is recommended that you go straight into Paramedic school while your skills and knowledge are still fresh. Your study habits will have begun to form which is important for Paramedic school. You will find that paramedicine is much more in depth and time consuming than the EMT course was. Paramedic school, like EMT school, is offered at your local community college or online.
With both the EMT and Paramedic course, if you decide to attend a college, consider choosing a program that is accredited so the hours can apply towards an Associate‚Äôs Degree. If you take the class online you will not accumulate any college hours. If you find that there is not a Paramedic class offered directly after graduation of EMT, the other route is to attend your Basic Firefighter Academy. Again, this class is offered online and at your local community college.¬† Most fire school programs are not accredited, even the college programs, however there are a couple of programs that are accredited and apply toward your Associate‚Äôs degree.¬† After you have obtained your certifications you will be able to apply with the Bedford Fire Department and begin the testing process. Depending on what avenue you choose, you should expect to spend between 13 and 30 months completing all three certifications.
What does the application process consist of? First of all there has to be a position open. If there is an open position it will be advertised through the City‚Äôs web site, local newspapers and even at your required schools. It will be up to the applicant to do the research to see if there is an opening. After you apply and have all your required certifications checked you will be informed by the fire department of when the written and physical agility tests will be held. You will take a written test and a physical test to see if you can meet the demands of the firefighter position;¬† if you past both tests you will be invited to the next step, an oral review board. If you pass the oral review board, a thorough background check will be performed including a credit check, polygraph, drug screening, and a medical physical. If your background check meets our high standards, you will be invited to meet with the Fire Chief for a Chief‚Äôs Interview. Hopefully all goes well and the Chief will make you a job offer and you will become part of the team. If you need further assistance you can research the following links or direct your questions to Torin Johnson Chief of Training/Safety.