If a student is not currently a Florida State Certified Firefighter and would like to become one, he or she must earn the State of Florida Firefighter I and II Certification (called “Certificate of Compliance” or Minimum Fire Standards). This basic training is provided in nearly 40 approved training centers throughout Florida. This is a comprehensive course that involves 400+/- of practical and academic work. This certification must be attained through a state certified fire academy such as the one at Ridge Technical College (Ridge Fire Academy), 7700 State Road 544, Winter Haven, FL 33881; Telephone: 863.419.3060. Ridge Technical College is a separate program from the Polk State Fire Science Technology Program.
To become employed as a full-time firefighter in Florida, an applicant must hold a State of Florida Firefighter I and II, “Certificate of Compliance” and a Paramedic or EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certificate by the State of Florida. Most students take their EMT first. Also, some fire academies require EMT to be a prerequisite prior to the training for Firefighter I and II.
Also, they must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and a valid Florida driver’s license. Some Fire Departments only require EMT instead of Paramedic certification. Also, a high level of physical fitness is required. This requires good leg, back, core, and grip strength, as well as above-average cardio/endurance. Each fire department and training academy has different levels of physical fitness requirements and physical testing. Most departments require a high level of dependability, teamwork, compassion towards others, discipline, and commitment. Fire departments operate under a quasi-military, chain-of-command organizational structure.
Polk State College offers an excellent program for both EMT and paramedics.