Training to be a firefighter holds a lot of responsibility, so there are several requirements as well as restrictions which stand in the way of becoming a firefighter. As a result, it is often questioned whether a felon can become a firefighter. It is possible for a convicted felon only if the felony is the same level as a Class B misdemeanor or above.
Candidates who have committed any crimes which question their moral character cannot apply to train as a firefighter. Any felony conviction in the level of Class C such as domestic abuse or family assault conducted in the last three years would not be allowed to register. The same goes for felons with court-ordered community service as well as probation.
What Disqualifies You?
As firefighters have the potential to save or end lives, the screening process is very specific. There are several requirements as well as restrictions which can stand in the way of you becoming a fireman.
Below are the conditions that a candidate must guarantee:
- Must be nineteen years or older by the time of the entrance examination.
- Must have a complete high school education or equivalent through a GED. They must be able to write, read and speak and in English without any difficulty.
- To practice as a firefighter, a certification is required. You must also have certifications of a paramedic or an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). After finishing the fire academy, you must earn a certification from the state.
- Must have a good credit history and should pay their debts on time as it shows commitment.
- Must have a valid driver’s license within the timeframe as per the requirements of the department.
- A clean driving record is required with not more than three preventable accidents or moving violations that took place in the last three years. If any of these exist on the applicant’s record before the three-year period, it would be looked at case by case.
- There are several medical requirements as well. The applicant must have visual sharpness consisting of 20/40 binocular at a minimum. This must be corrected by wearing lenses or glasses. The uncorrected requirements are 20/100 binocular at the minimum.
- Must have a good peripheral vision and great visual field performance as well, comprising 140 degrees in the parallel meridian of both eyes.
- Must not have any hearing loss of more than 40 dB at 3000 Hz, 1000 Hz, and 500 Hz and they must not suffer from any condition related to hearing that may interfere with the performance of their job.
- Must be a legal citizen of the United States.
- Must pass the physical test, a polygraph test, and a psychological examination.
Restrictions from Becoming a Fireman
- There must be no convicted felony. Candidates with DWI/DUI felony can only apply if the offense has been committed for the last ten years.
- They must not be indicted for any offense and must not be hunted by any law enforcement agency.
- There must be no illegal drug use in the last two years. The blood test results must show a clear sign of no drugs in the system. They must not have been convicted of crimes involving the sale and purchase of illegal drugs.
- If the applicant served in the military, air force or any other government organization, they must not have a dishonor discharge.
- They must not have an unstable work history. The participants can also be eliminated from the screening process due to immature behavioral tendencies and poor decision-making skills.
- Candidates with alcohol abuse problems which may result in harmful behavior may not be eligible.
- Applicants with medical conditions that may interfere with the job requirements may not be eligible.
Becoming a Fireman with a Criminal Record
To become a fireman with a felony record of driving under the influence is difficult but not impossible. The candidate must go through a variety of stages to show their competence and dedication toward the job.
As a DUI displays a sign of poor life choices, the applicant must take ownership of their actions and show remorse to prove to the chief of the department and convince them of their character development. This can be done by being well-prepared for the interview.
A person convicted of a DUI must have proof of their lifestyle changes. They can join groups as volunteers such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving to show that they are willing to give back to the society and that their actions have taught them to become better and prevent others from following the same patterns in life.
It is also important to not lie about the felony as the background checks will show it. However, if the interviewer does not mention the past felony, it must not be brought up.
Overall, the applicant must display signs of maturity in their behavior.