How To Become A Firefighter In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how to become firefighters in Australia, including the recruitment process, and salary.


Do you find saving lives and helping others extremely satisfying? If yes, a firefighter career is ideal for you.


As the most rewarding and demanding career, a firefighter's job involves much more than just controlling and extinguishing fires.


Firefighters also respond to other emergencies, such as search and rescue marine or motor accidents, administering first aid, and much more.


Read this post below to learn how to become a firefighter in different states in Australia, how much money they get paid (salary), the recruitment process, and much more.



1. What Does A Firefighter Do?


A firefighter or fireman is a highly skilled individual who works to combat and extinguish fires. They also act as an emergency medical technician (EMTs), participate in search and rescue operations, and educate the community regarding fire safety.


A firefighter is the first official always seen during fires, floods, storms, vehicle accidents, or other emergencies. That is why they are also known as "first responders.'



2. Firefighter Responsibilities in Australia


Although you may have reviewed sufficient information regarding the responsibilities of firefighters in Australia, most applicants often need help defining their actual roles and responsibilities.


When it comes to fire services in Australia, there are three different types:


  • Salaried and urban

  • Government land with both volunteer and salaried opportunities

  • Volunteer and Rural


Each firefighter organisation or group in Australia has its own goals, history, culture, and mission. To be part of a group or organisation, consider if you want to work as a volunteer or be paid.


Remember, only some fighters are going to fight a fire. Most of the groups are a part of more significant communities and organisations. It means you might be working to educate people about fire safety or help communities discover the best ways to prevent or reduce the risk of fires. 


The firefighters in Australia are also called upon to do things like:


  • Inspecting the after-effects of structures or bushfires.

  • Safeguard people, environment, and property.

  • Carry out fire hydrant maintenance and inspections.

  • Risk assessments.

  • Building inspections for giving office approval or for safety purposes. 

  • Working in rescue operations in marine disasters, auto accidents, or any rural issues. 

  • Disaster response.

  • Administering first aid.

  • Evacuating and rescuing people in life-threatening situations.

  • Attend drills, demonstrations, rescue classes, and training activities for emergencies. 

  • Free occupants from crashed vehicles.



3. How To Get Prepared To Become A Firefighter?


If you are looking for a career as a firefighter in Australia, you need to work on the following aspects:


  • Start working on your leadership skills, fitness, and resilience. You can do this by participating in a team sport or volunteering in your local community.


  • Look for an opportunity if you can work as a volunteer with your local fire station. Many places offer youth and cadet programs to help you experience that can make your application closer to getting approved.


  • Discuss the job role with a firefighter to know if you could do the job. As this job is full of responsibilities, you may feel stressed out at times. However, keep in mind this role is quite rewarding.



4. How To Become A Firefighter in New South Wales (NSW)?


Fire and Rescue, New South Wales firefighters must be ready to help anyone, anytime, anywhere. To become a firefighter in NSW, a candidate has to undergo a 13-week recruit course that involves theoretical and practical subjects.


Besides this, there are physical tests such as using face masks in a confined space, breathing tools, working at the top of the ladder, and carrying and assembling apparatus. You also need to pass medical and fitness tests.


This rewarding and challenging job is available in permanent (full-time) and on-call firefighter positions. However, you have to be eligible to qualify for any of the positions.



Eligibility To Become A Firefighter in NSW:



To learn more about becoming a firefighter in NSW, visit the website.



5. How To Become A Firefighter In Queensland (QLD)?


To become a firefighter in Queensland, the firefighter must have mental, emotional, and physical strength. The recruitment process of firefighters in Queensland can be pretty competitive. 


Therefore, it is vital to give the best shot. It includes intense and sustained physical activity, working in confined spaces with no or poor visibility, and working in hot and humid environments.


Above all these mental and physical demands, QFES needs firefighters to have high mental strength, physical fitness, skill, and powerful commitment to their role. The selection process for assessing these traits is highly competitive.



Eligibility To Become A Firefighter in QLD:


To apply for Fire and Rescue firefighter in Queensland, a candidate should meet the following criteria:


  • Must have a valid C-class Australian driver's license with two years of driving experience. 

  • Medically, mentally, and physically fit.

  • Permanent resident of Australia or New Zealand.

  • Minimum two years of full-time paid work experience.

  • Completed Year 12 or an equal qualification recognised by QFES.

  • Eligible to work with Children Blue Card from Blue Card Services.


To learn more about the selection process and other details about becoming a firefighter in Queensland, visit the website.



6. How To Become A Firefighter In South Australia (SA)


The South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) provides effective and efficient emergency services. To join MFS as a firefighter, a candidate has to meet the highest standard of excellence in providing emergency services.


You can apply for two profiles for firefighter jobs in South Australia - full-time firefighters and retained firefighters. Regardless of which type you opt for, make sure you are eligible for it.



Eligibility To Become A Firefighter in South Australia:



  • Both men and women can apply.

  • Must have a valid C-class Australian driver's license with two years of driving experience

  • Candidates should be community-minded, intelligent, fit, and healthy.

  • Medically, mentally, and physically fit.

  • Permanent resident of Australia or New Zealand.

  • Proof of birth, address, citizenship, and residency. 


To get a brief overview of the recruitment process, visit the Government website of MFS.



7. How To Become A Firefighter In Victoria (VIC)?


If you genuinely desire to serve the community, you can opt for a career as a firefighter in Victoria. Fire Rescue Victoria constantly looks for candidates looking for jobs with diverse experiences and skills.


However, the candidates must be mentally, physically, and medically fit to become a firefighter in Victoria. Besides this, one should have good interpersonal and communication skills too. Check out the eligibility to become a firefighter in Victoria.



Eligibility To Become A Firefighter in Victoria:


  • Must be a permanent resident of New Zealand or Australia

  • Must have a driver's license by January 1, 2022. A green probationary license is also acceptable

  • You must comply with driver history and criminal history policies. 

  • Medical clearance is mandatory from their doctor before undertaking the physical assessment phase.

  • Must undergo a National Police Record Check.

  • After receiving an employment offer, they must acquire a Heavy Rigid license. 


Visit the website to learn about all aspects of becoming a firefighter in Victoria.



8. How To Become Firefighter In Western Australia (WA)?


The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is one of Australia's most competitive fire services. It has conducted many variations of recruitment of around 1200-3500 applications.


The department accepts applications from women, Torres Strait Islanders, Australian Aboriginals, and people from diverse backgrounds.


If you want to be a frontline in firefighting, sea rescue, and emergency services in Western Australia, ensure you meet the following eligibility.



Eligibility To Become A Firefighter in Western Australia:


  • Permanent resident of Australia or New Zealand.

  • Hold a valid C Class manual driver's license from West Australia.

  • Ability to acquire a West Australian or National Heavy Rigid (HR-B) driver's license within two months of commencing. 

  • Must have a Provide First Aid Certificate HLTAID003 (issues in last three years).

  • A satisfactory National Police Certificate.

  • Working with Children check.

  • Advanced First Aid Certificate (HLTAID006).

  • Advanced Resuscitation Certificate (HLTAID007).


For more information about becoming a firefighter in Western Australia, visit the government website.



9. How To Become A Firefighter In Tasmania (TAS)?


The Tasmania Fire Service uses merit principles to make the selection. It means the choice depends on comparing the work-related qualities of the position and the individuals. The Tasmania Fire Service is a dynamic place to work.


Firefighters must perform various rewarding and challenging tasks, such as attending emergencies like bushfires. Suppose you want to join this embarking career. In that case, TFS is the right platform to start your journey as a firefighter in Tasmania.



Eligibility To Become A Firefighter in Tasmania (Tas)


  • Meet the fitness and medical needs of TFS,

  • Able to work in confined spaces and heights.

  • The Head of State Service is performed a pre-employment check before taking up the appointment. These checks include sexual offences, fire and arson, violent crimes, deception, and dishonesty.

  • Good written and oral communication skills.

  • Ability to work safely and maintain a safe workplace.

  • Ability to work as a team in different situations.


If you want more information on becoming a firefighter in Tasmania, visit the official website.



10. Different Fire Fighters Rank you can Apply for


  • Firefighter

  • Probationary firefighter

  • Captain

  • Driver Engineer

  • Lieutenant

  • Assistant Chief

  • Battalion Chief

  • Fire Chief



11. How To Become Volunteer Firefighter In Australia


Australia is heavily dependent on volunteer firefighters to protect its communities and homes. If you are willing to become a volunteer firefighter in the country. In that case, you can submit your interest with the local volunteer brigade, or you can also visit your local fire station. 


Your application success depends mainly on the vacancies available. Success depends on your commitment, ability to take risks, and skillset. You will be either placed in operational or non-operational roles. If you want to get involved in fighting massive bushfires, it requires around 6-12 months of training.


You can volunteer and get various opportunities to learn valuable and new skills. There are many opportunities and roles available that you can volunteer to develop new skills and explore interests. 


Besides this, you can also join The ACT Rural Fire Service training packages to become a village firefighter, advanced firefighter, crew leader, and division commander.



12. Firefighters' Average Salary In Australia


Experience and work location are the major factors that determine their salary. According to PayScale 2023 data, the average Fire Fighter's salary is AUD72,072 annually.



Annual Average Salary Based on Experience


  • Entry-level (<1-year experience): AUD58,175 

  • Early career (1-4 years of experience): AUD68,282 

  • Mid-career (5-9 years of experience): AUD69,861 

  • Experienced (10-19 years of experience): AUD78,396 

  • In late career (20 years and above): AUD83,844.



Highest Paying Cities For Firefighters in Australia


  • Sydney NSW: AUD 132,601 per year

  • East Fremantle: AUD 90,533.56 per year


The pay figures of firefighters in Australia vary according to the position and area of work. There are several exceptions and variations regarding firefighters' remuneration in Australia.



13. Things You Should Know About Firefighter Jobs in Australia


Whether you qualify for a firefighter job or planning to step ahead with the application, these are essential aspects you should know:



Annual Leaves


Firefighters get nine weeks of annual leave every year. This leave is taken in two sections per year and varies according to location or shift. 





Firefighters must join the ESSS- Emergency Service Superannuation Scheme, a defined-benefit superannuation fund. They must contribute according to the rate you nominate on your superannuation form.



Public Holidays


Firefighters have to work throughout the year and public holidays are no exception.



Parental Leave


After a year of regular service, firefighters, in association with their partners, can avail of paid and unpaid parental leave on a sharing basis based on the adoption or birth of their child. 


  • Maternity Leave - There are 14 weeks of paid leave, and unpaid leave is up to 90 weeks on a shared basis


  • Paternity Leave - There are one week or four shifts, and unpaid leave is up to 103 weeks on a shared basis



14. Career Opportunities For Firefighters in Australia


Trained firefighters can pursue the following roles:


  • Wildland Firefighter - National average salary: AUD 55,564 per year - They work to extinguish wildfires in forests, rescue civilians, and specialize in operating chainsaws and similar tools.


  • Fire Investigator - National average salary: AUD 94,808 per year - Their job is to visit the site and determine the cause of a fire after firefighters extinguish the flames. They collect physical evidence and examine burn patterns.


  • Fire Marshal - National average salary: AUD 104,998 per year - They evaluate evidence to examine the causes of fires, train emergency responders, supervise fire prevention efforts, and impose fire codes.


  • Fire Engineer - National average salary: AUD 118,414 per year - They are responsible for working with the fire engines and trucks that teams use to respond to calls.


  • Fire Chief - National average salary: AUD 141,321 per year - A fire chief is a high-level official who oversees their department.


Other Firefighter roles include:


  • Volunteer firefighter

  • Airport firefighter

  • Firefighter/EMT and

  • Firefighter/paramedic



15. Career Path Of A Firefighter In Australia


Below are possible career progressions for Firefighters:

  • Assistant Firefighter

  • Senior Firefighter

  • Lead Firefighter, Team Lead Firefighter

  • Deputy Chief Firefighter

  • Chief Firefighter



16. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



What Is The Age Limit For Firefighters in Australia?


There is no age limit for firefighters in Australia. However, it is a must for applicants to have held a driver's licence for two years by January 01, 2024. Green probationary licences are permissible.



Is There a Height Requirement To Be A Firefighter in Australia?


There is no height requirement to be a firefighter. As long as you can perform all the required tasks of a firefighter efficiently, you can be a firefighter at any height.



How Many Pull-Ups Does A Firefighter Have To Make?


Aspiring firefighters must maintain a solid physique to qualify for training at the academy. They should be able to complete ten pull-ups, 20 push-ups, and 50 sit-ups without becoming breathless.



What Age Do Most Firefighters Get Hired?


Most professional firefighters are between 25 and 35 years old when hired. However, there are exceptions too.



What's The Youngest A Firefighter Can Be?


The minimum age to become a firefighter in Australia is 18 years.



How Old Are Most Fire Chiefs?


Most employed fire chiefs in Australia are 48 years on average.



What Is The Fitness Test For Firefighters in Australia?


An applicant must have completed a Shuttle Run and a Physical Aptitude Test (PAT) as part of the recruitment process.


  • The shuttle run test measures a person's agility and aerobic and anaerobic fitness. The minimum level to pass the Shuttle Run test is 9.6. Applicants should aim to achieve higher than this score in training.


  • The PAT test assesses musculoskeletal strength and endurance with little recovery time between tasks. Applicants with a higher level of strength and cardiovascular fitness have a greater chance of completing the PAT course successfully.



Who Is The Highest-Ranking Firefighter?


The ranks of a Firefighter at Fire + Rescue NSW are determined based on their Service Experience.


Fire and Rescue NSW Permanent On-call (Retained) Firefighters

(Highest-Ranking Firefighter)
Deputy Commissioner Deputy Captain
Assistant Commissioner On-call (Retained) Firefighter with 15 Years of Service
Chief Superintendent On-call (Retained) Firefighter with 10 Years of Service
Superintendent On-call (Retained) Firefighter with 5 Years of Service
Leading Station Officer  
Station Officer    
Leading Firefighter    
Senior Firefighter 15 Years Service    
Senior Firefighter    
Qualified Firefighter    



What Is The Lowest Firefighter Rank?


Recruit Firefighter is the lowest rank given in the firefighter profession. Candidates are assigned this title during their 20-week training course. 



Why Do So Many People Want To Be Firefighters?


There are countless reasons why many people worldwide dream of pursuing a firefighter career. We have mentioned some of them below:


  • Most people like the "helping" nature of the profession, where you get to rescue the victim of house fires. 

  • Besides saving people's lives, you also protect a community's property from damage.

  • It is considered the most trustworthy and highly regarded profession.

  • Working in a high-performance team and a good working environment while positively impacting the community makes the job highly satisfying. 

  • You interact with civilians of various backgrounds and listen to their concerns as part of your job.  

  • You like being physically active and working in a job that requires physical effort instead of a desk-based job.

  • You need basic qualifications to enter the profession, such as at least 18 years, being an Australian citizen or permanent residency, Having a high school diploma, Having a valid Australian driver's licence, Having a recent first aid certificate, passing a national police check and drug screening, and pass a physical fitness test.

  • You receive good remuneration. Those employed in the government also get benefits such as life, health, dental and life insurance and are eligible for disability payments and retirement pensions.

  • You enjoy the freedom to pick the hours that matches your preferred lifestyle.

  • The job offers good scope for career progression and salary increments. With experience, entry-level firefighters can advance to higher-level positions such as lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, deputy chief, etc. 



Where Are Firefighters Needed Most?


Qualified and experienced firefighters are in demand in Australia and overseas, including Canada and the Gulf region.


Armed Forces, government departments, and private sectors are potential employers for Firefighters in Australia.


They may also find lucrative job opportunities in the following:


  • Chemical companies 

  • Oil companies 

  • Construction firms 

  • Manufacturing factories

  • Refineries 

  • Textile plants 

  • Insurance companies 

  • Aircraft industry 

  • Transportation centres and more. 


Besides the above, a trained firefighter can also teach at a fire safety training institution or join a local firefighting agency.



Is it Hard To Become A Firefighter in Australia?


Yes. It can take several attempts to beat the intense competition and land a job as a professional firefighter in Australia.


The odds of getting this job vary from 0.2% to 5% of applicants. It shows that you need solid preparation, hard work, determination, and commitment to pass challenging tests and achieve your dream role.


The struggle doesn't end as you get a Firefighter job. It is a physically demanding occupation that requires you to put yourself at risk to assist other people.


You must have a high level of cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength as the job involve:


  • Carrying heavy equipment upstairs.

  • Lifting and climbing ladders.

  • Performing rescue operations while wearing up to 23kg of protective gear. 


Furthermore, some parts of the job, such as working night shifts and on weekends, being exposed to trauma, etc., make the job challenging. Working long hours within unstructured schedules could result in unstable work-life balance and familial discontent.



What Is The Most Money A Firefighter Can Make?


Among Firefighters, Experienced, Qualified Firefighters and Aviation Rescue Fire Fighters earn the highest salaries in Australia.


The average salary of a Qualified Firefighter with (20 and more years of experience) is AUD83,844 per year. Aviation Firefighters can expect to earn AUD136,931 per year in Australia.


On the other hand, Recruit Firefighters, Retained Firefighters, or Auxiliary Firefighters working "on-call" or "part-time" tend to have the lowest pay rates.


Remunerations for Firefighters at different stages of their career:


Position Level Salary per week

Recruit Firefighters – during the 20-week training course


Firefighter Level 1 – on completion of the recruit course


Firefighter Level 2 – on completion of 12 months of service and all required modules


Firefighter Level 3 – on completion of 24 months of service and all required modules


Qualified Firefighter – on completion of 36 months of service and a certificate of proficiency




What Is The Most Elite Fire Department?


Fire and Rescue NSW is among the largest urban fire and rescue services, with 334 fire stations across the state.


They develop and run various community safety initiatives and prevention programs including, FireEd, and Youth Fire Intervention Program to ensure the safety of the building, both legislatively and as a community service.


The NSW fire department safeguards the state's population from fire-related emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, hazardous materials emergencies, building collapses, and other risky situations.



What Do NSW Firefighters Get Paid?


The average firefighter's salary in New South Wales is AUD137,643 per year. Sydney is the highest-paying city for Firefighters in the state.


Top recruiters for Firefighters in the state include:


  • Fire and Rescue - AUD132,239 per year

  • Broad Spectrum – AUD 90,282 per year



Do on-Call Firefighters Get Paid?


Yes. On-call firefighters get paid for training sessions, education activities, incident attendance, and community safety activities.



How To Become A Firefighter in Australia?


The firefighter's requirements vary between states.


You usually don't need formal education but must undertake a recruitment process set by your applying state. Additionally, you must meet a high fitness level and a minimum physical aptitude standard to qualify for this role.


Here is how you can qualify for this role:


  • Be an Australian Citizen or a Permanent Resident in Australia.

  • Have a valid Australian driver's licence along with a good driving history. 

  • Undergo a Police Check and complete a First Aid Certificate.

  • Undertake the essential recruitment testing process, including a personality test, PAT, interview, and medical examination.

  • Complete the 13-21 weeks of recruit training course to attain the Firefighter position in Australia.



What Is The Work Schedule For A Firefighter in Australia?


Firefighters work in rotating shifts, for example - two dayshifts from 0800 to 1800, two nightshifts from 1800 to 0800, and four days of rest.


Most full-time firefighters work an average of 40 hours a week. Their work hours usually vary based on the fire brigade station, work location, and role.


Firefighters remain on duty 24/7 at the fire brigade station to cater to emergencies. They may work for extended periods when handling firefighting and rescue operations.


When idle, they spend their whole shift at the fire brigade station. It includes showering, eating, sleeping, reading, exercising, and relaxing there.


During this time, they may do practice drills, update their firefighting knowledge, write reports, assess the condition of their gear and equipment, perform their maintenance, and get replacements (if needed).


The job of a firefighter can be hazardous and stressful as there are risks of inhaling smoke, getting injured or burnt, and risking their lives to save others.


Firefighters may occasionally require travelling to practice with or support other fire brigade stations in the city or state.



Is It Hard To Become A firefighter in NSW?


Yes. It is very tough to work as a firefighter NSW fire brigade which is the largest employer of professional firefighters in NSW, Australia.


The large candidate pool that applies for the position and the series of aptitude, psych, and cognitive testing that an applicant has to go through are among the reasons that make the firefighter test so competitive.


Firefighter Recruitment Stages Percentage Of Applicants At Each Recruitment Stage
Start 100%
Screening of Applications 88%
Physical Aptitude Test 63%
Aptitude Test 41%
Psych Test 28%
Selection Interview 16%
Background Checks 5%
Final Offer 1-3%


So, we have seen of all the candidates who apply for the position, only 1-3% of them succeed in obtaining a job with the NSW fire brigade.


Though challenging, it is attainable if you have the right approach, get the correct information, and apply sound principles when pursuing a career with the NSW fire brigade.



How Long Does It Take To Become A Firefighter in Australia?


 It takes around 17 weeks to meet the eligibility conditions and complete the recruitment process to be a firefighter in Australia.


  • Undergo the police check.

  • Obtain a level 2 first aid certificate

  • Pass the firefighter recruit training course (approx. 17 weeks)


After completing the course, you can work as a firefighter in Australia. (Probationary periods may apply in certain states).



14. Wrapping Up The Post


Firefighters are some of the most hard-working people whose job is full of risks and hazards.


Unlike other professionals, they must be on the edge of their seats around the clock. However, still, thousands of applicants line up to get a chance to become firefighters. 


Hopefully, this guide has helped you get one step closer to becoming a firefighter in Australia.

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