Can I Become a Firefighter with a Criminal Record?

Category : jobs

Becoming a firefighter is a noble pursuit—you will be required to consistently put your life on the line to save people and their homes. Figuring out what the process of becoming a firefighter entails will differ for everyone. But it can be a bit more complicated for an applicant with some kind of criminal record. 


Nature of the Crime

According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commision, the nature of the crime you committed can definitely affect your likelihood of becoming a firefighter. Ultimately, the main principle that you should be aware of is that firefighters need to demonstrate strong integrity, courage, and willingness to put others’ needs above their own.


Having a criminal record demonstrates at least some disrespect for laws. But remember that the degree of the problem varies case by case. Usually, convictions that have related to arson tend to be harder to work through than cases of DUI or drug possession.


Post-Conviction Relief

Post-conviction relief is another way to help minimize the effect of a conviction. Basically, after either pleading or being determined guilty by a jury, a defendant has the opportunity to bring additional evidence to the table to decrease the sentence or even receive eventual expungement.


According to Rogers Beltran LLP, California’s Penal Code allows former inmates to pursue expungement if they meet certain qualifications, including participation in a fire camp program. Basically, if you put the effort in, it’s possible to no longer have the mark on your record. Pursuing this method will take work but it can definitely pay off in the end.


Commitment to the Career

Another way to increase the likelihood of getting the job as a firefighter is to demonstrate your commitment to the position by taking up a volunteer firefighter position beforehand.


A variety of different fire stations will allow you to volunteer in this capacity a couple times a week and according to the Municipal Association of South Carolina, you can actually get paid for your time. This will allow you to learn some of the necessary skills, get a foot in the door, and demonstrate your commitment to becoming a firefighter.


If you’re in the position of trying to build back your life in the wake of some kind of conviction, don’t give up. Even though it can take a lot more effort to prove that you are committed to the career you are pursuing, you can do it if you are willing to put in the work. Consult with trusted friends and advisors to figure out the best steps to take forward. 


If you have a criminal record and are looking for a job, attend one of our hiring events!


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