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Wholetime entry requirements

Details of the basic entry requirements, skills and abilities that are need to become a wholetime firefighter.

Entry requirements for 2022.


  • Minimum age 18 at the start of the training course
  • Eligibility to work in the UK
  • Resident of Derbyshire at the time of application (There are two exceptions to this; armed forces personnel who are currently serving or have served in the past; and current Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service employees with a permanent contract who live outside the Derbyshire border - see FAQ’s for additional information)
  • 2 GCSE’s or equivalent (grade C or 4 and above) in Maths and English. Proof will be required of your qualifications
  • Have a full valid UK manual car driving licence (See FAQ’s if taking driving lessons)
  • Be confident in and around water and can swim a continuous distance of at least 100 meters unaided and tread water for 1 minute
  • No known phobia of heights or confined spaces
  • Meet required fitness standards and medical health checks including eyesight examinations
  • Complete a satisfactory basic criminal records check 


To obtain a better understanding of our applicants we would also like to know if you have the following:-

  • GCSE (grade C or 4 and above) in Science
  • A British Sign Language qualification
  • If you can fluently communicate in a second language

Skills & Abilities

You will be required to demonstrate the following:

  • Being highly organised, with good time management skills.
  • The ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues, the community and other agencies.
  • Effective written and oral communication skills.
  • Effective problem solving skills.
  • The ability to identify hazards and risks.
  • Demonstrate situational awareness in relation to risk.
  • Ability to use IT systems.
  • Planning and implementing skills.
  • Organisational awareness.
  • Ability to work methodically and with attention to detail.


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Why do I have to live in the county of Derbyshire to apply?

There are a number of reasons for this. We know we will receive a large number of applications from people wanting to be a firefighter and as few fire and rescue services are recruiting at the moment, applications could come from anywhere in the country. We need to try and limit the applications to make the recruitment process manageable. Another important factor is that we want to retain the firefighters we recruit. It is a common occurrence for firefighters to train in one service and then transfer to their local fire service. By setting the criteria to those who reside in the county of Derbyshire, we will hopefully retain those individuals we have selected and trained. Proof of residency will be required.

Are there exceptions if I don’t live in Derbyshire?

Yes, armed forces personnel who are currently serving or have served in the past (proof of employment will be required); and current Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service employees with a permanent contract who live outside the Derbyshire border.

I am a member of the Serving Armed Forces can I apply?

Yes. You should send a copy of your service record to as proof that you are currently in the Armed Forces. You must be able to attend all assessments and be available for the full training course.

Applications will not be accepted from the following towns

  • Burton

  • Loughborough

  • Castle Donington

  • Eastwood

  • Toton

  • Kegworth

Do I need qualifications to become a firefighter?

Yes, you will need GCSE grades A* to C or 4 or above in English and Maths or equivalent qualifications (i.e. Level 2 Functional or Key skills). For general information and guidance on qualifications, please visit the.Gov website

In addition please find below information and guidance regarding qualification requirements to individuals wanting to apply for the position of Firefighter within Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Qualifications Guidance for Firefighter Applicants

Why do I need qualifications in English and Maths to be a Firefighter?

The role has evolved and Firefighters are required to use a variety of different technical equipment in order to safely undertake the role. Firefighters are also required to pass the Institution of Fire Engineers level 2 Certificate in order to be classed as competent in the role. This qualification is GCSE level and covers Fire Science, Operations and Safety; as such the Service requires an assurance of education at this level across English and Maths.

If you did not study GCSE’s and are unsure of what is an equivalent qualification please visit the .Gov website

Will you accept international qualifications?

We will accept international qualifications as long as they are equivalent to the England and Northern Ireland framework. For information on European qualifications please visit:

ofqual ~ qualifications-in-europe

ec ~ qualifications

Unless you can demonstrate that the qualifications have validity in the UK we are not resourced to do the checking for you. We have however found the following organisation that provides individuals with a “Statement of Comparability”.

Will I need to produce my qualification certificates?

Yes, candidates who are shortlisted at the application stage will be required to bring in their certificates or confirmation from the awarding body. Photocopies will not be accepted. It is the candidates’ responsibility to ensure that they have their certificates and failure to show them when required may result in withdrawal from the process.

What if I have lost my certificates?

If you have lost or no longer have your certificates then please visit ofqual ~ getting-a-replacement-certificate. It is the candidates’ responsibility to ensure that they get sufficient evidence of their qualifications within the timeframes of the process. Some exam boards can take a minimum of 6 weeks to send the information through.

Do I need a driving licence?

Part of a firefighter's job is to be able to drive brigade vehicles (including fire engines). Therefore you must have a full UK manual driving licence.

I haven’t passed my driving test but hope to have passed before the start of the training course. Can I still apply?

Yes you can apply but you must have passed your driving test by the Interview Stage of the recruitment process.

Why is there a requirement to swim in the criteria?

Firefighters are ‘in-water trained’ and are expected to perform in-water rescues. We therefore need Firefighters to be able to swim and be confident in water to the levels we have set in the essential criteria.

What if I'm colour blind?

You will be able to apply. If you get to the medical stage of the recruitment process, the severity of your colour deficiency will be assessed and a risk assessment will be made.

Can I apply if I have a criminal record?

You will be able to apply and a basic Disclosure Scotland Check will be requested to ensure that you have not been convicted of a criminal offence which makes your employment in the role of a Firefighter unsuitable. This application is made in line the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Do you recruit ex-offenders?

Please read our statement in our equality, diversity and inclusion page.

Would somebody’s physical size have any bearing on their application?

A candidate’s physical size does not have any bearing on their application. This is a popular misconception due to the fact that there used to be restrictions on height, weight and chest expansion. Candidates are expected to pass strength and fitness tests as part of the process. These are at a level that is achievable by men and women of all different sizes and builds.

Can I apply if I have a visible tattoo?

The Service does not allow employees to sport visible tattoos that may be of an offensive nature. Equally, it does not permit tattoos above the neck line or facial tattoos.