Reader Question - Do u need a high school diploma to be a firefighter?

I was contacted recently with the following question via email:
"Do u need a high school diploma to be a firefighter?"  I'll leave the sender's name blank so you don't flood him with responses along the lines of "Why I otta-"
Here's the response I sent seconds after copying it here:
Short version: Yes.

Long version: Hells yes.  And a bachelor's degree in Fire Science, EMS or a related field.  I want 2-3 years MINIMUM of volunteer firefighting, auxiliary or Explorer program.  I'll need at MINIMUM an EMT license with 2-3 years of patient care, 911 or inter facility, preferably Paramedic experience.  I'd like to see experience in the trades or at least hobbies that include tools, building construction or something similar.  I want to see you involved in the community, be it church, non-profit, coaching softball on the weekends, whatever.
And that is what was expected of me in 1993.  Imagine what we'll expect from you in 2020.  Don't meet the requirements, blow them out of the water!

Do you need a high school diploma to be a firefighter?  At the minimum.
Do you need to run to win a race? If everyone else is running, I'd say yes.

Finish school, enjoy it.  Learning is going to become your best friend.  Attend a trade school or college and study something that makes you excited to learn it.  Take an EMT class as a science elective.  Graduate. Now become an expert in something.  Good, you're just getting started.

The future of the fire service is customer service and medical care.  If you don't like that, may I suggest the Police Academy?

I wish you the best of luck in the future,

the Happy Medic