Considerations for Studying for a Fire Department Promotion While On Duty


When you start studying for your promotional exam, you may feel like you never have any time to work on your firefighter promotional exam prep. Pulling out your study material while you are on duty might seem like the perfect option for you, let’s find out if it is. 

Ask First

Studying while on duty may seem like a great idea, but before you crack open your textbooks or online study guides while on duty, ASK. You are getting paid to do a job, and yes studying may seem like “work” or “training” but your captain and chief may not see it that way. Before you ask, remember you don’t need to study for HOURS a day, a small chunk of time is okay, and perfect for any downtime you may have while at the station. When you ask your superiors be sure to tell them it won’t take too much of your time. If they say no, well you don’t have to read any further, but don’t get discouraged, you will just have to get a little more creative when it comes to studying for the promotional exam. 

Study Without Opening Your Book

A huge bonus in regards to studying at work is, you are surrounded by experts, use them. Everyone may not be willing to help you study, but I assure you some of your superiors will. Now, when I say study I don’t mean cracking open your book and reading it to them or anything like that. I mean, talking. Talking to your co-workers, especially those in the position you are applying for, about what you are learning is such an effective learning strategy and a great way to study with others without making it feel like you are even studying. This gives you the bonus of studying out loud with others with the bonus of them not getting too bored as they help you. Your co-workers may even be able to do some hands on training to help you prepare for that portion of your assessment as well. See if you can use the training equipment that you have at the station to get a head start on the tactical portion of your exam. 


One downfall of studying while on duty is the interruption factor. You are pretty much guaranteed to get a call as soon as you sit down and start studying. If you are someone who is able to pick up right where you left off and continue studying, by all means study at the station. If you are  someone that is going to struggle with constant interruptions; having to go back and start all over, studying while on duty may not be the best option for you. If you have a hard time with interruptions, studying at the fire station may end up being more work than you realize and not beneficial. You do not want to get frustrated and stressed out while you study, especially not while you are at work. If you aren’t sure how it will go, give it a try and see if you are given permission to do so. 

The Takeaway

Studying for your firefighter promotional exam may seem overwhelming at first. Do the best you can to study where you can, as long as you are studying effectively. Be sure to take advantage of the resources you have at your disposal, like your co-workers who are in the position you are testing into, they are a wealth of knowledge. If you do get the go ahead to study while on duty just remember to be mindful of the work that also needs to be done around you and not slack off on your other work responsibilities.