Fire Science Degree Programs in Connecticut | Firefighter Training
Written by Timothy Levin Last Updated: Feb 6, 2020
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that job opportunities are on the rise for firefighters across the country, making now an excellent time to become a firefighter in Connecticut. The BLS projects a 5% increase in positions for firefighting and prevention workers from 2018-2028, translating to an additional 17,600 positions. Fire inspectors who previously worked as firefighters are projected to experience an 8% increase in jobs over the same period.
The BLS attributes this growth to a continued need for firefighters to respond to fires, control fires, and address medical emergencies. Additionally, positions will open as firefighters leave the occupation.
This page offers an in-depth look at how to become a firefighter in Connecticut. Below, you can learn about training programs, academic options, salaries, job growth figures, and professional resources. You can also consult a list of frequently asked questions about firefighter requirements in Connecticut.
Unlike some other occupations, requirements for firefighters usually vary among local areas in a state. That means that you may need to fulfill slightly different requirements depending on the city, town, or county in which you plan to work. Before becoming a firefighter in Connecticut, carefully research the educational, training, and other expectations specific to your area.
According to Connecticut's Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, each city and town in the state sets its own criteria, examinations, and hiring processes for firefighters. Most towns evaluate candidates based on a written examination and an oral interview. At minimum, firefighters must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma.
In Norwich, candidates must complete the City of Norwich Physical Ability Test or the Candidates Physical Ability Test (CPAT). They also undergo an oral panel examination. Once hired, candidates complete the Connecticut Fire Academy Recruit Firefighter Training Program. After finishing training, candidates attend an emergency medicine course and become state-certified emergency medical technicians (EMT).
To become a firefighter in East Hartford, candidates must first possess a CPAT card and a State of Connecticut paramedic license. Once hired, probationary firefighters attend a 14-week training program.
Becoming a Firefighter in Connecticut: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the specific training for Connecticut?
Each local area in Connecticut maintains different requirements for new firefighters. After securing a position as a probationary firefighter, some candidates may need to attend a Firefighter Recruit Training Program at their fire department or through the Connecticut Fire Academy.
Is EMT/paramedic/other training or certification required?
To become a firefighter in Connecticut, you may need to complete emergency medical responder, EMT, or paramedic training. Some departments require that firefighters complete emergency medical training before securing a position, while others hire candidates who have not undergone any emergency medical training yet.
What is the test like for firefighters in Connecticut?
Each local jurisdiction determines its own examination requirements, but fire departments typically screen candidates based on written and oral tests. The Connecticut Firefighter Testing Consortium administers entry-level tests on behalf of around 18 cities and towns.
What kind of shape should I be in to be a firefighter?
Firefighters must be in excellent physical shape. In their daily work, firefighters need to wear protective equipment weighing up to 75 pounds. Accordingly, new firefighters need to pass a rigorous physical fitness examination such as the CPAT.
What if I only want to fight wildfires in Connecticut?
The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection's Division of Forestry runs forest fire prevention programs in Connecticut. It employs specially trained firefighters. To combat wildfires, firefighters may need to complete training from the National Wildfire Coordination Group.
How long does it take to become a firefighter in Connecticut?
The time it takes to satisfy firefighter requirements in Connecticut varies for each local jurisdiction. Candidates need to complete some requirements before securing a position and some afterward. The Firefighter Recruit Training Program lasts 70 days.
Firefighter Courses and Programs in Connecticut
Many firefighter schools in Connecticut prepare candidates for work in the fire protection field. Through training programs, which future firefighters may complete at their fire department or through another facility, firefighters build the skills they need to work under direct supervision. Since training requirements vary across Connecticut, be sure to research local regulations before enrolling in a program.
In addition to firefighter-specific training, aspiring firefighters often need emergency medical certification through an EMT or paramedic training program. Though additional education beyond high school may not be required, firefighters may benefit from a college degree in fire science or a similar field.
This training program, which some fire departments in Connecticut require firefighters to complete, follows standards set by the National Fire Protection Association. The program takes 70 days to complete and covers both theory and practical skills. Students participate in daily fitness training and explore topics such as pump operations, hazardous materials investigation, and basic first aid.
This two-year program provides an overview of fire protection in industrial settings, including manufacturing and construction firms. Students gain hands-on experience through the university's Fire Dynamics Laboratory, Sprinkler Laboratory, and Fire Detection/Alarm Laboratory. They also take classes on subjects such as fire prevention, building construction, and fire chemistry.
This program readies students for leadership roles in fire protection and prevention. Students complete 61 total credits across topics such as fire investigation, emergency medical technician, fire behavior and combustion, and building construction. Graduates may go on to work in career and volunteer fire departments, government agencies, or private companies.
Fire Science Colleges in Connecticut
Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in Connecticut
As of May 2018, around 3,140 firefighters work in Connecticut's fire departments. Projections Central expects that from 2018-2028 employment for Connecticut's firefighters will increase by 2.9%. While that growth rate is somewhat slower than the rate for firefighters nationally, it still indicates a gradual increase in job opportunities for firefighters in Connecticut. Plus, some cities and towns in Connecticut may have a higher demand for firefighters, leading to above-average job growth.
Firefighters in Connecticut earn $63,630 on average, well above the national median income for the occupation ($49,620). The top 10% of firefighters in the state take home north of $79,000. The bottom 10% of earners make around $40,000 or less.
Bear in mind that a firefighter salary in Connecticut will vary in size depending on factors like education and experience level. The table below illustrates salaries for firefighters with varying amounts of professional experience.
Current and future firefighters can take advantage of many resources to help them land a position and excel at their job. Professional organizations and unions provide a great way to meet peers and stay informed about the firefighting profession. For example, the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut boasts legislative bulletins, a daily paper, and notices about statewide issues.
Additionally, professional organizations may offer continuing education opportunities, career resources, conferences, local meetings, and other important resources. Read on for a more detailed look at several resources and what they offer to firefighters in Connecticut.