Fire Science Degree Programs in Idaho | Firefighter Training
Written by Timothy Levin Last Updated: Feb 6, 2020
Wherever they work, firefighters provide a crucial service to their communities by responding to fires, medical emergencies, and natural disasters. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a steady increase in opportunities for this fulfilling profession. According to the BLS, employment for firefighters is projected to grow by 5% from 2018-2028, leading to almost 18,000 new jobs.
The expansion of opportunities for firefighters comes as fires and other emergencies continue to pose a problem in the U.S. The BLS notes that firefighters should expect an increase in jobs, even as the pool of volunteer firefighters grows.
Consider entering this growing and satisfying profession by becoming a firefighter in Idaho. This page covers the major aspects of how to become a firefighter in Idaho, including requirements, exams, academic options, and training programs. Below, you can also explore salaries, job growth figures, and useful resources for firefighters in the Gem State.
Firefighter requirements in Idaho vary among different counties, towns, and cities. Unlike some other jobs, there are no national or statewide requirements that all firefighters need to meet. Instead, aspiring firefighters in Idaho should research the hiring process and requirements for the area in which they plan to work.
For example, firefighters looking to work in one of Boise's 17 fire stations must be at least 18 years old, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and hold a valid driver's license. Additionally, candidates must be certified emergency medical technicians (EMT) through a state agency or through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. They must complete a written exam, an oral interview, a medical test, and a fitness exam.
Boise also boasts firefighter/paramedic positions. Candidates for these positions must satisfy all firefighter requirements and earn certifications in paramedic, CPR, cardiac life support, and pediatric advanced life support.
The City of Pocatello requires candidates to pass a civil service exam, and applicants with emergency medical services certification earn additional points on their exam. Additionally, candidates must pass a combat test to demonstrate their physical fitness. Applicants need to pass a background check, drug screen, and medical exam.
Becoming a Firefighter in Idaho: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the specific training for Idaho?
There is no standard training for all firefighters in Idaho. Once hired or before applying, firefighters typically need to complete training in firefighter skills and emergency medical services.
Is EMT/paramedic/other training or certification required?
Firefighter requirements in Idaho often include some kind of emergency medical training, either before applying for a position or during a probationary period. Some departments may require candidates to earn paramedic or firefighter 1 certification.
What is the test like for firefighters in Idaho?
Candidates often need to pass an oral and a written exam. In departments that require firefighter 1 training and certification, candidates must pass exams based on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.
What kind of shape should I be in to be a firefighter?
Firefighters must be in great physical shape to do their jobs effectively, and fire departments administer fitness exams to new recruits. Candidates often need to perform a series of demanding tasks, such as stair climbs, in full gear.
What if I only want to fight wildfires in Idaho?
Wildland firefighters often work seasonally, typically during the summer months when forest fires increase. In Idaho, firefighters looking to battle wildfires may opt to join a crew such as the Boise Hotshot Crew or Idaho City Hotshot Crew.
How long does it take to become a firefighter in Idaho?
The time it takes to become a firefighter in Idaho varies among departments. Some departments require preliminary training and certifications, while others hire firefighters without prior training. Additionally, some departments enforce a one-year probationary period.
Firefighter Courses and Programs in Idaho
Aspiring firefighters can choose from a variety of schools and firefighter courses in Idaho. Training and educational requirements vary among Idaho's fire departments, and many programs can prepare you for a fruitful career in firefighting. Firefighters need to work quickly and efficiently in high-pressure situations, and they benefit from extensive training and coursework.
Though postsecondary education is not typically a requirement for becoming a firefighter in Idaho, earning a degree or a certificate in a field like fire science may help you impress employers and secure a firefighting position. Read on to learn about some firefighter schools in Idaho.
The Idaho Fire Service Technology (FST) Program partners with fire departments and fire districts to train firefighters according to NFPA standards. The program holds accreditation from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. Since each fire department establishes its own training standards, FST offers 200 courses that satisfy training requirements for over 240 fire departments.
Idaho State University offers associate and bachelor's degrees in fire service administration. The degrees prepare students for leadership positions in emergency services. Students complete 38 credits of general education courses along with fire service-specific classes on topics such as fire behavior and combustion, building construction, and fire protection systems.
This program prepares students for jobs as career and volunteer firefighters. Students explore topics such as ethical issues, fire department organization, tactical approaches, and national firefighting standards. They also learn to pass written and practical firefighter examinations. Students take part in hands-on demonstrations and physical fitness training.
Fire Science Colleges in Idaho
Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in Idaho
As of May 2018, just over 1,500 firefighters were working in Idaho. Projections Central expects that opportunities for firefighters in the state will grow 10.7% from 2018-2028, more than double the job growth rate for firefighters nationally.
Firefighter salaries vary across the U.S., and firefighters in Idaho earn a median annual salary of $40,490, below the national median salary for firefighters, which sits at $49,620. The highest-paid 10% of firefighters in Idaho earn $64,760 or more, while the bottom 10% of earners take home $21,190 or less.
Aspiring firefighters should keep in mind that salary expectations in Idaho depend on numerous factors, including geographic location. For example, firefighters in Boise earn an annual income of $50,800, well above the firefighter salary in Idaho. As the table below illustrates, professional experience also affects firefighter salaries.
Aspiring and experienced firefighters alike can benefit immensely from professional resources and organizations in the field. Firefighters' unions, which operate at the local, state, and national levels, help firefighters organize, fight for fairer pay, and advocate for legislation.
Additionally, professional organizations provide a great way to stay apprised on trends in firefighting and gain additional skills. NFPA, for instance, publishes data, news, and research on topics like firefighter injuries, fire causes, and fire protection systems. The International Association of Fire Fighters offers online learning opportunities, Fire Fighter Quarterly Magazine, and a daily news outlet.