Fire Science Degree Programs in Kansas | Firefighter Training
Written by Kathleen Swed Last Updated: Feb 7, 2020
Kansas employs the highest number of nonmetropolitan firefighters in the nation, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting that 1,570 firefighters worked in rural areas in the state as of May of 2018. In a state where wildfire risk typically come in the form of grassland fires, Projections Central expects that the need for firefighters will grow by 6.8% between 2016 and 2026, slightly above the national average growth rate for all occupations (5%) between 2018 and 2028.
As is the case in many states, firefighter requirements in Kansas depend on each particular jurisdiction. This page discusses in-depth information on how to become a firefighter in Kansas, including requirements and variables, frequently asked questions, firefighter courses in Kansas, and occupational data including salary information. Read on to learn more about how to become a firefighter in Kansas.
Firefighter requirements in Kansas vary depending on the local region -- typically cities, counties, or towns, though state agencies also employ firefighters. For example, firefighter applicants in Wichita must be 18 years old, whereas candidates in Kansas City must be 19 and Topeka expects a minimum age of 21.
Testing and certification requirements differ by location, as well. Wichita and Manhattan require EMT credentials, as does Topeka, whereas Kansas City only mandates it for firefighter/paramedic level status.
Physical fitness testing also varies from place to place. Wichita conducts its own agility and cardiovascular endurance test, while Manhattan and Lawrence accept results from the National Testing Network (NTN) candidate physical abilities test (CPAT). The CPAT consists of physically demanding components such as stair climb, hose drag, equipment carry, forcible entry, search, and rescue.
For written tests, Manhattan requires applicants to pass the fire service entrance exam (FSEE) or the NTN's FireTEAM test for reading, math, and mechanical knowledge -- unless they hold a bachelor's degree. Topeka requires an oral civil service board interview, and Wichita also requires an oral interview. Other requirements may include high school diploma or GED diploma, driver's license, and background check.
Becoming a Firefighter in Kansas: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the specific training for Kansas?
It depends on the specific location. Some departments require candidates to enter with some training. Some, like Kansas City and Wichita, train firefighter recruits through the department.
Is EMT/paramedic/other training or certification required?
Many fire departments in Kansas require EMT certification, which Wichita, Manhattan, and Topeka require. Some departments want Kansas EMT certification, while others specify national certification.
What is the test like for firefighters in Kansas?
Where required, written tests for firefighters in Kansas may include questions parallel to the NTN's FireTEAM test, which examines candidates on reading comprehension, math, and mechanics. Some departments may require oral interviews and/or exams.
What kind of shape should I be in to be a firefighter?
Firefighters must be physically fit to adequately perform their duties. Most departments include a fitness test or physical examination, like the NTN's CPAT, as part of the application process.
What if I only want to fight wildfires in Kansas?
The Kansas Forest Service runs the state's fire management program, training wildland firefighters in the state and working to prevent and suppress wildfires.
How long does it take to become a firefighter in Kansas?
It depends on the location and how much is required upon application. EMT certification and other qualifications can take three months to obtain, or more than four years for those pursuing it as part of an academic program.
Firefighter Courses and Programs in Kansas
Prospective firefighters may undergo training through a degree program, preparing for careers as firefighters, fire inspectors, and other emergency services positions. By obtaining a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor's degree in fire science or a related subject, firefighters qualify to assume leadership roles in their field.
Since firefighter requirements in Kansas vary by location, prospective students should research the regulations in their local jurisdiction to ensure their chosen program matches their career goals.
Operating in collaboration with the Johnson County Fire Chiefs Association and the University of Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute, JCCC's 63-credit associate degree program includes course requirements in firefighting tactics, fire and emergency management, fire science law, leadership in the fire service, and codes/detection and suppression systems, plus general education requirements and technical electives.
Designed to prepare entry-level firefighters and first responders for careers in emergency services, CCC's 64-credit associate degree takes two years to complete. It comprises courses in fire service orientation and terminology, hazardous materials, firefighter basic skills, firefighter I and II, introduction to fire origin and cause, fundamentals of fire prevention, and rescue practices, plus general education requirements.
Ideal for students seeking national firefighting and EMT certifications, DC3's 68-credit program takes four semesters to complete, mandating courses in firefighter I and II, hazardous materials, and technical rescue, plus general education requirements and recommended electives in subjects like fire instructor, fire department company officer, and fire science internship.
Fire Science Colleges in Kansas
Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in Kansas
The BLS reports that Kansas employed 3,790 firefighters as of May 2018, situating the state in the bottom middle category when compared to the rest of the nation. Kansas employed the highest number of nonmetropolitan firefighters in the country, however, with 1,570 rural firefighters working in the state as of May 2018. Given that most of Kansas qualifies as a nonmetropolitan area by BLS standards -- this includes every area but Topeka, Manhattan, and Wichita -- these low employment numbers make sense.
Kansas firefighters earned an annual mean wage of $37,930 as of May 2018 and a mean hourly wage of $18. Nonmetropolitan firefighters earned a slightly lower annual mean wage of $32,140.
In Kansas, firefighters enjoy access to a wealth of resources and opportunities, including professional organizations and unions, quality training programs, and state resources. Professional organizations and unions represent the firefighting industry to elected leaders, fighting for safe working conditions, better contracts, and up-to-date equipment. They also promote camaraderie, engaging in the community, and they provide training opportunities.
The list below illustrates some of the educational, professional, and state resources available for firefighters in Kansas.