Fire Science Degree Programs in Louisiana | Firefighter Training
Written by Kathleen Swed Last Updated: Feb 7, 2020
Categorized as a high-risk state for wildfire activity, Louisiana's need for firefighters is on the rise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that firefighters will experience an occupational growth trend of 5% across the country between 2018 and 2028 -- consistent with the average growth projections for all jobs. Even more promising is that Projections Central expects that Louisiana's demand for firefighters will grow by nearly double that, at 9%, between 2016 and 2026.
Louisiana's metropolitan area of Shreveport-Bossier City employed the fourth-highest concentration of urban firefighters in the nation as of May 2018.
While Louisiana requires a statewide test for firefighters, qualifications vary widely depending on the individual jurisdiction or specific department. This page covers how to become a firefighter in Louisiana, including variations in requirements and training, firefighter schools in Louisiana, job growth and salary statistics, and resources for aspiring and in-service firefighters in Louisiana.
Louisiana requires firefighters to pass a civil service examination before they can qualify for entry-level positions in any jurisdiction. This exam comprises a written portion with multiple-choice questions in eight topics: learning ability and memorization, reading comprehension, prioritizing/problem-solving, lecture notes, human relations, math, mechanical aptitude, and spatial relations. The state also requires an oral directions test.
Beyond the civil service examination, firefighter requirements in Louisiana depend on the individual city, town, or even particular department, as is the case in Monroe. Monroe requires a minimum score of 75 on the state exam, while other departments do not specify a preferred score.
Baton Rouge requires candidates to demonstrate physical fitness through an 11-part fitness test. New Orleans, Lake Charles, and Monroe also require fitness tests. Baton Rouge prefers EMT certification, though candidates may also obtain certification during the training process, the length of which varies by department. Monroe's training academy takes 18 weeks, and New Orleans takes 16 weeks.
Other requirements for firefighters in Louisiana include a high school diploma or GED diploma, a background check, a valid Louisiana driver's license, and interviews.
Becoming a Firefighter in Louisiana: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the specific training for Louisiana?
Training varies by department. Monroe uses classroom and hands-on teaching methods to prepare entry-level firefighters for equipment usage, salvage operations, emergency medical services, forcible entry, and fire suppression tactics.
Is EMT/paramedic/other training or certification required?
It depends. Some departments prefer EMT certification, while others provide training as a part of the recruit academy.
What is the test like for firefighters in Louisiana?
The Louisiana exam comprises written and oral components. The multiple-choice written exam covers learning ability and memorization, reading comprehension, prioritizing/problem-solving, human relations, math, mechanical aptitude, and spatial relations. The oral part requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to follow directions.
What kind of shape should I be in to be a firefighter?
Firefighters must meet the challenges of their job by maintaining good physical fitness. Louisiana fire departments generally require applicants to pass a physical fitness test and/or a medical exam.
What if I only want to fight wildfires in Louisiana?
The Forest Protection Branch of Louisiana's Department of Agriculture and Forestry trains fire crews in Louisiana and provides financial support for volunteer departments, particularly in rural areas of the state.
How long does it take to become a firefighter in Louisiana?
The hiring process typically follows multiple steps and can take 3-6 months or longer. After hiring, recruit training can last another few months, though it is often paid. In Monroe, recruit academy lasts 18 weeks; in New Orleans, it takes 16 weeks.
Firefighter Courses and Programs in Louisiana
Aspiring firefighters in Louisiana may prepare for their careers by pursuing academic training in a fire science or emergency services-related degree program, many of which offer pathways to state and national certification in various aspects of emergency services. By obtaining a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor's degree, firefighters may set themselves up for leadership and advancement opportunities in the field.
Since firefighter requirements vary by city and department, prospective students should always research local expectations before committing to a degree program. The list below provides information on several academic programs for firefighters in Louisiana.
Ideal for students who expect to pursue leadership as firefighters and emergency services workers, LSUE's 63-credit associate degree program includes course options such as technology for emergency services, hazardous materials, principles of emergency services, fundamentals of corporate and municipal public safety administration, and fire combustion and behavior, plus general education requirements.
A one-year preparatory program for firefighters, LSUE's fire science technology certificate comprises forensic and fire science electives, like technology for emergency services, hazardous materials, and principles of emergency services. The certificate requires students to complete general education in composition and algebra, plus a humanities elective.
Designed for in-service firefighters seeking leadership or advancement in their careers, Delgado's 63-credit associate degree requires major courses in organization for fire protection, building materials, fire protection systems, fire strategies and tactics, codes and prevention principles, fire hydraulics, and fire administration, plus fire-related technology courses and general education requirements.
Fire Science Colleges in Louisiana
Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in Louisiana
According to the BLS, Louisiana employed 6,220 firefighters as of May 2018, placing the state near the top of the second-largest category for firefighter employment in the country. The Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area employs the fourth-highest concentration of metropolitan firefighters in the country, with 6.17 firefighters for every 1,000 jobs.
In a state where wildfires occur at relatively high rates, Projections Central anticipates Louisiana's growth in demand for firefighters between 2016 and 2026 to nearly double the national average growth rate between 2018 and 2028.
Salaries for Louisiana firefighters, however, fall in the nation's lowest category, with these professionals earning an annual mean wage of $30,600 and a mean hourly wage of $15 as of May 2018. Though low compared with the nation as a whole, Louisiana firefighter salaries fall in line with those of neighboring states Mississippi and Arkansas.
Professional organizations and state agencies can provide a wealth of resources for firefighters seeking opportunities in Louisiana. State resources offer information on firefighter requirements in Louisiana, such as testing information and wildfire outlook and education.
Unions and professional organizations provide crucial support to retired and in-service firefighters by educating lawmakers and the general public about the occupation. Professional and volunteer firefighters can join organizations to receive discounts, insurance and pension information, collective bargaining support, and other important resources.
The list below details some of the state and professional resources available for firefighters in Louisiana.