Fire Science Degree Programs in Mississippi | Firefighter Training
Written by Timothy Levin Last Updated: Feb 7, 2020
Becoming a firefighter in Mississippi can lead to an exciting and rewarding career. No matter where they work, firefighters fill a crucial role in their communities. They respond to medical emergencies, put out fires, and protect the public from other hazards.
The persistent threat of medical emergencies, fires, and other dangerous situations means that the state expects a constant demand for firefighters in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 5% increase in firefighting jobs from 2018-2028, translating to 17,600 new positions. Despite the growth in volunteer fire departments, demand for professional firefighters will continue as career firefighters leave the profession.
This page answers some frequently asked questions and covers the major aspects of how to become a firefighter in Mississippi. Below, you can learn about training requirements, potential salaries, job growth figures, and academic programs.
The requirements to become a firefighter typically vary among local jurisdictions, unlike some other occupations for which expectations remain standard across the country or throughout an individual state. That means the specific process you must follow and the requirements you must meet depend on the town, county, or city in which you serve. While local regulations may vary somewhat, Mississippi's government enforces some minimum requirements that all firefighters in the state must satisfy.
Mississippi's Fire Personnel Minimum Standards and Certification Board (MSCB) sets training standards for professional firefighters, and all paid personnel involved in fire suppression or fire-related rescue activities must become certified through the MSCB. To become certified, aspiring firefighters need to take the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), undergo firefighter training, and complete an emergency medical services course. Before beginning the certification process, recruits must follow the necessary steps to be hired by a specific department.
In Moss Point, for example, applicants must be at least 18 years old, hold a high school diploma, and possess a driver's license. Candidates complete a physical abilities test that includes a run, push-ups, simulated wood chops, and other activities. They must also pass a written exam, verbal interview, and background check.
Becoming a Firefighter in Mississippi: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the specific training for Mississippi?
All career firefighters in Mississippi must complete National Fire Protection Association firefighter I/II training. Depending on the fire department they work for, firefighters either complete training through their department or at the Mississippi State Fire Academy.
Is EMT/paramedic/other training or certification required?
Before starting an MSCB-approved training program, new hires must meet emergency medical care training requirements. Options for this requirement include emergency medical technician (EMT) training, paramedic training, and first responder certification through the Department of Transportation.
What is the test like for firefighters in Mississippi?
Each department may administer different written and oral exams to determine whether or not to hire an applicant. Additionally, to complete basic firefighter training, recruits must pass written and skills exams with a score of at least 70%.
What kind of shape should I be in to be a firefighter?
You must maintain excellent physical fitness to become a firefighter in Mississippi. As a prerequisite to MSCB training, firefighters must pass the CPAT, which includes eight events such as a rescue drag, stair climb, and equipment carry.
What if I only want to fight wildfires in Mississippi?
The Mississippi Forestry Commission employs firefighters to suppress wildfires on close to 20 million acres of forest. Wildland firefighters in the U.S. often need to complete additional training beyond the requirements for other firefighters.
How long does it take to become a firefighter in Mississippi?
New firefighters must meet all certification requirements within their first year of full-time employment. The total time it takes to complete certification requirements may depend on a fire department's expectations and a firefighter's initial qualifications.
Firefighter Courses and Programs in Mississippi
Aspiring firefighters can pursue training and education through many firefighter schools in Mississippi. Mississippi fire departments typically require firefighter-specific training that teaches new firefighters about fire prevention, fire suppression, and firefighting techniques. Recruits also need to become certified EMTs through certification courses or as part of a degree.
Earning an associate degree, bachelor's degree, or postsecondary certificate brings additional advantages. Pursuing a degree in fire science may provide the advanced knowledge you need to succeed as a firefighter or attain a supervisory role. Educational requirements vary among fire departments, so make sure to look up local requirements before enrolling in firefighter courses in Mississippi.
Meridian Community College offers career certificates and AAS degrees in fire protection technology. The certificate comprises 10 core courses on topics like fire prevention, fire science, building construction, strategy, and disaster management. Students complete general education requirements and technical concentration classes to earn an associate degree.
This certificate program prepares students to earn EMT certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. It teaches students about patient assessment, emergency care, and how to properly transport patients via ambulance. Students also explore airway management, pharmacology, and hemorrhage control, among other topics.
This 67-credit program targets certified EMTs who would like to expand their skills through paramedic certification. The program includes classroom, clinical, and field internship components. Learners take classes on topics such as anatomy and physiology, airway medicine, and emergency medical service operations.
Fire Science Colleges in Mississippi
Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in Mississippi
Approximately 3,090 firefighters worked in Mississippi as of May 2018. The BLS projects that employment for firefighters will grow by 5% from 2016-2026, matching the overall growth rate for firefighters in the U.S. A growing job market for firefighters means that you may have an easier time finding employment in Mississippi than in some other states.
While job growth numbers align with the national average for the profession, firefighter salary in Mississippi falls below the national median. The average firefighter in Mississippi earns $30,370 per year, significantly less than the national median firefighter salary of $49,620. However, annual pay depends on several factors, including professional experience and geographic location within a state. The top 10% of firefighters in Mississippi take home at least $45,820 per year.
Many resources and organizations provide immense value to new, aspiring, and experienced firefighters. Firefighters' unions help fire protection workers organize, demand better benefits, and advocate for beneficial legislation. Additionally, unions and professional associations inform firefighters about challenges and developments in the field through meetings and news updates. Large unions such as the International Association of Fire Fighters offer a huge variety of resources and services.
Additionally, government agencies like the U.S. Fire Administration can inform firefighters about major problems, provide training opportunities, and connect firefighters with funding opportunities. Read on to learn more about some of the helpful resources for firefighters in Mississippi.