Fire Science Degree Programs in Missouri | Firefighter Training

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Written by Kathleen Swed
Last Updated: Feb 7, 2020

Nationwide, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates a 5% growth rate in national demand for firefighters between 2018 and 2028, which falls in line with occupational growth projections across the country. In Missouri, Projections Central projects a more optimistic increase, expecting an 8.7% growth in demand for firefighters in the state between 2016 and 2026.


Most firefighters in Missouri cluster in metropolitan regions, for which reason the state pays a healthy annual mean salary for firefighters. It also provides resources for volunteer departments in nonmetropolitan areas to support their wildfire suppression efforts. Read on to learn about salary and occupational growth for firefighters in Missouri, plus firefighter requirements, answers to frequently asked questions, academic programs for aspiring firefighters, and a list of helpful resources for firefighters in Missouri.



Firefighter Requirements in Missouri


Firefighter requirements in Missouri depend on regulations set by counties, towns, and individual fire departments. The state provides firefighter I and II certification, but their exact requirements depend on the local jurisdiction.


Many fire departments in Missouri require candidates to obtain firefighter I and II certification. North Kansas City requires certification prior to application, while St. Louis trains recruits through a 16-week fire academy, at the end of which they must take the state certification exams. In Springfield, firefighter I and II certification represents one of four possible qualifications, with other options including EMT certification, 36 credit hours of college coursework, or two years of military experience.


North Kansas City requires candidates to obtain certification beyond firefighter I and II, including EMT -- also a requirement in Jefferson City⁠ -- and CPR, as well as HAZMAT awareness. The town also requires applicants to submit passing Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT) scores, which validate physical fitness. St. Louis, Springfield, and Jefferson City all require physical agility tests, as well.


Depending on the location, other firefighter requirements in Missouri may include written exams, a vision minimum, an age cap, background checks, drug tests, a driver's license, or a high school diploma or GED diploma.


Becoming a Firefighter in Missouri: Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the specific training for Missouri?

    Firefighter I and II training is not a statewide regulation, but many towns mandate that candidates obtain it. Training in Missouri covers practical skills like passenger vehicle fire, interior structure fire, and exterior ignitable liquid fire.

  • Is EMT/paramedic/other training or certification required?

    Some towns, such as North Kansas City and Jefferson City, require candidates to hold EMT certification. In Springfield, EMT certification represents one of several qualifying options for firefighter employment.

  • What is the test like for firefighters in Missouri?

    The firefighter I and II certification exam in Missouri includes both written and practical examinations. The written exam includes 100 multiple choice questions, while the practical exam follows guidelines set forth in the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications.

  • What kind of shape should I be in to be a firefighter?

    Firefighters must maintain good physical condition to adequately perform their jobs. Most fire departments require candidates to pass a physical fitness test as part of the application process.

  • What if I only want to fight wildfires in Missouri?

    The Missouri Department of Conservation coordinates with rural fire departments in the state to combat wildfires. Generally, MDC staff work with volunteer firefighters to put out wildfires. The MDC does not maintain a separate force of firefighters.

  • How long does it take to become a firefighter in Missouri?

    It depends. Firefighters who need to complete firefighter I and II training can seek courses through the state or prepare through another approved program. The fire academy in St. Louis takes 16 weeks. For departments with more certification requirements, like North Kansas City, aspiring firefighters may need to line up additional certifications before applying.

Firefighter Courses and Programs in Missouri


Since many fire departments in Missouri require aspiring firefighters to hold firefighter I and II certification before applying, academic programs represent a potential pathway for securing the necessary training. By pursuing a certificate, associate, or bachelor's degree in fire science or a related area, firefighters can prepare for entry-level positions and set themselves up as leaders in their field.


Because firefighter requirements in Missouri vary among places, students should make sure that they understand their own local regulations before enrolling in a program. A selection of fire science programs in Missouri appears below.

Ozarks Technical Community College

Program Name Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science Technology
Program Description Accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, OTC's 63-credit associate degree program prepares students for careers as firefighters, fire officers, and related professions through required courses in emergency medical technician, principles emergency services, building construction, firefighter I and II, technical rescue core, and general education.

Crowder College

Program Name Fire Science Certificate
Program Description Designed to prepare entry-level firefighters to pass Missouri's firefighter I and II examinations, Crowder's 16-credit certificate consists of courses in firefighter I and II, emergency medical technician, and college orientation. Students can complete the program in one semester or add general education requirements to work toward an associate degree.

Three Rivers Community College

Program Name Associate of Science in Fire Technology and Administration
Program Description Ideal for firefighters who want to serve as leaders in the field, TRCC's four-semester associate degree requires 66-67 credits in courses such as introduction to fire technology, mechanics, building construction, heat sound light, fire prevention and inspection, and codes and standards -- plus general education requirements.

Fire Science Colleges in Missouri

State
Degree Level
School Type
Environment

Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in Missouri


Missouri lands near the top of the second-highest category in the country for firefighter employment, at least in terms of sheer numbers. According to the BLS, Missouri employed 6,500 firefighters as of May 2018, the bulk of whom worked in the metropolitan areas of Kansas City and St. Louis. With an annual dry season and plentiful grasslands, Missouri is also alert to the threat of wildfires in nonmetropolitan areas.


The BLS reports that Missouri firefighters earned an annual mean wage of $51,100 as of May 2018, with the hourly wage coming in at $25. This salary eclipsed those in all of Missouri's neighboring states, except Illinois. When examined by location, firefighters in St. Louis earned the most, with an annual mean wage of $57,940, while those in the lowest-paying district⁠ -- the nonmetropolitan area of Central Missouri⁠ -- earned $32,010.


National Average Salaries for Firefighters

0-12 Months

Entry Level

$40,657
1-4 Years

Early Career

$41,666
5-9 Years

Mid-Career

$48,760
10-19 Years

Experienced

$56,191

Source: PayScale

Firefighter Resources in Missouri


Aspiring, in-service, and leading firefighters can benefit from state and professional resources for career advancement, camaraderie, training opportunities, and news updates, which may prove crucial in day-to-day operations. Professional organizations advocate for the firefighting profession, liaising with elected officials and educating the public on issues that can help save firefighters' lives.


In Missouri, firefighters can take advantage of the resources offered by state agencies, fire training academies, and professional organizations. The list below offers details for resources that fall in each category.


Missouri Department of Conservation

The MDC coordinates wildfire suppression efforts in the state, working with MDC staff and fire departments to deploy the appropriate personnel. The department provides funding for rural departments that respond to wildfires, plus a wildfire reporting system.

St. Louis County Fire Academy

In addition to preparing all newly hired St. Louis County firefighters, the St. Louis County Fire Academy accepts self-sponsored students who seek training. The website also lists job openings and information about additional courses and certifications.

Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri

A local chapter of the International Association of Firefighters, the PFEM promotes camaraderie among firefighters and community involvement through local events, charity collection, and a directory of members.

Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters

Working in partnership with the International Association of Firefighters, the MSCFF supports its membership through legislative advocacy promoting the interests of firefighters in the state. Members can download their mobile app, where they may access district news, social media updates, and member resources.

Missouri Association of Fire Chiefs

Promoting communication, camaraderie, and professional standards for fire service leaders in Missouri, the MAFC holds an annual conference, sponsors many community events, and provides online resources for firefighters and fire chiefs in the state.