Fire Science Degree Programs in Nevada | Firefighter Training
Written by Timothy Levin Last Updated: Feb 10, 2020
Due to the persistent threat of hazards such as housefires, wildfires, medical emergencies, and natural disasters, firefighters are in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 5% increase in job opportunities for firefighters from 2018-2028. Firefighting is growing on pace with the overall job growth rate in the U.S., and firefighters can expect to see an additional 17,600 openings over the next several years.
This page explores how to become a firefighter in Nevada, touching on key topics including salaries, training courses, and academic programs. Below, you can learn the answers to some frequently asked questions about firefighter requirements in Nevada.
The requirements to become a firefighter vary among cities, counties, and towns. Many fire departments share some basic requirements, but prospective firefighters should research the particular hiring process in the area where they plan to work.
For example, the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Department requires applicants to be at least 18 years old, hold a high school diploma or equivalent, and possess a valid driver's license. Candidates must also earn state or national emergency medical technician (EMT) certification before being hired. They must pass a written exam and an interview before progressing to training at the department's recruit academy.
In Reno, applicants who meet minimum qualifications attend a one-day session in which they take a physical agility test and a written exam. Candidates may substitute a current Candidate Physical Agility Test (CPAT) certification for the physical ability component.
Generally, new firefighters also need to pass a medical exam, a background check, and a drug screening. The next section delves into some frequently asked questions about how to become a firefighter in Nevada.
Becoming a Firefighter in Nevada: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the specific training for Nevada?
There is no training program that all firefighters in Nevada must complete. Instead, each fire department enforces its own training standards. After recruits are hired, they generally need to attend a training academy to build their physical fitness and fire-fighting abilities.
Is EMT/paramedic/other training or certification required?
Yes. Departments generally expect applicants to hold EMT certification and/or CPR certification. Some fire departments also require firefighters to become certified paramedics or licensed ambulance attendants.
What is the test like for firefighters in Nevada?
Exams vary among fire departments in Nevada. Written exams typically test for basic aptitude and may include questions on reading comprehension, reasoning, and basic math. To become a certified firefighter, you need to pass an exam covering technical firefighting topics.
What kind of shape should I be in to be a firefighter?
Firefighters must maintain excellent physical fitness. Training academies often include daily fitness regimens, and firefighters need to pass an initial physical fitness test. The CPAT, a common test, includes activities such as a hose drag and stair climb.
What if I only want to fight wildfires in Nevada?
The Nevada Division of Forestry hires firefighters to work temporarily during the fire season, which runs from May to October. Seasonal firefighters must take a physical exam and attend wildland firefighter training.
How long does it take to become a firefighter in Nevada?
The time it takes to become a firefighter in Nevada depends on several factors, including the next available exam date. Additionally, each department's rules regarding certifications and probationary periods affect the length of the hiring process.
Firefighter Courses and Programs in Nevada
Individuals preparing for careers in fire protection can select from a variety of educational programs. Firefighter schools in Nevada prepare new firefighters for the field through classroom work, training exercises, and physical fitness programs.
Additionally, aspiring firefighters must generally become certified EMTs or paramedics. They may qualify for certification through a certificate program or degree at a community college or university. A degree in fire science or a similar field provides the extra knowledge to help firefighters succeed in their jobs or earn promotions. Training requirements vary at each fire department, so make sure to research local regulations before enrolling in firefighter courses in Nevada.
The College of Southern Nevada offers this bachelor's program to students with associate degrees in fire science or a similar discipline. The degree reinforces students' technical skills and builds their managerial abilities. Learners study subjects including disaster planning, community risk reduction, personnel management, fire investigation, and financial management for fire and emergency services.
This program prepares students for jobs in fire departments and may ready them for certification in wildland firefighting. The certificate requires 30 total credits from 10 courses. Core classes cover topics including hazardous materials, building construction, and leadership in emergency service. Electives discuss fire prevention, codes and ordinances, and wildfires.
The University of Nevada, Reno offers this program in partnership with the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority. The curriculum qualifies graduates to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians paramedic exam. It explores medical topics and communication, leadership, legal issues, and ethics. Students complete classroom work, clinical hours, and an internship.
Fire Science Colleges in Nevada
Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in Nevada
Nevada's firefighters earn considerably more than firefighters in most other parts of the country. Nevada ranks fifth among the top-paying states for firefighters, only falling behind California, New Jersey, Washington, and New York. Firefighters in Nevada earn a mean annual salary of $66,830, well above the national median for the profession ($49,620).
Firefighter salaries in Nevada depend on several factors, including geographic location and professional experience, so some firefighters may take home significantly more than the state average.
In addition, Projections Central expects firefighter employment in Nevada to grow by 15.4% from 2016-2026 -- much faster than the national job growth rate for the profession. A heightened demand for firefighters in Nevada indicates that it may be easier to land a job in Nevada than in another area.
Trainees, new recruits, and firefighters with a few years under their belt can all take advantage of useful resources through professional associations and government agencies. Unions and other professional membership organizations help firefighters meet, socialize, organize, and demand better pay. These associations also offer scholarships and advocate for legislation that benefits firefighters. Huge unions, such as the International Association of Fire Fighters, boast extensive resources on pensions, continuing education, and legislative efforts.
Local and national government bodies publish reports to keep firefighters apprised on issues relevant to them. Government agencies may also offer educational resources that firefighters can learn from and pass along to their communities.