Fire Science Degree Programs in New Hampshire | Firefighter Training

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Written by Kathleen Swed
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2020

In New Hampshire, demand for firefighters is growing on pace with the national average growth rate for all occupations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field can expect a 5% jump in demand between 2018 and 2028. Projections Central expects similar growth in New Hampshire between 2016 and 2026, making now an excellent time to pursue a career in firefighting and emergency services.


New Hampshire mandates some minimum firefighter requirements at the state level, though the specifics still differ by local jurisdiction. This page describes some of the variables involved in New Hampshire firefighting requirements, plus answers to frequently asked questions, information on firefighter courses in New Hampshire, details on salary and regional occupation statistics, and resources for firefighters in New Hampshire. Read on to learn more about how to become a firefighter in New Hampshire.



Firefighter Requirements in New Hampshire


Specific firefighter requirements in New Hampshire vary by individual department, but the state mandates certain standard minimum requirements. Prospective firefighters must pass the National Testing Network's Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT), which requires participants to complete challenges like ladder raise and extension, hose drag, and equipment carry.


New Hampshire also requires firefighters to pass an acrophobia test to ensure that they have no fear of heights, and all firefighters must hold firefighter II certification by the end of their first year.


Other firefighter requirements in New Hampshire differ by location. Portsmouth, Londonderry, and Nashua require new firefighters to hold emergency medical technician (EMT) and firefighter II certification at the time of application. Hooksett allows recruits one year to obtain these certifications, though they must enter with firefighter I licensure plus national paramedic and hazardous materials certifications.


For educational requirements, many fire departments require a high school diploma or GED diploma, as is the case in Portsmouth and Lebanon, whereas Londonderry prefers an associate degree related to fire science.


Variable firefighter requirements in New Hampshire also include residential proximity to a fire station, oral interviews, clean driving records, and medical evaluations.


Becoming a Firefighter in New Hampshire: Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the specific training for New Hampshire?

    New Hampshire requires career firefighters to train for firefighter II certification, which covers rescue skills, flammable liquids, vehicle rescue, fire cause, and firefighter safety skills.

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

    Many fire departments in New Hampshire, such as Portsmouth, Londonderry, Nashua, and Hooksett, require firefighters to maintain EMT certification. Some may also require HAZMAT or CPR certification.

  • What is the test like for firefighters in New Hampshire?

    Firefighters in New Hampshire must pass a physical exam and an acrophobia exam, which requires them to ascend a 100-foot aerial without stopping for more than 30 seconds.

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

    Firefighters must maintain good physical fitness. New Hampshire mandates that all firefighters pass the CPAT, which assesses participants through stair climb, hose drag, equipment carry, ladder raise and extension, forcible entry, search, rescue, and ceiling breach and pull.

  • What if I only want to fight wildfires in New Hampshire?

    The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands trains forest rangers to respond to wildfires and coordinate wildfire suppression efforts in the state. The division also offers a training program dedicated to preventing and controlling wildfires.

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

    The firefighter I certification course in New Hampshire consists of 212 hours, and the firefighter II course consists of 116 hours. For departments seeking candidates with an associate degree, training can take two or more years to complete.

Firefighter Courses and Programs in New Hampshire


New Hampshire features a variety of programs for aspiring firefighters, though few are academic programs leading to college-credit certificates or associate degrees. Because some departments prefer applicants with an associate degree or some college credit, however, an academic program may make an excellent choice for firefighters looking to work in those districts.


Firefighters interested in career advancement or leadership roles may want to pursue degrees for college credit, and firefighter courses in New Hampshire often lead toward firefighter I or II certification, which the state requires from its firefighters. Prospective students should always research local requirements to ensure that the program they choose aligns with their career goals.

Lakes Region Community College

Program Name Associate of Science in Fire Science
Program Description Designed to lead entry-level firefighters to firefighter I and EMT certification in New Hampshire, LRCC's 68-credit associate degree takes two years to complete and requires courses in principles of emergency service, fire combustion and behavior, fire protection systems, fire ground procedures, strategy and tactics, and building construction for fire prevention, plus general education.

Lakes Region Community College

Program Name Fire Science Certificate
Program Description Ideal for students looking for a solid foundation in fire-fighting basics, LRCC's 31-credit certificate program takes one year to complete and requires courses in principles of emergency service, fire combustion and behavior, fire protection systems, fire ground procedures, building construction and blueprint analysis, and fire and emergency services administration.

New Hampshire Department of Safety

Program Name Firefighter I and II Certification
Program Description Career firefighters in New Hampshire must complete firefighter II certification by the end of their first year of work, and the New Hampshire Department of Safety offers programs to help firefighters reach that goal. Firefighter I training includes topics in fire behavior, forcible entry, ladders, and fire suppression. Firefighter II training builds on those fundamentals, adding rescue skills, foam fire streams, flammable liquids, and vehicle rescue.

Fire Science Colleges in New Hampshire

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Degree Level
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Environment

Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in New Hampshire


Among the 10 least-populated states in the country and the sixth-smallest in terms of geographic area, New Hampshire employed 2,130 firefighters as of May 2018, according to the BLS. This placed the state as No. 5 in the nation for concentration of firefighters. New Hampshire has 3.27 firefighters per 1,000 jobs during that time period, with a location quotient of 1.47.


New Hampshire firefighters earned an annual mean wage of $48,640 as of May 2019, with an hourly rate of $23. New Hampshire's salaries outpaced its neighboring states of Vermont and Maine, falling well below those in Massachusetts. Some of this discrepancy may have to do with high pay rates in Boston's metropolitan area, of which Nashua is considered a part. Additionally, New Hampshire does not tax wages or salaries, a consideration when comparing rates of pay across state lines.


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 New Hampshire


Because New Hampshire sets minimum guidelines for its firefighters, the state offers a plethora of training courses and paths to certification, and the state-run website provides an excellent start for firefighters seeking training opportunities. The state also offers information on wildfire-fighting in New Hampshire.


Professional organizations also provide crucial support for firefighters. They liaise with elected officials to make sure they understand the needs of firefighters in New Hampshire, and they offer training opportunities, insurance, collective bargaining support, and other resources for firefighters. The list below describes a few potential resources for firefighters in New Hampshire.


New Hampshire Department of Safety

The New Hampshire Department of Safety offers full-service training and certification programs for firefighters and emergency services workers, including courses in firefighter I and II, driver/operator, fire inspector, hazardous materials, and rescue.

New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands

The NH Division of Forests and Lands offers a wildland fire prevention program, with national-standard wildfire programs for firefighters and community members. The division also dispatches teams to assist with disasters outside of the state.

Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire

A chapter of the International Association of Firefighters, the PFFNH supports in-service and retired firefighters and emergency services professionals by assisting local unions in collective bargaining and advocating for firefighter interests at the legislative level.

New Hampshire State Firemen's Association

The NHSFA serves New Hampshire firefighters by providing insurance benefits for line-of-duty injuries, plus life insurance and disability. The NHSFA also holds an annual meeting.

New Hampshire Association of Fire Chiefs

The New Hampshire Association of Fire Chiefs promotes best practices in fire and emergency services, providing opportunities for leaders in the field to engage in professional development and camaraderie with their colleagues.