Fire Science Degree Programs in New Mexico | Firefighter Training

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Written by Timothy Levin
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2020

This page explores how to become a firefighter in New Mexico. Read on to discover more about firefighter salaries, training requirements, job growth expectations, and professional resources. Below, you can also consult a list of frequently asked questions about becoming a firefighter in New Mexico.


Consider some of the general benefits of becoming a firefighter. Firefighters risk their lives to protect their communities from hazards such as wildfires and medical emergencies. Firefighting can provide an excellent and rewarding career path for those looking to be of service to their community.


Demand for firefighters is strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 5% increase in firefighting jobs across the country from 2018-2028, leading to nearly 18,000 new positions. The continuing problem of fires and medical emergencies contributes to a steady need for firefighters in the coming years.



Firefighter Requirements in New Mexico


Aspiring firefighters must typically complete several steps, including a written exam, physical evaluation, and training program, before they can become full-fledged firefighters. Firefighter requirements typically vary in each city, town, and county within a state. Read on to explore some local firefighter requirements in New Mexico.


In Albuquerque, applicants must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent and be at least 18 years old. They also need to provide evidence of at least 15 college credit hours or two years of military service. Applicants must present a valid Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) certification and pass written, oral, and physical exams. New hires attend an 18-week training academy, and those without an emergency medical technician (EMT) license complete additional training.


Firefighters in Las Cruces must be 18 years old and possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. They also need a national or state EMT license before the application closing date. Before starting their training, new hires must pass evaluations, including a written exam, physical test, and acrophobia test.


The Rio Rancho fire service requires that all applicants be at least 21 years old. They must pass a written exam, physical agility test, and medical screening, along with an oral review and a background investigation.


Becoming a Firefighter in New Jersey: Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the specific training for New Mexico?

    The State Fire Marshal, part of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, sets statewide training standards. The New Mexico Firefighters Training Academy offers training classes, as do individual fire departments.

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

    Fire departments typically require a New Mexico EMT license or a national EMT license. Some departments require applicants to become certified before starting the application process, while others allow recruits to earn their certification later on.

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

    Each fire department in New Mexico determines its own written and oral exams. Written exams, which fire departments use to measure basic aptitude, often test applicants on their reading comprehension, reasoning, and math skills.

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

    Firefighters need to stay in excellent physical shape. Aspiring firefighters should expect to take a fitness evaluation such as the CPAT. Additionally, firefighter training academies include a fitness regimen and exams.

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

    Wildland firefighters typically need additional, specialized training on top of normal firefighter requirements. Some local fire departments employ wildland firefighters. The State Forestry Division handles wildfire prevention and suppression in New Mexico.

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

    Many factors can influence the amount of time it takes to become a firefighter in New Mexico. Each fire department enforces its own requirements with respect to age, education, training, and probationary periods.

Firefighter Courses and Programs in New Mexico


Aspiring firefighters in New Mexico can take advantage of a variety of training programs and educational opportunities that prepare them for work in fire service. Firefighter schools in New Mexico, often called fire academies, build the fundamental skills and knowledge that firefighters need to succeed in their jobs.


Additionally, fire departments may require or recommend some college-level academic credit. Future firefighters often need to become certified EMTs and may complete the necessary training through a college certificate program. They may also choose to pursue a degree in fire science. Hiring expectations vary among fire departments, so be sure to research local regulations before applying to firefighter courses in New Mexico.

Doña Ana Community College

Program Name Certificate of Completion: Basic Firefighter
Program Description This certificate requires 30 total credits and includes coursework on emergency medical services, hazardous materials awareness, and vehicle extrication. As part of the certificate, the school also offers developmental courses on topics such as composition, algebra, and reading comprehension. The college also offers an AAS in fire science technology.

University of New Mexico Los Alamos

Program Name Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science
Program Description This associate program in fire science prepares graduates for a variety of fire science and emergency medical services jobs. Students may choose a concentration in fire science or emergency medical services. Regardless of specialization, students take courses on topics such as fire prevention, fire behavior, and fire protection systems.

Central New Mexico Community College

Program Name Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services, Paramedic Concentration
Program Description This 72-credit program prepares students to achieve paramedic licensure. It includes general education classes across subjects like English, mathematics, social science, and humanities. Medical courses cover topics including neurological theory, EMT theory, cardiovascular medicine, and pharmacology. Students complete labs, clinicals, and field experiences.

Fire Science Colleges in New Mexico

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Degree Level
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Environment

Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in New Mexico


The BLS projects positive job growth for New Mexico's firefighters in the coming years. According to agency projections, job opportunities should increase 3.5% from 2016-2026. Short term occupational projections place the job growth rate for New Mexico's fire protection workers at 2.5%.


Salaries for New Mexico's firefighters also fall below the national median of $49,620 per year. New Mexico's firefighters earn a mean annual salary of $36,590. For comparison, firefighters in the neighboring states of Arizona, Colorado, and Texas take home yearly salaries of $45,150, $61,160, and $52,520, respectively.


However, firefighter salaries in New Mexico depends on factors such as a firefighter's professional experience and geographic location. Firefighters in Farmington earn a yearly salary of $33,460, while those in northern New Mexico take home close to $44,000. The top 10% of firefighters in New Mexico enjoy salaries above $51,920.


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 Mexico


After becoming a firefighter in New Mexico, you can take advantage of resources such as professional associations and government agency offerings. Local, state, and international unions help firefighters organize, meet one another, advocate for legislation, and demand better benefits. Professional associations also host meetings and publish news items that keep firefighters up to date on the occupation. In addition, unions provide important services to their members, including legal and financial advice.


Government bodies inform firefighters about the scope of fire-related issues facing the public. Read on to learn about some useful organizations and resources for firefighters in New Mexico.


International Association of Fire Fighters

This union represents the interests of over 320,000 paramedics and firefighters in the U.S. and Canada. Member benefits include an online learning center, scholarships, meetings, and information on pensions and legislative efforts.

New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Association

As New Mexico's affiliate of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the NMPFFA protects the well-being of firefighters. It offers resources on fitness, scholarships, social events, and important links.

U.S. Fire Administration

USFA publishes data and reports to keep firefighters informed on fire issues in the United States. The agency also connects firefighters to funding sources, professional development opportunities, and public education resources.

New Mexico Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management

This government body aims to protect the people of New Mexico by responding to and preparing for a variety of emergency situations. Firefighters can learn about issues such as hazardous materials and wildfire preparedness.

New Mexico Fire Chiefs Association

Firefighters who work their way into advanced supervisory roles may benefit from joining this organization. It offers a training scholarship, fire service conference, and information on legislative issues.