Fire Science Degree Programs in New York | Firefighter Training
Written by Kathleen Swed Last Updated: Feb 10, 2020
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for firefighters continues to rise across the nation, with a projected growth of 5% from 2018-2028. While that projection falls in line with averages for other occupations, aspiring firefighters in New York can expect an even more promising outlook. Projections Central expects a 9.1% growth in demand from 2016-2026, a number that nearly doubles the national projections.
This page provides detailed information on the various firefighter requirements in New York, including local variations. Prospective students can also take a closer look at occupational outlook and salary projections for firefighters in New York, find answers to frequently asked questions, explore academic programs in fire science, and consult resources for firefighters in New York.
In New York, fire departments with more than six full-time firefighters must hire personnel according to the state's minimum standards for firefighter hopefuls. Local jurisdictions can expand according to their needs. New York requires new firefighters to obtain certification by completing one of the prescribed courses, with options like basic firefighter training, initial fire attack, and hazardous materials first responder operations.
Firefighters in the state must renew their certification by completing 100 hours of continuing education every year.
In addition to state requirements, local jurisdictions maintain their own firefighter requirements in New York. Buffalo requires a high school diploma or equivalent, while New York City requires 15 college credit hours, military experience, or six months of work experience. Cortland requires a civil service exam, whereas Albany and New York City administer their own written tests. Age requirements also vary. In New York City, firefighter recruits must be between the ages of 21 and 29 (with some exceptions), while applicants in Buffalo must be 19, with no age cap.
Becoming a Firefighter in New York: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the specific training for New York?
For departments employing more than six full-time firefighters, all career firefighters must obtain certification through the following courses: firefighting essentials or basic firefighter training and initial fire attack or intermediate firefighting and hazardous materials first responder operations.
Is EMT/paramedic/other training or certification required?
Many departments do not require emergency medical technician (EMT) training for firefighters. In New York City, firefighters must obtain a certified first responder with a defibrillation certificate (CFR-D) before their probationary period ends.
What is the test like for firefighters in New York?
Written tests vary by location, though they tend to share similarities. In New York City, the test includes questions in reading, listening, problem-solving, and math.
What kind of shape should I be in to be a firefighter?
Firefighters must maintain good physical condition to adequately perform their jobs, and most hiring departments require candidates to pass a physical fitness or agility test to qualify.
What if I only want to fight wildfires in New York?
The New York Wildfire and Incident Management Academy (NYWIMA) trains firefighters in New York specifically for wildland fire and disaster response.
How long does it take to become a firefighter in New York?
Some fire departments offer positions as soon as a candidate obtains a high school or GED diploma, and they may recruit as soon as a candidate completes required training. Since New York City requires some college credit or experience, preparation may take longer for those wishing to work there.
Firefighter Courses and Programs in New York
Aspiring and in-service firefighters may seek to fulfill New York firefighter requirements by enrolling in an academic program leading to a certificate, associate, or bachelor's degree. Some departments, such as New York City's, even require firefighter recruits to hold some college credit. Earning a degree can provide a potential path toward New York firefighter certification.
Because every department expects different preparation from their firefighters, prospective students should carefully research local requirements and compare their career goals with program outcomes before enrolling. The list below offers a few examples of firefighter courses in New York.
Designed for completion within two years of full-time study, SUNY Broome's 60.5 to 62.5-credit associate degree requires courses such as fire prevention and protection, firefighting tactics and strategy, legal aspects of the fire service, fire service hydraulics, and general education requirements.
Designed to prepare students for careers as firefighters, forest firefighters, fire inspectors, and other emergency services responders, MCC's associate degree program requires 60-64 credits in fire behavior and combustion, fire prevention and inspection, fire investigation, fire service instruction, and fire service hydraulics.
Designed to prepare students to analyze and solve issues of fire safety, John Jay offers a 120-credit bachelor's program. Coursework for the major requirements includes introductory fire science, fire service hydraulics, fire safety administration, fire dynamics, hazard identification and mitigation, and water-based fire suppression systems.
Fire Science Colleges in New York
Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in New York
According to the BLS, New York employed 11,880 firefighters as of May 2018, landing the state in the top category in the nation for the most numerous firefighters. For the fourth most populous state in the country, however, that number gives New York a low location quotient in comparison to the national average, with 1.27 firefighting jobs for every 1,000 occupations.
New York's metropolitan region employed the second-highest number of urban firefighters in the same time period, though the numbers are larger because the area combines with New Jersey's Newark and Jersey City areas.
The BLS reports that pay rates in New York's metropolitan region also ranked among the highest in the country, with an annual mean wage of $78,840. Overall, New York firefighters earned an annual mean wage of $73,710 as of May 2018, making it the fourth-highest-paying state in the country for firefighters. Salaries can vary widely depending on the area, however, with Albany-Schenectady firefighters earning an annual mean wage of $57,410, and those in Utica-Rome bringing in $61,920.
Firefighters in New York can take advantage of a wealth of resources offered by state agencies and professional organizations. Because the state sets minimum firefighter requirements in New York, governmental training opportunities and resources abound, and both aspiring and veteran firefighters can benefit from the educational offerings.
Professional organizations and unions also provide important services for firefighters in New York. Given the dangers that accompany firefighting, legislative advocacy plays a crucial role in improving conditions and ensuring that elected officials understand the issues firefighters face in the field. Professional organizations also provide educational opportunities, camaraderie, and community engagement.