Fire Science Degree Programs in North Dakota | Firefighter Training

Written by Staff Writer
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2020

If you have a passion for protecting and educating others, the courage to enter high-risk environments, and the physical ability to perform strenuous activities under difficult conditions, you might consider becoming a firefighter in North Dakota. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 5% growth in U.S. firefighting jobs between 2018 and 2018. As such, becoming a firefighter in North Dakota can lead to job security, benefits, and a decent salary.

The page below outlines firefighter prerequisites and education, including firefighter training, schools, and courses. This page also discusses firefighter salaries, job prospects, professional organizations, and other helpful information about how to become a firefighter in North Dakota.

Firefighter Requirements in North Dakota

Firefighter requirements in North Dakota vary by locale and specialty, but many fire departments require applicants to meet the physical fitness and training standards outlined on the NDFA website. Most North Dakota jurisdictions, such as Bismark and Minot, require entry-level firefighters to be healthy adults with a valid driver's license and a high school or GED diploma.

Some locations demand higher levels of education, however. For example, the Fargo Fire Department requires entry-level firefighters to hold one of the following: 90 or more semester credits of college coursework, 60 credits of college coursework plus firefighter II certification, or equivalent education and work experience. All Fargo firefighters attend eight weeks of training and obtain firefighter I certification before moving to the operations division.

North Dakota firefighters must meet medical requirements and pass physical fitness and written practical skills testing. Eligible applicants also may undergo screening such as background checks and drug tests, psychological and polygraph testing, and an oral interview.

Before or within their first few years of firefighting, entry-level firefighters typically obtain a commercial driver's license and emergency medical technician (EMT) certification. North Dakota firefighters should expect to complete regular testing and continuing education throughout their careers, and those seeking higher levels of certification must undergo additional training.

Becoming a Firefighter in North Dakota: Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the specific training for North Dakota?

    Entry-level North Dakota firefighters in Fargo complete an initial eight-week training in firefighting skills and knowledge, and they must pass written and physical tests. The North Dakota Firefighter's Association (NDFA) certification system dictates that those seeking entry-level, technical rescuer certification train and obtain certification in one of the following technical specialty areas: ropes, trench, confined space, and structural collapse.

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

    North Dakota jurisdictions such as Fargo, Minot, and Bismark require entry-level firefighters to complete EMT certification within an initial probationary period.

  • What is the test like for firefighters in North Dakota?

    North Dakota firefighters pass comprehensive in-house skills testing before pursuing state certification. The in-house test requires physical demonstration of swiftness, safety, and competence in performing practical skills. Additional written testing features 20-30 questions drawn from the NDFA's technical rescue standards.

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

    Firefighters must maintain physical fitness to perform rigorous firefighting tasks such as climbing, crawling, dragging, and using heavy tools like sledge hammers, hydrant wrenches, ladders, and fire hoses. Timed physical tests such as Minot's physical agility test evaluate whether candidates can perform these tasks swiftly, safely, and competently.

  • What if I only want to fight wildfires in North Dakota?

    Candidates interested in fighting North Dakota wildfires typically require special wildland fire training and certification. Aspiring firefighters can obtain training through organizations affiliated with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

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

    Entry-level firefighter candidates can complete initial training in as little as eight weeks; testing dates vary by jurisdiction. For example, testing in Minot occurs only once per year. Additional levels of certification require further training and testing which varies in duration.

Firefighter Courses and Programs in North Dakota

Firefighter training and education may entail academic fire science degree programs and/or local fire department training and certification. Because requirements vary by locale, students should research firefighter requirements in their desired location before choosing a fire services degree or certification program. Firefighter courses in North Dakota cover an exciting variety of topics, from leadership to fire investigation.

Due to their state's adverse training climate and sparse population, North Dakota firefighters interested in academic study of fire services typically turn to out-of-state or online degrees and programs. The online programs below hold reciprocity agreements that help prepare students for fire service positions in North Dakota. Unlike local fire department training and certification programs, academic programs typically prepare students for specialized fire service positions beyond entry-level firefighting.

University of Cincinnati Online

Program Name Associate of Applied Science in Fire Service Technology
Program Description Designed for current fire services professionals pursuing career advancement, UC's online associate degree program features seven-week courses in core topics such as fire tactics, law, and leadership. Students also choose from courses in fire response, prevention, and safety. UC Online offers voluntary, accelerated, five-day residency courses.

University of Cincinnati Online

Program Name Bachelor of Science in Fire and Safety Engineering Technology
Program Description This program boasts a wide array of courses for students seeking managerial and leadership roles in fire services. Courses offered include fire investigation and analysis, community risk reduction, and leadership in fire and EMS. UC students with relevant prior coursework and/or certifications from the state or the National Fire Academy may qualify for advanced standing.

Purdue University Global

Program Name Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science
Program Description Purdue Global offers a 90-quarter credit online associate degree program, which provides fundamental knowledge and skills in fire prevention, building codes and inspection, firefighting, and safety. Students also learn about firefighting technology, arson, and fire-related psychological phenomena. This program boasts recognition from Fire and Emergency Services and accreditation from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress.

Fire Science Colleges in North Dakota

Degree Level
School Type

Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in North Dakota

Due to its small population, North Dakota employed fewer than 600 firefighters in 2018; however, the BLS projects a national 5.4% increase in firefighting positions between 2018 and 2028. Firefighters pursuing careers in forest fire investigation and prevention may anticipate an even higher national employment increase (24%) during the same decade.

According to the BLS, the median annual firefighter salary in North Dakota stood at $42,980 in May 2018. These firefighters make less than many of their counterparts in other states, but North Dakota firefighters can increase their salaries by pursuing continuing education, gaining work experience, obtaining EMT and other certifications, and/or pursuing employment in better-paying sectors such as aerospace or government.

National Average Salaries for Firefighters

0-12 Months

Entry Level

1-4 Years

Early Career

5-9 Years


10-19 Years



Source: PayScale

Firefighter Resources in North Dakota

Aspiring and current North Dakota firefighters can benefit from fire science resource organizations, as described below. Their functions vary, but many of these organizations promote public safety by conducting and disseminating research, setting standards, educating the public, and training fire service professionals. Depending on the organization, firefighters may turn to professional organizations for everything from behavioral health treatment to political advocacy and career advancement.

North Dakota Firefighter Association

The state authority on firefighter standards, the NDFA establishes and posts these standards, offers training classes and online training resources, and posts upcoming events.

North Dakota Forest Service -- Fire Management

This program protects people, animals, property, and the environment from wildfire by funding rural fire departments. The NDFS also provides a fire reporting tool, employment opportunities, and grant opportunities for volunteer fire departments.

International Association of Women in Fire

This nonprofit network advocates for and educates women in fire services by offering job and career resources, conferences, relevant research, and news. Members benefit from mentorships, committee participation opportunities, newsletter access, and vendor and conference discounts.

National Fire Protection Association

In addition to establishing structural, electrical, and fire safety codes, the NFPA provides training, certification, research, and public education. Members also benefit from publications, industry-specific member sections, and answers to technical questions.

International Association of Fire Fighters

For over 100 years, IAFF has represented and provided resources for American and Canadian firefighters. In addition to providing online learning, news, and behavioral health treatment, IAFF runs legislative conferences, a political training academy, and a leadership summit.