More than 400 firefighters and over 800 emergency medical technicians and paramedics work in North Dakota. One of the least-populated states in the nation, North Dakota has 300 fire stations within its borders. Because climate can sometimes restrict the months of the year when fire training is available, many students choose online degree options or receive training at local fire departments or regional fire and emergency service agencies.
Like most other professionals, wages for fire service professionals in North Dakota can vary greatly, depending on educational attainment, length of service, continued training, and specific location. Below are examples of annual salaries for firefighters at the entry (10th percentile), median (50th percentile) and advanced (90th percentile) levels:
North Dakota Fire Service Careers
Limited fire science training options are available in North Dakota, primarily because of winter weather concerns. Firefighter I and Firefighter II training is typically conducted at individual fire departments or through joint training agreements between regional departments. Training and exams must be successfully completed in order for firefighters to earn state certification from the North Dakota Firefighters Association. Training is also available through the Fire Academy of North Dakota, highlighted in the Spotlight section below.
North Dakota has no fire science colleges with Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) recognition. Given the lack of degree programs, students who wish to pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree in fire science could enroll in the University of Cincinnati online, as this public institution serves residents of Ohio and other states, including North Dakota.
Often, EMT training is a requirement for entry-level firefighters, and the Department of Labor’s BLS website reports that firefighting candidates with paramedic certification should see the strongest employment outlook nationwide. For students interested in emergency services, Bismarck State College has limited-enrollment programs for paramedics and EMTs. Training for paramedic students offers two options, either a Program Certificate with 44 course credits or an associate degree with 60 credits. In addition, the North Dakota Department of Health’s Emergency Medical Service and Trauma Division offers classes, testing and certification for these credentials: Emergency Medical Responder, Advanced First Aid Ambulance, Emergency Medical Technician, Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic.
North Dakota students can explore training opportunities such as the following for fire science:
These training programs available to North Dakota residents are highlighted in the Spotlight section below. In addition, a variety of other out-of-state online colleges offer fire science-related studies.
The Fire Academy of North Dakota (FAND) features in-house education as well as training videos and outreach programs to fire departments. The academy incorporates some classroom time, but focuses primarily on hands-on training. In addition to Firefighter I and II, FAND offers classes in fire behavior, pump operations, fire command, multi-agency drills, heavy water movement, hose/nozzle applications, ventilation, heavy fire streams and more.
For current firefighters, the NDFA holds an annual, four-day State Fire School. Entry-level classes such as Basic Wildland Firefighting Training and Basic Ventilation are for new firefighters who need skills training. Intermediate-level classes such as Car Fire Attack and Thermal Imaging Cameras are designed for those who have some fire service experience. Advanced classes such as Fire Instructor I and L.A.C.K. (Leadership, Accountability, Culture and Knowledge) are for high-ranking officers and instructors. FAND is based in the city of Medina, but many classes can be customized for local fire departments or communities.
For further information, refer to FAND: http://www.ndfire.com
Through distance learning, UC serves other states like North Dakota, as well as its home state of Ohio. This public institution has more than 42,000 students enrolled.
Program Name: Fire Science Technology; Fire Safety & Engineering Technology
Program Description: The University of Cincinnati's (UC) Open Learning Fire Service Program is offered in conjunction with the National Fire Academy’s FESHE Program. University of Cincinnati proudly reports being the only university in the United States or Canada to offer both an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree in fire science through distance learning. These online degrees are available: Associate of Applied Science program in Fire Science Technology and Bachelor of Science in Fire & Safety Engineering Technology.
Through distance learning, in addition to its options for on-campus instruction, UC can serve students in Ohio and North Dakota. The program does provide one-week residencies each July, but attendance is voluntary. Students who wish to accelerate their time of completion can travel to Cincinnati to take this five-day, three-credit residency course, which is deemed equivalent to a 14-week distance learning course.
The fire service program at UC is designed to enhance students’ promotional opportunities within the fire department or in the fields of fire insurance, arson investigation, fire protection engineering and industrial safety. Students may receive advanced standing credit for state training, military training or EMT, paramedic, fire inspector and other certifications.
For more information, visit UC’s fire science page: http://ceas.uc.edu/aerospace/FireScience.html
Since there are no fire science colleges in North Dakota, firefighters who wish to earn a degree in the field can explore higher education online. After completing local fire department training and earning state certification, firefighters can pursue online fire science degrees to potentially enhance promotional opportunities or to prepare for life after fire service. In distance education, typical assignments contain essay questions based on assigned readings from textbooks, course guides and web research. For University of Cincinnati distance learning programs, fire science students generally take final exams or complete final projects administered by a local proctor. Online colleges with fire science studies may recommend a field internship, while certain programs may focus on the academic or administrative aspects of the field rather than firefighting skills.