Fire Science Degree Programs in Oregon | Firefighter Training

Written by Timothy Levin
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2020

Firefighters fill a critical role in their communities by responding to and preventing various types of emergencies. They serve as first responders to hazardous situations including housefires, wildfires, medical emergencies, and traffic accidents. If you are looking for a rewarding and exciting career, consider becoming a firefighter in Oregon.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, Oregon is at high risk for wildfires. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also projects a 5% increase in job opportunities for firefighters over the next several years.

This guide examines how to become a firefighter in Oregon. Below you can explore information on hiring requirements, training programs, and frequently asked questions about becoming a firefighter in Oregon.

Firefighter Requirements in Oregon

Firefighters need to meet varying expectations depending on the town, city, or county where they plan to serve. Some requirements are common to many fire departments in Oregon, but aspiring firefighters must carefully research the hiring process in their area before applying for open positions.

In Salem, Oregon's capital, firefighters must be 18 years old and hold a high school or GED diploma. As in most departments, Salem's firefighters need a valid driver's license. Since candidates must be certified paramedics at either the state or national level, they should hold an associate degree in paramedic technology. Applicants complete an online application, the candidate physical ability test, an assessment, and a chief's interview.

Firefighters in Portland must be 18 years old and hold a high school diploma or equivalent before receiving their conditional employment offer. They must meet the requirements for emergency medical technician (EMT) certification through the State of Oregon Health Authority.

In Clackamas, firefighters need National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) firefighter I certification and a current Oregon EMT or paramedic license. The department prefers applicants with additional NFPA certifications and a relevant degree.

Becoming a Firefighter in Oregon: Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the specific training for Oregon?

    There is no specific training program that all firefighters in Oregon must complete. Instead, firefighters typically need to complete whatever training program or academy their fire department requires.

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

    Since firefighters respond to medical emergencies, most departments in Oregon require some kind of emergency medical training. Some require EMT certification, while others mandate that firefighters become licensed paramedics.

  • What is the test like for firefighters in Oregon?

    Written and oral exams vary among fire departments in Oregon. In general, written exams test a candidate's general aptitude and cover skills like reasoning, reading comprehension, and basic math.

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

    You must be in excellent shape to be a firefighter. Firefighters need to perform strenuous tasks for long periods of time, and fire departments use rigorous physical evaluations to make sure their new recruits are up for the challenge.

  • What if I only want to fight wildfires in Oregon?

    The Oregon Department of Forestry oversees the state response to wildland fires. Wildland firefighters typically need considerable training on top of the requirements to become a traditional firefighter.

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

    Your qualifications and your fire department's hiring expectations affect how long it takes to become a firefighter in Oregon. Firefighter requirements in Oregon vary significantly with regard to schooling, training, and medical certification.

Firefighter Courses and Programs in Oregon

Individuals looking to become firefighters can take advantage of a variety of academic programs. Firefighter schools in Oregon prepare recruits for fire service through traditional classroom work, training exercises, and fitness programs.

In addition, some departments recommend or require that applicants complete some college education. Aspiring firefighters may qualify for EMT certification by completing a certificate program at a university or college, and paramedics need an associate degree. Regardless of hiring requirements, many firefighters can benefit from a degree in fire science or a related field. Before enrolling in any firefighter courses in Oregon, prospective students should research the educational requirements in their area.

Central Oregon Community College

Program Name Associate of Applied Science in Structural Fire Science
Program Description COCC's structural fire science degree holds accreditation from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. The program serves aspiring firefighters and current professionals looking to enhance their skills with regard to fire suppression in residential and commercial structures. Coursework covers topics including public education, rescue practices, fire codes and ordinances, and fire investigation.

Eastern Oregon University

Program Name Bachelor of Science in Fire Services Administration
Program Description This program, which is recognized by the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education, builds the management and supervisory skills students need to pursue administrative positions in fire protection agencies. The curriculum includes courses on community risk reduction, disaster planning, personnel management for emergency services, and fiscal management. Students may earn this degree online.

Oregon Institute of Technology

Program Name Associate of Applied Science Paramedic Program
Program Description Oregon Tech's paramedic education program holds accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education. The program builds students' field provider skills and management abilities. Learners take classes on anatomy, physiology, and emergency medical services. They also complete extensive clinical rotations and an externship.

Fire Science Colleges in Oregon

Degree Level
School Type

Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in Oregon

Job growth data can give you a good picture of the future demand for firefighters in a given area. Fortunately for aspiring firefighters in Oregon, Projections Central forecasts an 8% increase in firefighting jobs in the state from 2016-2026 -- considerably higher than the national growth rate for the occupation. Elevated demand for firefighters in Oregon means professionals may spend less time looking for a job there than they would in another state.

In addition, firefighter salaries in Oregon tend to be significantly higher than those in other states. Firefighters in Oregon earn a mean annual income of $66,330, higher than the national mean income for firefighters. Firefighters with ample experience or who work in particularly high-paying areas can earn more.

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 Oregon

Aspiring firefighters, new recruits, experienced emergency personnel, and fire chiefs can all benefit from various professional resources for firefighters. Unions operate at the international, state, and local levels to provide services to firefighters. These professional associations enable firefighters to network, socialize, organize, and receive better benefits.

Unions host meetings and post news updates, making them an excellent resource for firefighters to stay informed on industry issues and challenges. In addition, both unions and government agencies connect firefighters to training programs and continuing education opportunities, helping them to work effectively and develop their careers.

Oregon State Fire Fighters Council

Founded in 1936, the OSFFC encourages the formation of local unions and promotes fellowship among firefighters in Oregon. It hosts an annual seminar and a biannual convention. The council also lobbies on behalf of firefighters.

Oregon Fire Chiefs Association

The OFCA joins fire service personnel at all levels and works to support administrative workers like lieutenants, captains, and chiefs. The association offers training opportunities, conferences, networking events, and news updates.

International Association of Fire Fighters

This union represents the interests of over 320,000 paramedics and firefighters. It posts news updates, hosts a leadership training summit, and offers online professional development courses.

U.S. Fire Administration

USFA supports fire and emergency services across the country. The agency offers public education resources, professional development bulletins, research reports, and training opportunities through its National Fire Academy.

Portland Firefighters Association

New firefighters hired in Portland can benefit from joining the city's local firefighters union. It offers resources including podcasts, health and wellness information, classified ads, and bargaining updates.