Fire Science Degree Programs in Utah | Firefighter Training
Written by Melissa Sartore Last Updated: Feb 11, 2020
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters can expect a 5% increase in job growth across the country from 2018 through 2028. In Utah, firefighters work in both urban and rural settings, receiving formal training in wildland fire management, hazardous materials awareness, and emergency medical services.
Firefighter requirements in Utah vary by location and vocation. All firefighters must hold a certificate from an accredited program, many of which are offered through community colleges and independent fire academies. Utah firefighters can also earn a four-year degree in a fire-related discipline in preparation for their firefighting career.
Firefighters in Utah provide valuable services to individuals and communities by acquiring professional certifications to procure jobs in the field. Prospective firefighters in Utah must acquire knowledge of fire safety, prevention, and protection theories and methods, while simultaneously participating in hands-on exercises.
Firefighter requirements in Utah vary by location, but all firefighters in the state must be at least 18 years old and hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent and a valid driver’s license. In cities such as Salt Lake City, individuals can apply to become firefighters with little to no training or experience in the field, though they must obtain firefighting and emergency medical credentials prior to hire.
Programs such as those affiliated with UFSCS, IFSAC, and the International Accreditation for Fire Service Organizations Pro Board, include curricula designed to prepare aspiring firefighters physically and intellectually for the job.
To become entry-level firefighters, students complete coursework in firefighting essentials and emergency medical services while also undergoing assessments of physical abilities and manipulative skills. They also study hazardous materials awareness and operations and can earn additional credentials in wildland firefighting, apparatus driver operations, and technical rescue.
Becoming a Firefighter in Utah: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the specific training for Utah?
Firefighters in Utah must be 18 years of age with a high school diploma or GED equivalent. They must complete a fire-related certification and emergency medical training program accredited by the IFSAC or the ProBoard.
Is EMT/paramedic/other training or certification required?
In Utah, firefighters need emergency medical technician credentials at the time of employment. Many colleges, universities, and independent fire academies incorporate emergency medical training into their firefighting curricula, preparing students for certification.
What is the test like for firefighters in Utah?
Certification exams for firefighting in Utah vary by field subset. Individuals can obtain certification as entry-level firefighters, wildland firefighters, or airport firefighters through an accredited program. Once aspiring firefighters hold these credentials, they undergo tests administered by the department or agency with which they seek employment. This may include an additional written exam, physical assessment, and interview.
What kind of shape should I be in to be a firefighter?
Firefighters in Utah must be in excellent shape to earn certification and perform their duties. Departments and firefighting agencies also administer physical ability tests that mimic tasks regularly carried out by firefighters, including stair climbs, crawls, and simulated victim rescue.
What if I only want to fight wildfires in Utah?
To become a wildland firefighter in Utah, individuals can complete a specific wildfire program administered or approved by the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy or through training provided by the U.S. Fire Administration.
How long does it take to become a firefighter in Utah?
The timeframe for becoming a firefighter in Utah varies by certification and program. Individuals can earn firefighting certification in as little as two months, while an associate or bachelor’s degree in the field may take two or four years, respectively.
Firefighter Courses and Programs in Utah
Firefighting courses and programs in Utah include certifications and degrees in fire science and fire service. Certifications issued by the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy build the fundamental knowledge and skills required to become a firefighter, as do other certification programs accredited by the IFSAC or the Pro Board.
Students seeking additional information and training in emergency management, public service management, and related fields can earn an associate or a bachelor’s degree from one of the state’s community colleges or four-year institutions. Utah Valley University offers five associate degrees in emergency services and fire management disciplines, plus three bachelor’s degrees in the field.
When assessing options for firefighting programs, individuals should check hiring requirements. Some fire departments and agencies may require associate or bachelor’s degrees for firefighting positions.
As one of many certifications offered by the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy, this basic firefighter program emphasizes manipulative skills, fireground evolutions, and first aid. Students study the swift, safe, and competence-based fundamentals of firefighting, while also completing physical tasks and exercises.
The wildland fire management associate degree at UVU includes 63 credit hours of general education and field-specific coursework. Students explore wildland firefighting operations while learning about wildland fire behavior, ignition operations, wildland urban interface, and basic air operations. The program includes three internships, during which students gain experience working alongside wildland fire professionals.
Accredited by the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy, the firefighter program at Davis Technical College develops individual and team-based knowledge and skills to prepare students for entering the fire service. Future firefighters complete the program in six months, acquiring 340 hours of work in areas such as fire science, hazardous materials awareness and operations, and firefighting team simulation.
Fire Science Colleges in Utah
Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in Utah
Given the state's landscape, Utah firefighters can work in urban or rural settings. Firefighters in Utah earn an annual mean wage of just under $38,000. In cities such as Salt Lake City, Utah, firefighters earn higher salaries, topping $45,000 annually. In nonmetropolitan areas, mean salaries fall below $3,000.
With additional certifications and experience, firefighters in Utah can move into positions as fire investigators and inspectors. Fire inspectors and investigators in Utah earn $58,000 annually, again bringing home higher wages in metropolitan locations than in rural settings.
Utah offers resources for firefighters through the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy, housed at Utah Valley University. Additional regional, national, and international organizations and agencies provide firefighters in Utah with information about job opportunities, continuing education programs, and advocacy initiatives.
Firefighters in Utah also gain access to news and updates in the profession through networking and mentorship outlets. Wildland firefighters and urban firefighters find such information through government resources -- including the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands -- gaining valuable insights into policies, programs, and transportation relating to fire safety and prevention.