Fire Science Degree Programs in Vermont | Firefighter Training
Written by Melissa Sartore Last Updated: Feb 11, 2020
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that firefighters in the United States will experience an estimated 5% increase in job growth from 2018 through 2028. With employment opportunities on the rise, aspiring firefighters in Vermont can pursue a variety of fulfilling public service careers.
Firefighters throughout the state must be 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent and a valid driver’s license. Specific firefighter requirements in Vermont vary by location. Local fire chiefs often determine requirements for firefighters based on their jurisdiction's needs. Firefighters in Vermont work in urban and rural settings, and they preferably have emergency medical training.
Professional and volunteer firefighters in Vermont often hold certifications and degrees from one of the state’s fire academies. Vermont houses two fire academies: one in Randolph Center and one in Pittsford. Both integrate classroom learning with practical exercises. Vermont firefighters complete continued training throughout their careers to maintain credentials, renewing them each year.
To become a firefighter in Vermont, individuals need to meet the requirements established by individual jurisdictions. In Norwich, firefighters need not have experience in the field, as they receive mentoring while on the job. The Norwich Fire Department also provides emergency medical technician training. Applicants must be in good physical shape but can be any age over 18.
Firefighter requirements in Burlington, Vermont, however include credentials in emergency medicine. The Burlington Fire Department and their counterparts in Barre City, Hartford, Willison, and Saint Johnsbury require applicants to meet the standards of the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) to apply.
Individuals seeking firefighting certification in Vermont can attend the fire science program at Vermont Technical College or the Vermont Fire Academy overseen by the Vermont Division of Fire Safety. Both entities offer two levels of firefighter certification. Individuals with training from another program that meets standards established by the National Fire Protection Association can take a certification challenge exam based on their training.
Becoming a Firefighter in Vermont: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the specific training for Vermont?
Firefighter requirements in Vermont vary by jurisdiction. Firefighters can earn credentials through one of the state’s fire academies or training programs. They can also gain on-the-job training as volunteer firefighters or with professional fire departments.
Is EMT/paramedic/other training or certification required?
Some fire departments require firefighters to hold emergency medical technician (EMT) credentials. Others offer medical training to their firefighters as part of their on-the-job training.
What is the test like for firefighters in Vermont?
Vermont firefighters who earn certification from one of the state’s fire academies or programs must complete written and practical skills exams. Additional physical ability tests, interviews, and departmental requirements vary by location.
What kind of shape should I be in to be a firefighter?
Several fire departments in Vermont require firefighters to pass the CPAT prior to hire. This includes eight activities that mimic duties and tasks regularly performed by firefighters. Additional physical exams assess overall stamina, strength, and agility.
What if I only want to fight wildfires in Vermont?
Vermont does not offer a separate certification program for wildland firefighting. Volunteer firefighters may fight wildland fires, and when necessary, the U.S. Forest Service may hire temporary, permanent, or apprenticeship wildland firefighters in the state.
How long does it take to become a firefighter in Vermont?
Becoming a firefighter in Vermont takes weeks, months, or years, depending on the program. To become a firefighter, individuals must be 18 years old with a driver’s license, a high school or GED diploma, and an appropriate criminal record. Beyond that, training programs and physical preparation times vary in length.
Firefighter Courses and Programs in Vermont
Prospective firefighters in Vermont can choose from limited options for training within the state, or they can receive training through reciprocity, out-of-state programs. In Vermont, future firefighters can attend the Vermont Fire Academy, affiliated with the Division of Fire Safety, or the firefighter program at Vermont Technical College.
Institutions offering two- and four-year degrees may offer opportunities for firefighters to study emergency management or a related field in conjunction with firefighter training and coursework. When considering departments and jurisdictions for firefighting jobs, applicants should check local regulations to find which program best meets their needs and the needs of potential employers.
The fire science program at VTC trains students in the technologies and techniques needed to become firefighters, fire protection officers, and emergency service workers. Students build the skills for fire service careers by participating in hands-on exercises and experiences while also gaining valuable critical thinking and communication skills.
The Vermont Fire Academy, part of the Vermont Department of Public Safety Division of Fire Safety, offers educational, training, and professional development programs to firefighters and emergency operation workers. Firefighters can earn two credentials by completing a curriculum that emphasizes hazardous materials management, physical skills, emergency medical training, and firefighting fundamentals.
The emergency management certificate at Saint Michael’s College trains students in the fundamentals of local, regional, state, and federal command systems; principles of emergency management; and government and community relations in times of crisis. Learners also participate in an independent study to explore emergency management in a context of their choosing. They construct a needs assessment plan and exercise as part of the program, as well.
Fire Science Colleges in Vermont
Firefighter Salaries and Job Growth in Vermont
Vermont, a small state, employs urban and rural firefighters alike, many of whom are supplemented by volunteer firefighters. In Vermont, professional firefighters earn an annual mean wage of just over $37,000. Many of Vermont’s firefighters work in well-populated areas like Burlington, though firefighters in southern, nonmetropolitan areas of the state earn more than $41,000 annually.
In Vermont, firefighters who complete training in other neighboring states may boost employment opportunities by receiving reciprocity recognition through the Vermont Fire Academy. Firefighting professionals with additional training in fire inspection and investigation also enjoy options for career advancement in Vermont. Fire inspectors and investigators earn nearly $59,000 annually, just under the national annual median wage.
Vermont offers several associations and agencies tasked with supporting and assisting firefighters and fire service professionals in the state. Firefighter organizations provide networking opportunities through online communication, face-to-face events, conferences, job listings, continuing education programs, and industry updates.
Vermont firefighters can access extensive resources and information provided by state, national, and international organizations, as well. The Vermont Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety, for example, provides links to training programs, course materials, and fire service programs. The Division of Fire Safety also provides content in conjunction with other state agencies, namely the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Division of Forestry, and the Air Pollution Control Division.