Fire Fighter Academy Programs, Courses and Requirements

Firefighting training programs teach individuals how to use specialized equipment, making it easier to put out fires and save as many lives as possible. Learn about the common coursework and hands-on training involved in these training programs, as well as salary expectations, job outlook, and continuing education information.

Essential Information

Fire fighter academy programs train individuals to deal with life-threatening scenarios on the fly. In order to enroll in a fire fighter program, students must meet basic physical requirements, possess a high school diploma, take coursework in fire technology, and occasionally may be required to possess EMT or paramedic certification.

Hands-on training is a focal point in these programs, where students learn how to operate different types of equipment. Some of these include hydrants, fire hoses, ladders and ropes. Some programs offer emergency medical technician certification. Programs typically take 450 contact hours to complete.


Firefighting Training Program

The majority of fire fighter academy training takes place in controlled environments, where cadets gain experience making forced entries into doors or windows, navigating smoke filled-buildings and manipulating ladders and hoses. Coursework includes techniques and materials training dealing with the following topics:

  • Fire department organization
  • Hazardous materials response
  • Fire prevention
  • Fire safety
  • Fire control
  • Equipment use

Popular Career Options

Students who complete these programs go on to become firefighters. Certification is typically required for employment, though some states require new firefighters to complete either six months of full-time employment or one year of volunteer service before becoming fully certified. Most fire academy students earn additional certifications during the course of their training, such as forest fire fighting or vehicle extraction certificates.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

In May 2015, firefighters earned a mean annual wage of $49,330, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). During the years 2014-2024, a 5% job growth for firefighters was expected by the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Firefighters looking to advance in the field as captains or lieutenants can apply their academy training towards a degree in fire science or fire technology. These associate and bachelor's degree programs cover advanced topics, such as natural disaster response, arson investigation or fire inspection.

After completing traditional classroom courses and hands-on training using specialized equipment, prospective fire fighters will successfully complete their training program and enter a career field expected to grow 5% over the coming decade. If students desire to advance their career even further, they may elect to pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in fire science or fire technology.

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