How to Become a Firefighter in Alabama – Career and Jobs

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Firefighter Career in Alabama

If you want to become a firefighter in Alabama, you must be aware of the challenges and rewards of being in this profession. Firefighters handle medical as well as other emergencies, educate the public about fire safety and protection, rescue and treat the injured, respond to calls, etc. These professionals perform vigorous physical tasks, and in case of emergencies, they have to work around the clock. Quick decision-making skills, problem-solving skills, analytical skills, and excellent communication skills are some of the essential traits that one needs to become a firefighter.

How do you Become a Firefighter in Alabama?

Aspirants can enter in the firefighting field as a volunteer firefighter and then climb the ladder by pursuing higher education. A degree in fire science prepares the firefighters to take up the responsibilities at the state or federal level. They may work as a Fire Captain, Fire Investigator, Fire Marshal, or Fire Chief. The biggest reward of being in this profession is the feeling of fulfillment that you get by making a difference in the lives of people through your services.

Alabama Firefighter Eligibility and Certification

For enrolling in Alabama firefighter certification training program, students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Minimum 18 years of age
  • A high school diploma or equivalent education
  • A valid driver’s license of State of Alabama
  • Citizenship of the United States of America
  • Successful completion of the CPAT (Candidate Physical Agility Test)
  • EMS (Emergency Medical Service) certification at the EMT-Basic level or above of the State of Alabama

How Long Does it Take to Become a Firefighter in Alabama?

The duration of the training program varies from college to college; however, the program lasts from 4 to 6 months in general. The training covers various important topics, including fire behavior, fire control, fire prevention and public education, hazardous materials, fire department communications, building construction, fire hoses, etc.

As firefighters are also supposed to provide first aid help, the coursework provides insights into general pharmacology, vital signs, CPR training, basic training in diabetic emergencies, correct procedures of moving and lifting patients, etc.

Top Firefighter Schools in Alabama

Below is the list of top fire training academies in Alabama which offer various fire science degree and certificate programs.

1. Columbia Southern University

The online university leverages various instructional strategies to provide affordable and quality distance education in diverse learning environments. The support services of the university are student-centered that help them achieve their academic goals and maximize their personal and professional potential. It offers various undergraduate and graduate certificate programs.

Address: 21982 University Lane, Orange Beach, Alabama 36561

Course Offered: Online Associate Degree – A.S. Fire Science

Key Highlight: The fire science program of the university provides in-depth knowledge of fire protection and fire prevention. The program is recognized through FESHE (Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education) and strives to broaden the career paths for students.

2. Alabama Fire College and Personnel Standards Commission

The Alabama Fire College has been delivering firefighting training for over 62 years with an aim to facilitate excellence in certification, training, support services, and education for the emergency response community. The college ensures that potential firefighters get comprehensive educational experience in compliance with national standards.

Address: 2501 Phoenix Drive, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35405

Course Offered: Certification Programs – Firefighter I/II

Key Highlight: The Firefighter I/II certification course combines field practice and classroom study under the supervision of an experienced firefighter or an officer. The course prepares aspirants to work under hazardous conditions.

3. State of Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office

The Alabama SFMO (State Fire Marshal’s Office) was established in 1909. It permits and regulates various industries like blasting, fire alarm, fire sprinkler, fireworks, etc. It also investigates explosions, fires, and any related crimes, in addition to providing assistance to fire departments and law enforcement agencies in the prevention of explosions and arson. The office also conducts training in building codes, detection of arson, fire investigation, etc.

Address: 201 Monroe Street, Suite 1790, Montgomery, Alabama 36104

Course Offered: Pyrotechnic Display Operator Training & Testing

Key Highlight: This program complies with the new pyrotechnics law in Alabama which mandates aspirants to complete 8 hours of training to shoot 1.3G display fireworks.

4. Chattahoochee Valley Community College

The college was founded in 1973 by an act of the Alabama State Legislature. The fire science programs of the college equip students with the required skills necessary to obtain a job in this field. The curriculum emphasizes on fire service administration, legalities of fire service, hazardous materials response, etc.

Address: 2602 College Drive, Phenix City, Alabama 36869

Course Offered: Certificate program in Fire Science, Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Fire Science

Key Highlight: Credits earned in the certificate program can be carried forward to the AAS degree program. The AAS program covers first aid, CPR, building construction, fire suppression, etc.

Firefighter Salary in Alabama

The annual mean wages of firefighters in Alabama in May 2017 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) were $40,850 whereas the mean hourly wages were $19.64.

Percentile10%25%50%75%90%
Wages$25,030$31,310$40,700$49,560$58,620

From the above table, it can be concluded that:

  • 10% of firefighters in the state of Alabama made less than $25,030 per year while the remaining 90% managed to take home more than $25,030 per annum.
  • 25% of fire service professionals earned an average annual salary of less than $31,310 whereas the remaining 75% earned more than $31,310.
  • The average salary of 50% of firemen was less than $40,700 per annum while the average annual income of the remaining 50% of fire service professionals was more than $40,700.
  • 75% of firefighters earned less than $49,560 per year while the remaining 25% of got more than $49,560 per year.
  • 90% of firefighters were paid less than $58,620 per year whereas the remaining 10% of firefighters received more than $58,620 per year.

As per the statistics provided by indeed.com, firefighters made an average salary of $39,000 as of March 4, 2019. This salary is 10% below the national average.

On the other hand, according to salary.com, as of 28 February 2019, Alabama firefighters get paid between $31,707 and $52,845 per annum; however, their annual average salary was $42,275.

Name of the CityAnnual Average Salary
Birmingham$43,488
Mobile$42,789
Huntsville$43,728
Montgomery$41,361
Auburn$41,439
Dothan$40,811
Orange Beach$41,858
Decatur$42,392
Florence$39,862
Phenix City$41,762
Mountain Brook$
Scottsboro$43,358

Source: Salary.com (as of February 28, 2019)

Firefighter Jobs in Alabama

According to the BLS, the total employment for firefighters in Alabama, as of May 2017, was 4,700. The employment per thousand jobs was reported to be 2.45. From 2012 to 2022, 7% growth in the job openings for firefighters is projected at the national level. The demand for these professionals is likely to increase in the state of Alabama and aspirants with higher educational qualification and experience as a volunteer firefighter will remain at the forefront of the competition.

References:

  • https://study.com/alabama_fire_college.html
  • https://learn.org/articles/Fire_College_Which_Colleges_Offer_Fire_Safety_Degrees_in_Alabama.html

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