How to Become a Firefighter in Arkansas – Career and Jobs

Firefighter Career in Arkansas

The firefighter career comes with hazardous situations and high risks. In order to overcome the day-to-day hurdles in work and keep things running smoothly, firefighters must possess excellent communication skills, quick decision-making skills, strong physical stamina, problem-solving and time management skills, flexibility, resilience, and integrity. The rate of illness and injuries is high in this occupation. Often, firefighters have to work for extended periods during emergency cases.

Though the career of a firefighter is emotionally exhausting, some aspects of this profession are rewarding. The occupation provides you an opportunity to serve people in need and bring an impactful difference in their lives, which ultimately gives you a sense of fulfillment. Firefighters are also provided with several monetary and non-monetary benefits such as dental and medical coverage, retirement programs, disability insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, credit union memberships, etc.

Arkansas Firefighter Certification Training

Aspirants who want to work as volunteer firefighters and entry-level firefighters in Arkansas must undergo training conducted by the state-approved firefighter training academies. Candidates are also required to meet the following requirements for enrolling in the training program:

  • Your age must not be less than 18 years
  • The candidate is supposed to possess a valid driver’s license of the state
  • You must have a diploma in high school or GED
  • A clear criminal record is mandatory
  • Some fire academies require you to pass the Candidate Physical Agility Test (CPAT)
  • The aspirant must be a citizen of the United States
  • Some fire departments prefer to enroll students having a Basic EMT certification.

The following types of training programs are available:

  1. Firefighter Certification
  2. Associate of Science Degree in Fire Science
  3. Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Science

The program comprises physical training and classroom studies, and may last from 6 weeks to 4 months. The curriculum of the training is very rigorous and requires sincere efforts to complete it successfully.

The practical training instills knowledge about:

  • Inspecting smoke detectors
  • Managing hazardous materials
  • Preventing and fighting fires
  • Treating people injured in fires
  • Using fire equipment such as fire extinguishers, hoses, ladders, etc.

In the classroom studies, students learn the following:

  • Creating awareness about fire safety among public
  • Disaster and arson preparedness
  • Local building codes
  • Rescue procedures, etc.

Students can appear for the Arkansas firefighter certification exam after completing Firefighter I or II training.

Top Firefighter Schools in Arkansas

1. Northwest Arkansas Community College

Northwest Arkansas Community College is delivering affordable and quality education since 1990. It offers more than 55 certificates and degree programs in nursing, art, music, communications, health, science, maths, etc. The experienced staff and passionate educators offer the best academic support to lead students to the path of success.

Address: One College Drive, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712

Course Offered: Associate of Applied Science – Fire Science Administration and Technology

Key Highlight: The AAS degree in fire science covers various topics, such as fire department administration, fire inspection and prevention, fire suppression, etc., in detail. It also instills the requisite skills needed to work as a firefighter.

2. Southern Arkansas University Tech – Arkansas Fire Training Academy

The Arkansas Fire Training Academy offers professional training and education in EMS (emergency medical services), hazardous materials, and firefighting, in compliance with the standards and practices established by national and state authorities. It was founded in 1967 as a training division of Southern Arkansas University Tech.

The Arkansas Fire Training Academy is accredited by the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications and the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress.

Address: P.O. Box 3499, Camden, Arkansas 71711

Course Offered: Fire Science Management & Emergency Response

Key Highlight: The fire academy Arkansas provides both on-campus and off-campus courses in arson investigation and also certifies the state fire service personnel who fulfill the certification requirements.

3. Black River Technical College

This 2-year public college was established in 1971 as Black River Vocational Technical School. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers various degree programs including Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, technical certificates, etc.

Address: P.O. Box 468, 1410 Highway 304 East, Pocahontas, Arkansas 72455

Course Offered: The college offers the following courses in fire science:

  • Technical Certificate – Fire Science
  • Certificate of Proficiency – Fire Science
  • Associate of Applied Science – Fire Science
  • Associate of Science – Fire Service Administration

Key Highlight: The fire science programs are divided into classroom and laboratory exercises, and prepare aspirants to enter the firefighting career. The coursework is designed to equip students with knowledge of rural and modern municipal fire protection and enable them to apply the gained knowledge efficiently in real work conditions.

Firefighter Salary in Arkansas

Wondering how much does Arkansas firefighter get paid? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), firefighters in Arkansas earned a mean annual salary of $37,010 and mean hourly wage of $17.80, as of May 2017.

The salary of these professionals on different percentiles is depicted in the below table:

Percentile10%25%50%75%90%
Wages$25,520$27,210$35,440$46,480$57,060
  • 10% of firemen took home an annual income of less than $25,520 while the remaining 90% made more than $25,520 per year.
  • The average annual salary of 25% of fire service professionals was less than $27,210 whereas the remaining 75% of professionals earned more than $27,210.
  • The average salary of 50% of fire service professionals was paid less than $35,440 per annum while the remaining 50% were paid more than $35,440 per year.
  • 75% of firefighters took home less than $46,480 per year while the remaining 25% earned more than $46,480 per annum.
  • 90% of fire service professionals were paid an annual income of less than $57,060 whereas the remaining 10% were paid more than $57,060 per year.

As of 28 February 2019, Arkansas firefighters get paid between $31,536 and $52,559 per annum. Their average income was $42,047 per year (according to salary.com).

The below table showcases the annual average salary of firefighters in some cities of Arkansas:

CityAnnual Average Salary
Little Rock$42,962
Fort Smith$40,016
Fayetteville$41,367
Jonesboro$43,405
Conway$42,546
Pine Bluff$41,371
Bentonville$41,034
Hot Springs$42,546
Benton$42,005
Russellville$42,546
Newport$43,405
Nashville$41,307
Ozark$40,032
Mountain View$42,546
Huntsville$41,007

According to indeed.com, the average annual salary of firefighters as of March 6, 2019, was $30,834. This salary is 28% below the national average.

Firefighter Jobs in Arkansas

The profession of a firefighter involves much more than just preventing fire and saving people. As of May 2017, according to the BLS, there were 2,340 firefighters in Arkansas, and employment per thousand was 1.95. The field of fire science provides you with various career opportunities, such as Building Inspector, Firefighter, Arson Investigator, Forestry Fire Prevention Specialist, Fire Captain, Fire Marshal, etc. Candidates with a fire science degree will have bright career opportunities.

References:

  • http://firelink.monster.com/content/become-a-firefighter-in-arkansas-fire-academy-directory
  • https://www.bentonvillear.com/228/Firefighter-Qualifications
  • https://www.fire-fighter-exam.com/arkansas-fire-fighter.php