How to Become a Firefighter in Colorado – Career and Jobs

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Firefighting is a dangerous profession; one mistake and everything can change. From remarkable mental abilities and emotional fortitude to excellent physical attributes, a fire professional needs to be in excellent condition. This is a profession for those who know how to remain calm in the toughest of times, no matter what comes their way. Therefore, the fire departments throughout the country pick their firefighters very carefully. All fire departments hire a person, only after testing him/her on all the essential grounds.

To become a firefighter in Colorado, you might have to put in a little extra effort, given the fierce competition and low recruitment rate. Know what it takes to be a firefighter in the state.

Firefighter Requirements Colorado

To become a firefighter in Colorado, you need to meet the requirements mentioned below:

  • High School graduation or an equivalent GED certificate
  • Minimum 18 years old
  • High CPAT (Candidate Physical Abilities Test) scores
  • Colorado’s driver’s license
  • No convictions
  • S. citizenship at the time of appointment
  • EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) certifications
  • Using NTN (National Testing Network), you must have a valid FireTeam score. See below table for minimum scores required in various domains:
DomainMinimum Score
Human RelationsNo minimum score
Mechanical AptitudeNo minimum score
Reading70% – marked as pass/fail
Math70% – marked as pass/fail
Total ScoreWeighted score of Human Relations (70%) and Mechanical (30%)

Firefighter Degree and Training in Colorado

Though picturesque and in possession of astonishingly gorgeous mountainous scenery, Colorado is prone to many natural disasters. From flash floods to thunderstorms, urban fires to raging forest fires, there is no shortage of dangers in the alpine landscape of Colorado. That is why, it becomes all the more necessary for firefighters to be at the top of their game, all the time.

Becoming a firefighter in Colorado means you will have to study and hone your skills. To help you with that, six community colleges in Colorado offer Associates’ and Certificate degrees in Fire Science/Fighting. Since the aim of this degree is to get you in shape so that you can score a job as soon as you leave college, they are pretty streamlined and straight forward. Right away, they teach you the basics of fire chemistry and biology, along with various fire safety laws, fire codes of the area, fire prevention measures and basic emergency medical skills.

Apart from the classroom environment, you are required to spend a substantial amount of time out on the field, learning how to use various fireman’s tools, taking part in mock-fires, and enhancing your physical capabilities. Once you are through college and you have your degree, you can start applying for a job. However, it is to be noted that there is no rule anywhere which says you need to have an Associates’ degree to become a firefighter in Colorado. As long as you meet the above-mentioned minimum requirements, you are good to go.

When you apply for a job as a firefighter in Colorado, you will be required to clear that fire department’s recruitment test. The first hurdle in front of you will be the written exam, which can be passed by practicing basic mathematical, reasoning, reading, and communication skills. Upon clearing the written paper, your physical attributes will be tested, to see if you can handle the pressure or not. After that, the next obstacle in your way will be a face-to-face interview with an experienced fireman.

If you are able to dazzle your way through the interview, then after a background screening, you will be given the appointment letter. People who have been working as firefighters for a while and want to advance in their careers can go for their Masters and Ph.D. degrees in this profession as well. Institutions such as Colorado State University and Red Rocks college offer a selection of both online and Campus degrees which will help you improve your skill set. A fireman can also get an investigative job as a fire investigator or inspector or a research job.

Top Firefighter Schools in Colorado

S. No.Name & LocationProgram TypeCoursesPopulationTuition Fee
1Red Rocks Community College – LakewoodOnline & CampusCertificate, Fire Science/ Firefighting

Associates’ Fire Science/Firefighting

14,889$3,034 for locals, and $12,333 for others
2Pikes Peak Community College – Colorado SpringsOnline & CampusCertificate, Fire Science/ Firefighting

Associates’ Fire Science/Firefighting

20,955$2,998 for locals, and $12,295 for others
3Aims Community College – GreeleyOnline & CampusCertificate, Fire Science/ Firefighting

Associates’ Fire Science/Firefighting

7,253$42,538 for locals, and $10,206 for others
4Colorado Mountain College – Glenwood SpringsOnline & CampusCertificate, Fire Science/ Firefighting

Associates’ Fire Science/Firefighting

8,742$2,424 for locals, and $7,608 for others
5Northern Junior College – SterlingOnline & CampusCertificate, Fire Science/ Firefighting

Associates’ Fire Science/Firefighting

2,759$2,998 for locals, and $4,496 for others
6Pueblo Community College – PuebloOnline & CampusCertificate, Fire Science/ Firefighting

Associates’ Fire Science/Firefighting

10,331$3,096 for locals, and $12,473 for others

Firefighter Salaries in Colorado

In the state of Colorado, firefighters are paid an average annual salary of $51,660 and average hourly wages of $24.84. A lot of factors play determinant roles in deciding a firefighter’s average income, including experience. Given below is a snapshot of firemen’s salaries, based on their increasing level of expertise.

LevelHourly WageAnnual Salary
Beginners$11.46$23,840
Juniors$17.33$36,050
Experienced$25.19$52,390
Seniors$32.50$67,590

Source: Career Explorer

Firefighter Jobs in Colorado

Colorado has around 4,530 firefighters, 150 fire inspectors and investigators, and about 3,270 paramedics. Also, the colleges around the state pump out some 311 fire science graduates per year. Make sure to stay in good shape, both mentally and physically, and try to obtain a mindset of a firefighter; work towards becoming a person who is not afraid to charge into dangers to save other people’s life. Be selfless, be brave and most important of all, be alert.

References:

  • https://www.careerexplorer.com/careers/firefighter/salary/colorado/
  • https://coloradosprings.gov/fire-department/page/entry-level-firefighter-minimum-qualifications
  • https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes332011.htm

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