Firefighting is one of the most spiritually rewarding professions, and on the flipside, it is also one of the most physically demanding and emotionally challenging jobs. A firefighter is a man of action, and his emotional stability and the ability to make quick decisions is unparalleled. Given the extremely demanding nature of this job, it is natural that people to fill these shoes are selected very carefully. They need to have a good character, be brave, and always on their toes. If you believe that you have the qualities to become a firefighter, then you must be wondering – how to become a firefighter in Georgia? Keep reading to get the answers to your question.
Firefighter Requirements in Georgia
To become a firefighter in the state of Georgia, you must meet the following criteria. All applicants must:
- be at least 18 years old,
- have a high school diploma or its GED equivalent, and
- have a valid driver’s license
- Applicants with Firefighter II (FFII) certification must have at least two years of experience as a full-time firefighter
- Applicants with FFI certification must have at least six months of minimum experience
- No applicant should have any criminal charges against him
- FFII certified applicants must be State or NPQ II Certified Firefighters
- FFI certified applicants must be State or NPQ I Certified Firefighters
- Any applicant should have any convictions against him
Additionally, an applicant must have a 20/20 eyesight and excellent hearing capabilities, somewhere between 200-800 Hz.
Firefighter Training and Degree Programs in Georgia
Firefighting requires terrific physical and mental strength. It is natural that only optimal individuals are allowed to serve as a Firefighter. To mold a person into an unstoppable force of chivalry, valor, and strength, he needs to be trained well.
As mandated by Georgia state laws, a person must receive basic training before he can be appointed as a firefighter. Throughout the state of Georgia, many institutes offer various firefighting/fire science courses. Aspiring fire personnel can go for an Associate’s degrees which will educate them in fire science and safety tactics. It usually takes six semesters to get through an Associates level Fire technology program. Other than that, an applicant can also go for a certification course as well which takes about 2 semesters to finish and earns a person FF1 and NPQ-I certification which allows him to get an appointment anywhere in the country.
If a firefighter with FFI and NPQ I certification wants to advance his skills and knowledge, then he can go for Firefighting Technical certificate II. It builds up on your skills and teaches you more advanced fire prevention and safety tactics. It is also a two semesters long certification, and if you get through it, you will receive FFII Technical Certificate of Credit and NPQII certification as well.
Firefighter training courses are designed with equal emphasis on both classroom lecture and practical exercises in the field. Students are required to give equal importance to both tiers of the training. The classroom environment educates a person on fundamental fire laws, ways to bring a fire under control, fire science, basic principles of chemistry, physics and biology, etc. The practical sessions train students on how to handle tools like ladders, fire hoses, axes, etc. On top of that, students are also put through fire exercises to train them for a real-life catastrophe.
For those who want to move up the job hierarchy and get into administration or research lanes, they have many options as well. Also, the ones who want to get an administration job, many colleges across the state of Georgia offer Fire Service Administration Associate level degrees. People who feel like research and science in the fire department is their true calling in life, they can opt for an Associates degree in Fire Science. Once you get through that, you can keep pursuing your education with a job and opt for a Ph.D or a Master’s degree in Fire Science.
Georgia State Fire Training Academy
Established in 1975, Georgian State Fire Training Academy is one of the best trainers of firefighters in the state. Working out of the main campus of Forsyth, Georgia State Fire Training Academy is a subsidiary of Georgia Public Safety Training Centre (GPSTC) and provides top-notch and carefully devised training courses for both aspiring and seasoned firefighters.
Among many courses it provides, none is as demanding and rewarding as the Basic Firefighter training program. This GPSTC certified course lasts for eight weeks and trains beginners in basic fire safety tactics, educates them in fire science at a basic level and how to handle hazardous material. Weekly tests are conducted, and together they form a student’s final grade. At the end of the course, a student will receive the basic certification and will be allowed to serve as a fireman in the state of Georgia. Also, he will have an option to sit in the NPQ I certification test which will enable the individual to serve anywhere in the country.
Some of the other courses provided by the Georgia Stae Fire Academy are as follows:
|Acting Officer in Charge||32||GPSTC Courses|
|Acting Officer in Charge for the Fire Service (online)||32||Blended Learning|
|Arson Investigation Level 1||80||GPSTC Courses|
|Arson Investigation Level 2||80||GPSTC Courses|
|Basic Community Risk Reduction Educator||8||GPSTC Courses|
|Basic Firefighter Training Course||345||GPSTC Courses|
|Basic Principles and Practices of Fire Inspections||32||GPSTC Courses|
|Basic Volunteer Firefighter with Live Fire||95||GPSTC Courses|
|Best Practices in Community Risk Reduction||16||GPSTC Courses|
|Building Organizational Support for Community Risk Reduction||16||GPSTC Courses|
|Campus Fire and Life Safety 1: Risk Assessment||16||GPSTC Courses|
|Campus Fire and Life Safety 2: Public Education||16||GPSTC Courses|
|Campus Fire and Life Safety 3: Codes and Systems||16||GPSTC Courses|
Volunteer Firefighter in Georgia
The candidates who want to serve as volunteer firefighters in Georgia, they can do so by applying to any certified fire department. But, to serve as a volunteer firefighter, you need to be registered with GFSTC. For that, you can attend training courses offered by many institutes across the state. These courses help a person in honing some required skills and meet the demands for a GFSTC certification. For example, the Basic Firefighter training with live fire course at the Georgia State Fire Academy.
Also, there are support volunteers who never enter an actual fire but work behind the curtains. Those who aspire to volunteer that way are needed to pursue the Georgia support Firefighter course and Volunteer Registration Package to get registered with the GFSTC.
Top Firefighter Schools in Georgia
Some of the state’s best fire science/firefighter schools for an Associate Degree have been listed below:
|State||School Name||Program Name|
|Georgia||Albany Technical College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Georgia||Albany Technical College||Fire Services Administration|
|Georgia||Atlanta Technical College||Fire Services Administration|
|Georgia||Augusta Technical College||Fire Services Administration|
|Georgia||Chattahoochee Technical College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Georgia||Chattahoochee Technical College||Fire Services Administration|
|Georgia||Georgia Northwestern Technical College||Fire Services Administration|
|Georgia||Georgia Perimeter College||Fire Prevention and Safety Technology / Technician|
|Georgia||Georgia Piedmont Technical College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Georgia||Georgia Piedmont Technical College||Fire Services Administration|
Source: Fire Science Online
How Much do Firefighters Make in Georgia?
According to the BLS (as of May 2017), firefighters in Georgia are paid the mean salary of $36,830. The typical pay scale for firefighters fluctuates from $21,000 to $50,000. On an hourly basis, firefighters earn the mean hourly wage $17.71. This amount can vary from $10.31 to $24.16, influenced by a person’s status in the department, education, and seniority.
Firefighter Jobs and Career in Georgia
Currently, Georgia state employees 12,230 firefighters with a relative standard error of 1.6%. This brings employment per thousand of jobs to 2.834 for the profession. Additionally, there are 400 fire inspectors and investigators along with 380 Forest Fire Inspectors and Prevention Specialists in Georgia with mean annual wages of $58,090 and $35,150, respectively.