Maine is one of those places in the US where one can still have a relatively simple lifestyle, from the low cost of living to small human settlements. But the bucolic nature of the state can be troublesome at times. The state of Maine has no shortage of rural areas, which makes it prone to forest fires, and cities like Portland and Augusta experience urban fires as well. That is the reason why there is a need for skilled fire professionals in Maine.
Given the enormous physical stress along with emotional and mental strain one experiences in this line of work, fire departments are keen on finding optimal people to hire. Physical danger aside, it takes a lot of courage to go running into a fire cloaked structure to save someone you don’t even know. It needs a drive, a will to contribute towards the community. Firefighters are made from the clay of heroes, and it requires tireless effort, dedication, and never-ending resilience to be one of them.
Firefighter Requirements in Maine
The first step in the process is to fill out the job application form for a particular fire department. But even before that, you need to make sure that you are eligible to become a firefighter. Given below is a list of minimum requirements to become a firefighter in Maine:
- Age – more than 18 years
- US citizenship
- Valid driver’s license
- High school diploma or GED
- No criminal history
- Good CPAT score (Various fire departments have different cut-offs for this score. So, search for the fire department that you are applying for and see if your CPAT scores meet their eligibility criteria or not)
- Some fire departments demand additional certifications like CPR, EMT, etc.
Firefighter Recruitment Process in Maine
This process remains pretty much the same throughout the state. If you meet the eligibility criteria, then upon the submission of your application form, you will be given a date for your written exam. The written exam consists of questions of moderate difficulty, ranging from fundamental mathematics, logical reasoning, communication skills, reading skills, writing skills, etc.
If you pass the written paper, then you will move on to the next phase – the physical test, which is designed to test just how fit you are. It evaluates your stamina, strength, and agility and sees if you are suitable for this job or not. Passing the physical test will lead you to the next step in your journey, a medical evaluation. To become a firefighter, you need to have a 20/20 vision.
Once you have cleared the medical evaluation, you will be required to sit in a face-to-face interview taken by a senior official. This phase aims to see if you have the right attitude to be a firefighter or not. If you can impress your way through the interview, then a thorough background check will be done on you, to see if you have any criminal history. After that, you will receive your appointment letter.
Firefighter Training in Maine
There is no rule out there, which makes it essential for a candidate to have a college degree in fire science/firefighting to apply for a job in the force. But, there are many colleges across the nation that provide various courses for this field to aspirants with dreams of becoming a fire professional one day. You can either opt for a two-year associate’s degree, or certificate programs if you cannot spend two years studying.
A fireman needs to be well rounded and as physically fit as one can be, at all times, along with being strong mentally. Physical education focuses on improving a student’s physical fitness and turning him into a proper machine. Apart from newcomers, firemen with good experience under their belt also go for these college degrees in order to advance in their careers.
This job promises a lot of long hours of studying, yes, but at the same time, it brings a bigger paycheck and job satisfaction with it as well.
Top Firefighter Schools in Maine
The state of Maine has only two schools that offer courses in this fire science field.
Located in the picturesque port town of South Portland, the Southern Maine Community College is a public institution. It offers both certificate and associate’s degree in fire science. For natives, the college charges $2,700 as tuition fee while the non-natives have to pay $5,400 to study here. The school is presently catering to the academic needs of 9,286 students and gives them a chance to choose between online and campus methods of studying.
The city of Bangor has many things to offer like the statue of Paul Bunyan, Stephen King House, the Acadia National Park, scenic beaches, and of course the Eastern Maine Community College. It is a public college which, at the moment, caters to 4,228 students. It offers associate’s course in fire science and allows candidates to study both on campus and online. A native student gets to go here by paying $2,700 while the pockets of the non-natives take a bigger dent by having to pay $5,400 to study here.
Firefighter Salary in Maine
A firefighter in Maine gets paid an average annual salary of $30,170 and an average hourly wage of $14.50. Fire inspectors and investigators in Maine make an average yearly wage of $51,190, and forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists get $52,070 per annum. A lot of factors play a role in deciding a fireman’s salary, including experience. Given below is the data of pay according to the levels of expertise:
Source: Career Explorer
Firefighter Jobs in Maine
There are 338 fire departments in the state of Maine, employing 2,300 firefighters. The job opportunities aren’t exactly pouring for firefighters here, and sluggish growth of 7.2% in the field between 2016-2026 makes the situation all the more challenging. But the job satisfaction in the sector of firefighting is skyrocketing and the low cost of life in Maine, more than makes up for the low pay scale.