How to Become a Firefighter in Michigan – Jobs & Career

According to the statistics put forward by the U.S. Fire Administration, in 1,000 fires to take place in the state of Michigan in 2016, 4 people died, and 13 were injured. If looked at separately, these numbers are not that terrifying. But when you compare them to the national average, which is 2 deaths and 9 injuries in 1,000 fires, you will realize how dire the situation is.

Michigan, being one of the coldest regions of the country, has fire hazards of a wholly different nature. Firefighters have to often deal with these hazards in the blistering cold while dealing with inches thick snow. All of this adds a lot of uncertainty to the process, and also the need to have firefighters who know how to make real-time decisions and act with their wits, not emotions.

Naturally, the bar is set high if you want to be a firefighter in Michigan. There is no scope for mediocrity; you have to be at your absolute best. Here, we have mentioned how you can become an efficient firefighter in Michigan.

Firefighter Requirements in Michigan

Naturally, there are some pre-requisites that you need to have before you can enroll in the academy. Understand that firefighting is not like any other job, so the selection process is slightly longer and a little tricky. But before you worry about employment, let us discuss the things that you need to have to apply for a fire science training academy.

  • You must be eighteen years old
  • You should have no criminal record as fire departments take social behavior quite seriously. Firefighting is a profession where professionals are looked up to by the public. Therefore, fire departments emphasize on finding candidates with zero criminal inclinations.
  • An applicant must hold a high school diploma or an equivalent GED
  • It will happen very often that you are called to give speeches or conduct fire safety training sessions in schools and colleges, which requires excellent communication skills. On top of that, when you are in the field, and your partners and people who need rescuing are depending on you, communication skills is an asset at that time. A poorly conveyed message can very well lead to a catastrophe or demographic.
  • You will also need a valid driver’s license
  • Correct eyesight is also must for an aspiring firefighter

Apart from all of the things mentioned above, there are some personality traits that every firefighter must have. Being a firefighter is a state of mind, the material you are made up of and how you were raised, all of it will play a part in your journey.

1. Courage – The first requirement for this job is having courage, and you can probably understand why it is so. A timid person can never face situations firefighters have to handle. Here, being afraid of heights, water, tight spaces, will not do. A firefighter is the real-life equivalent of a one-man-army, so he cannot be scared of things.

2. Physical Fitness – Every firefighter needs to be in incredible physical shape. They need to be fast, strong and flexible. You need to shape up quick because there is no way you’re getting into the academy without being in the best possible physical condition. Start eating healthy and follow a strict exercise regime.

3. Flexibility – This is not the physical flexibility that we are talking about in this point, being flexible here means that you need to be willing to work under all circumstances – late nights, early mornings, and in the most bizarre of conditions. Especially in Michigan, you will face some less than optimal conditions, and in those times, you need to shine.

4. Dedication and Drive – Dedication and the drive to help people is something which is instilled into a person as he grows up. How he/she was brought up and the conditions the individual was subjected to, make a huge difference in building character. A firefighter is a person who bravely charges into fire-enveloped buildings to save people, putting his life at risk. Such acts of bravery take a lot of commitment along with a strong will to perform well in society, so opt for this noble profession if you feel the same way.

5. Team Spirit – A fireman needs to work in a team as he will require help from his comrades. A rescue squad is like a giant machine in which every member functions as a cog, turning in perfect sync with everyone else to achieve a goal. You need to learn how to be one of the wheels here, because one renegade gear, can bring the entire assemblage down.

Firefighting Training in Michigan

If you meet the requirements mentioned above, then you can fill the application form. The first hurdle in your path is a written test. It will be a time-bound exam which will test you in various fields. Even though there is no generalize course for the examination, and it varies from city to city, the prime areas of the course are logical reasoning, reading comprehension, basic mathematics, and vocabulary skills.

While the test is often of moderate difficulty level, it is still a good idea to prepare for it rigorously because it’s mandatory to clear the written exam to advance in the recruitment process. Those who pass the written exam will move onto the second phase, which is a physical exam. As we have mentioned earlier as well, a firefighter needs to be fit. The applicant will need to prove the ability to handle high-pressure situations.

If you clear the second phase, then you will be invited into a firefighting academy, and your professional journey will commence. The firefighting training is designed with equal importance given to both classroom and physical training. So, you need to put in a substantial amount of effort in both to pass with good grades. At the academy, you will be taught about fire safety codes, rescue methods, beginners level biology and chemistry, how to operate various machines and firefighting tools, etc.

At the end of the training, you will be allowed to take your final exams, and if you are able to get through that, then you receive the following certifications:

  • Haz-mat Operations
  • Haz-mat Awareness
  • Licensed State of Michigan Medical First Responder
  • MFFTC/OFFT Firefighter 1 and 2

Top Firefighter Schools in Michigan

Many schools provide firefighter programs in Michigan to people who want to go into this line of work. But there are a lot of posts to fill in a fire department other than firefighters. People are required in the administration and managerial wing, those who work behind the curtains to keep everything running. Then some people work on trying to find out causes behind fires, people like fire inspectors and detectives. So, it’s needless to say that there are a lot of jobs to go around, and while being a firefighter doesn’t require you to get a professional degree, some of these other jobs do. Below is the list of top Fire Science schools in Michigan:

S. No.School NameLocationSchool TypeProgram Type Program
1Baker College of CadillacCadillac, MIPrivate (non-profit)Online, CampusAssociates, Fire Science/Firefighting
2Baker College of JacksonJackson, MIPrivate (non-profit)Online, Campus1.Associates, Fire Science/Firefighting

2.Bachelors, Fire Science/Firefighting

3Delta CollegeUniversity Center, MIPublicOnline, CampusAssociates, Fire Science/Firefighting
4Kalamazoo Valley Community CollegeKalamazoo, MIPublicOnline, Campus1. Associates, Fire Science/Firefighting

2. Certificate in Fire Science/Firefighting

5Kellogg Community CollegeBattle Creek, MIPublicOnline, Campus1. Associates, Fire Science/Firefighting

2. Certificate in Fire Science/Firefighting

6Lake Superior Community CollegeSault Ste. Marie, MIPublicOnline, Campus1. Associates, Fire Science/Firefighting

2. Bachelors, Fire Science/Firefighting

7Macomb Community CollegeWarren, MIPublicOnline, Campus1. Associates, Fire Science/Firefighting

2. Certificate in Fire Science/Firefighting

8Madonna UniversityLivonia, MIPrivate (non-profit)Online, Campus1. Associates, Fire Science/Firefighting

2. Certificate in Fire Science/Firefighting

3. Bachelors, Fire Science/Firefighting

9Mid Michigan Community CollegeHarrison, MIPublicOnline, CampusAssociates, Fire Science/Firefighting
10Oakland Community CollegeBloomfield Hills, MIPublicOnline, Campus1. Associates, Fire Science/Firefighting

2. Certificate in Fire Science/Firefighting

Source: Firescience

Firefighter Salaries and Jobs in Michigan

The average annual salary for Firefighters in Michigan is $44,590, and the average hourly wage is $21.44. But these numbers can fluctuate based on various factors, including experience. Given below is a snapshot of the pay scale based on a firefighter’s experience level:

S. No.LevelHourly WageYearly Wage
1Beginners$23,180$11.14
2Junior$30,310$14.57
3Experienced$43,660$20.99
4Senior$57,070$27.44

Source: Careerexplorer

Apart from the handsome paycheck, there are many other perks involved in this field of work as well. Some of them are as follows:

  • Paid sick leaves
  • Good pension plan
  • College education fund
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Flexible work schedule

The BLS reports that there are 6,980 firefighters in Michigan, as of 2017. Also, there is not an abundance of jobs in this field, since there is only 3% growth annually, throughout the country. But that doesn’t mean there are no new vacancies. Despite there is fierce competition in the job market, deserving candidates have bright chances of getting a job.

References:

  • https://www.fire-science-schools.com/become-a-firefighter-in-michigan.html
  • http://www.howtobecomeafirefighterinus.com/how-to-become-a-firefighter-in-michigan/
  • https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/#tab-2
  • https://www.firescience.org/fire-science-degrees-and-programs/michigan/
  • https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes332011.htm
  • https://www.careerexplorer.com/careers/firefighter/salary/michigan/