How to Become a Firefighter in Wisconsin

In 2017, Wisconsin had 3.2 deaths and 12.6 injuries per 1,000 fires. This is a ratio much higher than the national average of 2.3 deaths and 9.3 injuries per 1,000 fires. 85% of these fires were in residential and nonresidential buildings and 15% were in vehicles. In 2019, 42 home fire fatalities have been reported in Wisconsin.
With numbers such as these, it comes as no surprise that lots of people want to join the fire fighting force in Wisconsin. If you happen to be among these people, the following information would be of use to you.

Requirements to Become a Firefighter in Wisconsin

To become a firefighter in Wisconsin, you have to fulfill some basic requirements. Even though the exact requirements vary according to jurisdiction, the following general requirements are usually applicable. Candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have a high school diploma or a GED/HSED
  • Have a State of Wisconsin Firefighter I or equivalent
  • Be nationally registered EMT-Basic

Some jurisdictions might also require an Associate’s Degree in Fire Protection or Fire Science, along with certifications or licenses. In addition to that, several cities in the state require candidates to be citizens of the US as well and have a Hazmat Operations level certification. To make sure you have fulfilled all the relevant requirements, you are advised to check with the local city fire department you intend to apply. Some cities also have a residency requirement – for instance, Ashland firefighters are required to live within 15 miles from the limits of the city of Ashland.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in Wisconsin?

The amount of time it takes to become a firefighter in Wisconsin would depend largely on the city you are in and the requirements of that particular fire department. Typically, you need a high school diploma and a few months of fire academy training on the job. However, if you are applying to fire departments in Stevens Point or La Crosse, you will need an Associate’s Degree at least, which would take two years to complete.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in Wisconsin?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Firefighters in Wisconsin made an annual mean wage of $40,310 in 2018. The number of firefighters working in the state in the same year was 9,450.

Career Outlook for Firefighters in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is the state with the third highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in the country, after Ohio and North Carolina, as per data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to that, O*Net states that the job outlook for firefighters in Wisconsin in expected to experience a positive growth of 6% in the years from 2016 to 2026, creating 680 annual job openings. So if you are looking for a career in this field in Wisconsin, now would be the right time to start applying.