Montana,MT: How to Become a Firefighter

Montana’s selfless firefighters never shy away from going above and beyond the call of duty to keep their fellow citizens safe. This is one of the reasons why the state averaged 1.0 death and 6.2 injuries per 1,000 fires in 2020. Compare that to the national average of 2.3 deaths and 7.9 injuries for the corresponding period, and you can see just how good the fire units of Montana are.

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The Treasure State sees a fair bit of structural fires. These include both residential and other types. With Montana’s fire departments hard at work every minute of every day, residents can sit back and relax knowing that any erupting fires will be expertly taken care of. In 2020, residential structure fire casualties in Montana were 1.8 deaths and 29.2 injuries per 1,000 fires. The national average per 1,000 fires was 6.9 deaths and 21.7 injuries.

What Education Is Required To Be A Firefighter

To become a firefighter in Montana, you need certain qualifications. While the entry level requirement is a high school diploma or a GED, getting postsecondary education or a degree can certainly enhance your job prospects.

You can get an associate’s degree in fire science or a related field, which will take you around 2 years to complete. If you opt for a bachelor’s degree, then you are looking at another 4 years. All in all, you will have to spend between 2 – 4 years in college to become a firefighter in Montana.

Career Choices for a Firefighter in Montana

  • Voluntary and Non-Voluntary Firefighter
  • EMT (Emergency Medical Technician)
  • Fire Investigation Expert
  • Fire Equipment Handler
  • Fire Apparatus Engineer

Application Criteria for Fire Departments in Montana

To build a career with any firefighting service in Montana, you need to come up to the following benchmarks.

  • Minimum 18 years old
  • Have a GED certificate or a high school diploma at least
  • Acquire a valid Montana driver’s license
  • Have legal status as a US citizen (by birth or naturalization)
  • Must not have any criminal record whatsoever in any state
  • Sit for and pass the written evaluation
  • Pass the physical exam, whether CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) or any other depending upon the particular fire service

The testing phase for most fire services in the state is carried out by the Montana Firefighter Testing Consortium (MFTC). This group of firefighting departments conducts recruitment tests once every 12 months for entry level firefighting positions. Below is a list of them.

  • Billings
  • Bozeman
  • Great Falls
  • Miles City
  • Helena
  • Missoula
  • Butte
  • Big Sky
  • Central Valley

How Long Does It Take to Join the Ranks of Montana’s Bravest?

On average, firefighting training is 6 months long. Prior to that, the candidate screening and shortlisting process carried out by various fire departments normally takes a few months. So, it is likely to take you around 10 months to 1 year to become a firefighter in Montana.

Montana Firefighter Salary

As of May, 2021, Montana’s firefighters can make up to $52,990 in annual mean wage. This is according to the information obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Prospects for Firefighters in Montana

As per the data made available by O*Net Online, jobs for firefighters will experience a 4% growth in the USA from 2021 till 2031. In Montana, the increase is expected to be 16% between 2020 and 2030. So, the future is quite bright for firefighters in Montana.