Steps to Become a Firefighter in Rhode Island

Firefighters in Rhode Island have worked really hard to keep the citizens of the state safe. The average death rate in the state was 0.6 per 1,000 fires, and the rate for injuries was 8.7 per 1,000 fires. The residential structure fires death rate in Rhode Island was 1.3, and the rate of injuries in residential structures was 10.7. What is noteworthy about these averages is that all of them are well below the national averages, making Rhode Island one of the safest states in terms of fire accidents. With fire departments in the state performing so well, it does seem like an ideal time to join forces with them. The following steps need to be followed if you want to join the firefighting force in the state of Rhode Island.

Step 1: Obtain the Minimum Education

If you want to fight fires in Rhode Island, you have to get at least a high school diploma or a GED. In case you decide to get postsecondary education, that will enhance your prospects of getting a job and career progression.

Step 2: Get EMT Certification

Quite a lot of fire departments require firefighters to have EMT certification since firefighters are first respondents in case a fire breaks out. You will need to complete continuing education credits to maintain your EMT certification.

Step 3: Apply for the Job

Once you have completed all the prerequisites, start applying for a job at your local fire department or station.

Step 4: Clear the Hiring Stages

Since the job of a firefighter is very tough in nature, every candidate has to go through a strict hiring procedure. The entire process consists of different stages like a written test, medical check, psychological test, drug screening, background checks, and a polygraph exam, etc. Once you pass the hiring process, you will have to attend training at a fire academy.

Requirements to Become a Firefighter in Rhode Island

The requirements to become a firefighter in Rhode Island would vary according to the city and the department you are applying to. For instance, the City of Providence might have slightly different requirements than the West Warwick Fire Department. That being said, however, the general requirements to become a firefighter remain somewhat similar throughout the state. These would be along the following lines:

  • Candidate must be at least 18 years old at the beginning of the academy training session
  • Candidate must have a high school diploma or a GED at the start of the academy training session
  • Candidate must have a valid Motor Vehicle Operator’s License
  • Candidate must agree to medical and informational reviews
  • Candidates must get an EMT Basic Licensure before the completion of the academy training session
  • Candidates must complete the application and selection process which includes submitting an online application, along with the application fee. It also involves passing written examinations, clearing background investigations, passing a medical exam, clearing drug screening, passing a psychological exam and an oral interview.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in Rhode Island?

The amount of time it takes to become a firefighter in Rhode Island depends on the path you take. The minimum amount of time it would take is at least 3 to 4 months, which includes the application process and on-the-job training in most cases. However, if you decide to get a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree in fire science or a related subject area, it can take you more than 4 years. The actual amount of time it takes for you to get hired will depend on the availability of the positions in the department you apply in.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in Rhode Island?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a firefighter made an annual mean income of $57,750 in Rhode Island in the year 2020. This is higher than the national mean wage of $56,360.

Career Outlook for Firefighters in Rhode Island

According to data from O*Net OnLine, firefighters in Rhode Island are going to experience a 5% increase in the number of jobs from the year 2018 to 2028.