5 Steps to Become a Firefighter in South Dakota

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According to the data provided by the US Fire Administration, South Dakota recorded 2.2 deaths and 3.2 injuries per 1,000 fires for all fire related incidents in 2020. These figures are very positive against the national figures of 2.3 deaths and 7.9 injuries per 1,000 fires.

South Dakota is a beautiful mix of mountains, glacial lakes, and fertile farmlands. Though serene, it is prone to various calamities and natural disasters such as wildfires. But there is no need to worry because the firefighters are there to defend the residents. If you are passionate about this profession, then You will have to complete the following steps to work as a firefighter in South Dakota:

Step 1: Possess a High School Diploma

To work as a firefighter in the state of South Dakota, you should have graduated high school or should have a GED certificate.

Step 2: Get an EMT Certification

All prospective firefighters in South Dakota have to get EMT certification issued by the state of South Dakota or alternatively have the National Registry EMT certification.

Step 3: Clear the IPAT

All firefighters working in South Dakota should pass the Individual Physical Ability Test, known as IPAT, every year.

Step 4: Clear the Hiring Process

Every fire department has its own hiring process which involves multiple steps. You will have to pass physical test, mental evaluation, a written exam, an oral interview, background and drug screening, etc.

Step 5: Complete Training

The final step of the process involves completing training at a fire academy. This is an integral part of the recruitment because fire academy training is all about teaching recruits everything there is to know about combating fires and using fire equipment.

Requirements to Become a Firefighter in South Dakota

There are a total of 294 fire departments in South Dakota that are always ready to face any type of calamity or disaster. If you want your application to be considered, then you will have to meet the requirements listed below:

  • You need to be a US citizen
  • You must have a GED or a high school diploma
  • You must not be younger than 18
  • You should have no criminal history
  • You should have a valid driver’s license
  • You need to pass a series of tests

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in South Dakota?

Submit the Application

You will be expected to fill out the application form and submit it, along with all the required documents, before the deadline. The initial screening process will begin after the deadline, if you are shortlisted.

Take a Number of Tests

If your application is shortlisted, you will be called in for a number of tests. These will include the written exam and the physical agility test. The written exam will test your cognitive abilities, problem solving skills, and reasoning skills. The physical exam will include various physical exercises and tasks such as a stair climb, mannequin drag, hose pull, and hose platform. These tasks will test your upper body strength, aerobic ability, physical strength and stamina.

Clear Interviews and Background Checks

If you have cleared the physical and the written test, you will be called for a series of interviews to determine whether you are suited for the job. This will be followed by a rigorous background check and a medical exam, after which you will be hired as a probationary firefighter. At this stage, you will be sent to the training academy where you will receive training about firefighting practices.

The time you will have to spend in the fire academy in South Dakota will vary from city to city and from fire department to fire department. It can take you up to a year to fully complete fire academy training in one capacity or another.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in South Dakota?

The annual mean wage of firefighters in South Dakota was $49,090 in 2021. These figures have been taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Outlook

According to O*Net Online, the firefighting profession is expected to see a growth in South Dakota; it is projected that the employment of firefighters will grow by 5% in South Dakota from 2020 to 2030. This percentage is slightly better than the nation average of 4% between 2021 and 2031. The projected annual openings will amount to 50.