How to Become a Firefighter in West Virginia
West Virginia had an alarmingly high number of fire deaths (7.4) per 1,000 fires in 2017. This was significantly higher than the national average of 2.3. The state also had an unusually high average death rate in residential fires, at 18 persons per 1,000 fires in comparison to the national average of 6.1 deaths. Even though the firefighting forces have managed to keep the number of average injuries down, the death rate continues to remain quite distressing. If you want to try and help the firefighting heroes in the state, the following guide on how to become a firefighter in West Virginia would be of help.
Requirements to Become a Firefighter in West Virginia
The requirements to become a firefighter in West Virginia would vary according the city you are applying to. However, generally speaking, the requirements would be on the following lines:
- All candidates must have at least a high school diploma or a GED
- All candidates must be citizens of the US
- All candidates must have a valid driver’s license
- All candidates must not have any prior felony convictions or a criminal record
- All candidates must show proof of residency as required by their local department
- All candidates must clear the written, oral, physical, medical and psychological tests and interviews
- All candidates should have an EMT certification
- All candidates ought to have some volunteer firefighting experience (variable according to city requirements)
In addition to the above requirements, it is recommended that aspiring firefighters in West Virginia go for an undergraduate degree in Fire Science or a related subject. A good place to start would be to get a 2-year long associate’s degree or a 4-year long bachelor’s degree. Even though this is typically not a requirement, it can help set your application apart from your fellow candidates. And since the competition for the limited seats is tough, it is better if you invest some time and effort to strengthen your application.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in West Virginia?
Becoming a firefighter in West Virginia can be a significant time investment, especially since the positions are limited and the competition level is high. It can take you as low as 3 to 4 months or as long as 4 to 6 years, depending on your educational path and the availability of positions in the city department where you have applied.
How Much Does a Firefighter Make in West Virginia?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters in West Virginia made an annual mean income of $36,820.
Career Outlook for Firefighters in West Virginia
According to data for firefighters from O*Net Online, the employment for this occupation in the state in 2016 was 880, a number which is set to increase to 940 by 2026. The growth rate for firefighters in West Virginia is as fast as the national average of 7%, making it a pretty good place to kick off a career in this field.