The role of a firefighter is one of the most revered and essential in any community. These brave men and women stand at the front lines, safeguarding lives and properties from the devastating power of fire and other emergencies. Alabama recorded 4.2 deaths and 6.8 injuries per 1,000 fires in comparison to the national average of 2.3 deaths and 7.2 injuries.
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6,400 firefighters were working in Alabama as of May 2022, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’ve ever envisioned yourself donning that iconic helmet and uniform, racing to the scene of an emergency with sirens blaring, this guide will provide you a step-by-step journey to becoming a firefighter in Alabama.
Steps to Become a Firefighter in Alabama
To become a firefighter in Alabama, several steps and qualifications must be met. Here are the key steps and requirements:
- Educational Qualification: A high school diploma or an equivalent qualification is required.
- Driver’s License: Possession of a valid State of Alabama driver’s license.
- Citizenship: Applicants must be citizens of the United States.
- Physical Agility Test: Successful completion of the Candidate Physical Agility Test (CPAT).
- EMS Certification: Holding the State of Alabama’s EMS certification at the EMT-Basic level or above.
- Registration: Complete the registration form for classes at the Alabama Fire College in Tuscaloosa or an AFC Regional Training Center.
- Orientation: Attend a mandatory orientation, usually one month prior to the start date of the school.
- Recruit Training: Complete a minimum of 360 hours of training for Fire Fighter I/II or 200 hours of training for Fire Fighter Bridge.
- Certification Exams: Pass the certification exams, including both cognitive written exams and practical exams.
- Firefighter Certification: Upon successful completion of the training and exams, an Alabama certificate with Pro Board and IFSAC seals is issued. This certificate is automatically registered with these entities without any further application or fees needed from the student.
- Accessibility: The Alabama Fire College extends training opportunities to every county in Alabama through a network of regional offices.
- Local Level Training: Regional offices, staffed by Regional Coordinators, facilitate training at the local level, answering questions, setting up training, and responding to the needs of fire service across the state.
It is important to note that the successful completion of Fire Fighter I/II or Fire Fighter Bridge training does not guarantee employment as a firefighter. Additionally, in Alabama, paid or partly paid firefighters must earn certification. This comprehensive process ensures that firefighters in Alabama are well-trained and prepared to handle the demands of the job.
Salary of Firefighters in Alabama
Firefighters in Alabama earned the following annual mean and median salaries, as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Annual Mean Salary: $42,600.
- Annual Median Salary: $38,950.
Career Outlook for Firefighters in Alabama
O*Net Online anticipates a 6% growth in employment for firefighters in Alabama between 2020 and 2030.
Firefighters Training Academies in Alabama
In Alabama, several major firefighter training academies offer comprehensive programs for new recruits. These academies are certified and recognized for their quality of education and training in fire science and firefighting techniques. Here are some of the top firefighter schools in Alabama:
Columbia Southern University
- Location: Orange Beach, Alabama.
- Courses Offered: Online Associate Degree – A.S. Fire Science.
- Key Highlight: The program provides in-depth knowledge of fire protection and prevention and is recognized through FESHE (Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education).
Alabama Fire College and Personnel Standards Commission
- Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
- Courses Offered: Certification Programs – Firefighter I/II.
- Key Highlight: Over 62 years of experience in delivering firefighting training, combining field practice and classroom study under the supervision of experienced firefighters or officers.
State of Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office
- Location: Montgomery, Alabama.
- Courses Offered: Pyrotechnic Display Operator Training & Testing.
- Key Highlight: Established in 1909, this office provides training in building codes, detection of arson, fire investigation, and complies with Alabama’s pyrotechnics law.
Chattahoochee Valley Community College
- Location: Phenix City, Alabama.
- Courses Offered: Certificate program in Fire Science, Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Fire Science.
- Key Highlight: The curriculum emphasizes fire service administration, legalities of fire service, hazardous materials response, and credits from the certificate program can be carried forward to the AAS degree program.
These institutions offer a range of programs and specializations, catering to various aspects of fire science and firefighting, ensuring that recruits receive a well-rounded and comprehensive education and training in this field.
1)Alabama Fire Loss and Fire Department Profile: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/states/alabama.html
3)33-2011.00 – Firefighters: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-2011.00