Firefighters are usually the first respondents on the scene of traffic accidents, wildfires, structural fires, natural disasters, explosions, hazardous accidents, and other catastrophes. Due to the dangerous working conditions, firefighters are susceptible to crush injuries, smoke inhalation, and burns. They can also suffer from long term job related illnesses including lung damage, cancer, heart disease, and asthma.
According to the US Fire Administration, the state of Arizona recorded 1.7 deaths and 4 injuries per 1,000 fires compared to the national average of 2.3 deaths and 7.2 injuries for the same number of fires. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data shows that 7,130 firefighters were working in Arizona as of May 2022 and if you want to join their ranks then, read this article for more information.
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Steps to Become a Firefighter in Arizona
To become a firefighter in Arizona, the following steps and requirements are generally necessary:
- Must be at least 18 years old.
- Possess a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent certificate.
- Hold a valid driver’s license with two years of driving experience.
- Physical abilities to perform essential firefighting functions.
- Obtain an Arizona EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certification upon graduation from the academy. This certification is required for every firefighter in Phoenix, and candidates must maintain it.
- Successful completion of the CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) within 6 months of the final selection interview is necessary.
- CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) certification may also be required.
- Firefighter I and II certifications are not mandatory for application in some areas, but some departments, like Phoenix, require these for recruits.
- Undergo a hiring and screening process, which includes interviews and background checks.
- For Phoenix, additional requirements like further education beyond high school diploma and basic training are preferred. They recommend Fire Science classes at Maricopa Community College and joining an affinity group to enhance preparation.
- The Phoenix Fire Department has a cadet program that provides hands-on emergency medical training, work experience at fire stations, and training in firefighter skills.
- Affinity groups are available to support candidates with shared interests or goals, aiding in their preparation for the role.
- New employee orientation, a medical physical, a 14-week regional academy, and a 1-year probationary period after completing the academy are required steps.
Each city or fire department in Arizona might have specific additional requirements or steps in their recruitment process. It’s recommended to check with the local fire department or city’s official website for the most accurate and detailed information relevant to that area.
Salary of Firefighters in Arizona
Firefighters in Arizona earned the following annual mean and median incomes, as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Annual Mean Salary: $47,850.
- Annual Median Salary: $47,490.
The following table shows starting salaries of firefighters employed by two major Arizona fire departments.
|Phoenix Fire Department
|49,693.00 per year
|Tucson Fire Department
|48,527.00 per year
Career Outlook for Firefighters in Arizona
O*Net Online forecasts an 11% increase in employment opportunities for firefighters in Arizona between 2020 and 2030.
Firefighters Training Academies in Arizona
In Arizona, there are several firefighter training academies and programs available for new recruits. Here are some notable ones:
Arizona Center for Fire Service Excellence (AzCFSE)
- Mission: Administers professional education courses, certification testing, and practical skills evaluations based on national fire service standards.
- Certifications Offered: Firefighter I & II, Hazardous Materials Awareness & Operations, Fire Instructor, Fire Officer, Fire Inspector, Fire Investigator.
- Additional Offerings: Supports the annual Arizona Fire School and coordinates National Fire Academy classes across the state.
Phoenix Fire Training Academy
- Program: Designed for entry-level members, the academy provides the necessary training and skills for certification as firefighters in Phoenix.
- Certification: Recruits receive Arizona State Firefighter I & II certification upon completion.
Tucson Fire Department Academy
- Training Duration: Offers an intense 22-week para-military training program.
- Certification: Provides Arizona State Firefighter I & II certification to recruits upon completion.
Gilbert Fire & Rescue Cadet Program
- Training Activities: Includes various firefighter skill trainings like hose management, search & rescue, and vehicle extrication.
Chandler Fire Department Recruit Academy
- Duration: A 14-week program that includes training in firefighting, medical emergencies, and hazardous materials incidents.
- Post-Academy Assignment: New firefighters are assigned to a front-line crew on a 56-hour weekly shift schedule.
Arizona Western College Fire Academy
- Objective: Equips students with knowledge and practical skills for entry-level firefighter certification.
- Certification: Successful completion allows students to sit for the Firefighter 1 and 2 certification exams conducted by AzCFSE.
Paradise Valley Community College Firefighter Operations Academy
- Location: Held at the Phoenix Fire Department Training Academy.
- Features: Offers specialized training under experienced instructors to meet Firefighter I & II academy standards in Arizona.
Arizona Wildfire and Incident Management Academy
- Location: Based in Prescott, Arizona.
- Training Scope: Provides over 45 classes in wildland fire and incident management training.
- Mission: Develops professional and safe responses in wildland/all hazard environments, meeting National Wildfire Coordinating Group and FEMA standards.
Each of these academies and programs offers a unique approach and specialization in firefighter training, catering to various aspects of firefighting and rescue operations. Prospective firefighters in Arizona can choose a program that aligns with their career goals and local requirements.
1)Arizona Employment Trends – Firefighters: https://www.onetonline.org/link/localtrends/33-2011.00?st=AZ
2)Pay & Benefits | TFD Recruiting: https://tucsonfirejobs.tucsonaz.gov/pay-benefits
3)Arizona Fire Loss and Fire Department Profile: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/states/arizona.html
4)Official Website of the City of Phoenix, Arizona: https://www.phoenix.gov/