In 2021, out of 1,000 fires in the State of Maryland a total of 1.4 deaths and 5.1 injuries were reported as per the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). One starts to appreciate these numbers once you look at the national statistics – for 1,000 fire incidents in the US, 2.3 deaths and 7.2 injuries were reported in 2021.

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There were 4,660 firefighters working in the state as of May 2022 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you want to work as a firefighter in Maryland, then read this article for more information.

Steps to Become a Firefighter in Maryland

To become a firefighter in Maryland, there are several key steps and requirements that must be fulfilled:

Basic Eligibility and Educational Requirements
  • Age: You need to be at least 18 years old.
  • Education: A high school diploma or GED is required.
  • Citizenship: Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency is necessary.
  • Driver’s License: You must possess a valid state driver’s license.
  • Residency: Some form of residency proof is often needed.
  • Good Character: A strong moral character is essential​​​​.
Application Process
  • Submit an application to the department you’re interested in. Note that some departments may require a fee.
  • Pass a written exam covering basic mathematics, reading comprehension, and reasoning skills.
  • Undergo a comprehensive background check, which may include a review of your criminal history, driving record, and personal references.
  • Complete a medical examination, which can include drug screening.
Physical and Skills Testing
  • You must be in good physical condition and pass physical fitness tests. Complete a physical ability test, which typically includes tasks like lifting heavy equipment and climbing ladders.
  • Some departments might require a psychological evaluation.
  • Successfully complete an oral interview, often before a panel of department members.
Training and Education
  • Attend a fire academy for formal training. This training often includes firefighting techniques, fire prevention, hazardous materials handling, and first aid.
  • The Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI) at the University of Maryland is a key provider of this training, offering programs to prepare individuals to protect life, property, and the environment​​​​.
Probationary Period
  • After graduating from the academy, you will typically undergo a probationary period, working under the supervision of senior firefighters.
Certification and Continuous Learning
  • Many departments require firefighters to be licensed Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) or paramedics.
  • Firefighters are often required to complete regular ongoing training and may choose to specialize in areas like hazardous materials, rescue operations, or fire prevention.
State-Specific Requirements
  • Some localities in Maryland may have additional state-specific certification requirements. It’s important to check with your local department for the most current information.

Each fire department in Maryland may have its own specific hiring process and requirements, so it’s essential to consult with the specific department to which you’re applying for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Salary of Firefighters in Maryland

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters in Maryland earned the following annual mean and median salaries:

  • Annual Mean Salary: $60,560.
  • Annual Median Salary: $60,760.

As a point of reference, below are salaries for two fire departments in Maryland:

Baltimore City Fire DepartmentFirefighter52,211.00 per year
Montgomery County Fire and RescueFirefighter$56,300.00 per year

Career Outlook for Firefighters in Maryland

As per O*Net Online, firefighters in Maryland will experience a very positive job growth of 16% from 2020 to 2030.

Firefighters Training Academies in Maryland

In Maryland, there are several certified major training academies for new firefighter recruits, each offering comprehensive training programs to prepare individuals for a career in firefighting:

Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Training Academy (FRTA)

  • Located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, FRTA is part of the Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA) grounds.
  • It operates alongside the Montgomery County Police Training Academy and is one of the most active training academies in the state.
  • The academy offers recruit school and is also known as the Public Service Training Academy (PSTA), providing information and education for new employees of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS)​​​​.

Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI)

  • Affiliated with the University of Maryland, MFRI is the state’s training and education system for all-hazard responses.
  • This institute plans, researches, develops, and delivers quality programs to prepare agencies and individuals for roles in protecting life, property, and the environment.

Baltimore County Fire-Rescue Academy

  • This academy provides training for various positions within the fire and rescue service.
  • Key personnel include the Academy Bureau Chief, Fire/Rescue Training Administrator, Battalion Training Administrator, and EMS Instructor.

Frederick County Fire & Rescue Training Office

  • This training office, in partnership with the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, offers public safety training during the day and evening.
  • The training is available for career and volunteer personnel, recruits, and other divisions within the Frederick County Government.

Each of these academies offers specialized training programs and is equipped to prepare new recruits for a career in firefighting and rescue operations. It’s advisable for potential recruits to contact these academies directly or visit their websites for more detailed information on their programs, admission requirements, and training schedules.

1)MCFRS Recruiting:
2)Maryland Fire Loss and Fire Department Profile:
3)Maryland Employment Trends – Firefighters: