Embarking on a career as a firefighter in Missouri combines the thrill of facing new challenges with the noble pursuit of serving and protecting the community. As per the US Fire Administration, Missouri recorded 2.4 deaths and 5.7 injuries per 1,000 fires. The national average was 2.3 deaths and 7.2 injuries.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7,320 firefighters were working in Missouri as of May 2022. This rewarding profession demands not only physical prowess but also a deep commitment to the principles of courage, dedication, and teamwork.

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Steps to Become a Firefighter in Missouri

To become a firefighter in Missouri, there are several steps and requirements that aspirants must meet:

Basic Requirements
  • Candidates must be at least 18 years old and possess a valid state driver’s license. They should also be Missouri residents.
  • It’s essential for applicants to be physically and mentally fit and to have a high school diploma or GED. Notably, there are no regulations for Firefighter I or EMT training at the entry level in Missouri​​
Screening and Interview Process
  • Most departments in Missouri follow a similar screening and interview process. This typically includes interviews with officers and a chief’s interview, background checks on criminal activity, and medical testing. The primary goal is to ensure that candidates possess the right character, mentality, and fitness to meet the department’s standards. Successful candidates then move on to recruit training and a probation period.
Training and Certification
  • While Missouri doesn’t consider certification mandatory, it is highly recommended to maintain cohesion and professionalism. The state Division of Fire Safety has awarded around 95,000 certificates to over 36,000 Missouri firefighters.
  • Training and certification for Fire Fighter I and II are crucial, as they form the minimum recommendation for all future firefighter certification programs. These programs are developed in accordance with NFPA 1001-2019 standards and cover both theoretical and practical aspects​​​​.
Certification Exams
  • The certification process involves a written exam of 100 multiple-choice questions based on the NFPA 1001-2019 standard. Candidates have two hours to complete this exam and must achieve a score of at least 70 percent. Additionally, they must successfully complete a practical skills exam. Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations certification is a prerequisite for obtaining Fire Fighter I certification.
Accreditation and Reciprocity
  • The Division of Fire Safety’s Training and Certification Unit, accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC), ensures that the programs meet nationally recognized professional standards.
  • Missouri shares certification reciprocity with many states and entities internationally. The Division of Fire Safety is accredited at various levels including Fire Fighter I and II, Fire Officer I and II, and several other specialties​​​​.

These steps outline a comprehensive path for individuals seeking to become firefighters in Missouri, emphasizing the importance of both initial qualifications and ongoing training and certification.

Salary of Firefighters in Missouri

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters in Missouri made the following annual mean and median salaries:

  • Annual Mean Salary: $55,380.
  • Annual Median Salary: $48,320.

Below table mentions starting salaries for firefighters for two major Missouri fire departments.

Kansas City Fire DepartmentFirefighter39,060.00 per year
Springfield Fire DepartmentFirefighter41,329.60 per year

Career Outlook for Firefighters in Missouri

According to O*Net Online, Missouri firefighters will experience a job growth of 4% from 2020 to 2030.

Firefighters Training Academies in Missouri

In Missouri, there are several prominent academies for training new recruits to become certified firefighters. Each of these academies offers unique programs and training environments to equip recruits with the necessary skills and certifications.

MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute (FRTI)

  • Located at the University of Missouri, this institute is a premier unit of MU Extension. It provides comprehensive cognitive education and manipulative skills training for Missouri’s fire and emergency service responders. The institute focuses on effective, standards-based, quality training and education to enable significant impacts on protecting lives and property​​​​.

St. Louis Fire Academy

  • This academy, founded on July 16, 1926, is the second oldest in the United States. It offers training for firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics. Recruits attending the academy are trained and certified to Missouri State Firefighter I & II classification, Driver Certification, and Hazardous Material Operations Level.
  • Additionally, they receive medical certification as Missouri First Responders, which includes training in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, Automatic Electronic Defibrillation, and Basic Life Support​​​​.

St. Louis County Fire Academy

  • Opened on January 14, 1980, this academy aims to provide high-quality, standardized training for recruits entering services in the county’s fire districts. It offers two pathways for academy training: being hired as a full-time, paid firefighter by a fire service district in St. Louis County or going through the Academy as a self-sponsored student. The academy conducts three classes each year, accommodating both new hires from St. Louis County Fire agencies and self-sponsored students​​​​​​.

These academies represent key avenues for those seeking to become certified firefighters in Missouri, each offering a range of training programs and certifications to prepare recruits for the demands of the profession.

1)Missouri Employment Trends – Firefighters: https://www.onetonline.org/link/localtrends/33-2011.00?st=MO
2)Missouri Fire Loss and Fire Department Profile: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/states/missouri.html
3)Springfield, MO – Official Website | Official Website: https://www.springfieldmo.gov/
4)Firefighters: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes332011.htm

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