Montana’s selfless firefighters never shy away from going above and beyond the call of duty to keep their fellow citizens safe. The state averaged 4.1 deaths and 5.3 injuries per 1,000 fires in 2021. The national average was 2.3 deaths and 7.2 injuries for the corresponding period.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 900 firefighters working in Montana as of May 2022. If you are interested in joining them, then read this article for more details.
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Steps to Become a Firefighter in Montana
To become a firefighter in Montana, one needs to fulfill several requirements and undergo specific training and certification processes. Here are the key steps:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Hold a High School Diploma or a GED.
- Possess a valid Montana driver’s license.
- Pass a physical exam.
- Undergo a fingerprint/background check.
- Obtain a minimum firefighting certification.
- Although not mandatory, obtaining post-secondary education like an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in fire science or a related field can enhance job prospects.
- In Montana, firefighters are required to go through fingerprint screening. This process provides direct access to criminal records, which are thoroughly checked. Applicants with serious convictions, especially felonies, are less likely to be hired.
- The Consortium is used by many fire departments and districts in Montana to find suitable candidates. Applicants go through a standardized process, and those who pass are placed into a pool of new candidates for that year. This process is used by departments in areas like Missoula, Billings, Helena, Bozeman, and others.
- The testing process includes a written test to assess knowledge and aptitude. Following this, a physical test is conducted to ensure candidates are fit enough to handle the role and equipment.
- Due to the high risk of wildfires in Montana, there is a significant demand for personnel trained in wildland firefighting. The Montana DNRC offers high-end certified training for this purpose.
- Major fire departments like in Billings offer roles for career firefighters with additional requirements like EMT-Basic certification, good vision, and no tobacco use on the job.
Salary of Firefighters in Montana
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters in Montana made:
- Annual Mean Salary: $51,730.
- Annual Median Salary: $48,200.
Career Outlook for Firefighters in Montana
The career outlook for firefighters in Montana is very positive. According to O*Net Online, firefighters in Montana will experience a stellar 16% job growth from 2020 to 2030.
Firefighters Training Academies in Montana
In Montana, newly hired firefighters have access to several certified training academies that offer specialized programs to enhance their skills and knowledge. These academies provide the necessary training for new firefighters to effectively perform their duties. The major fire academies in Montana include:
Great Falls – Great Basin College
- This college, located in Great Falls, offers education in firefighting. The program typically includes comprehensive training, combining classroom instruction with practical, hands-on experiences.
Billings – Montana State University-Billings
- At Montana State University in Billings, the fire science program provides in-depth training and education for firefighters. The curriculum likely covers various aspects of firefighting, fire prevention, emergency services, and fire behavior.
Helena – Helena College University of Montana
- This college in Helena offers a program in fire science, preparing students for careers in firefighting. The course content typically includes understanding fire dynamics, firefighting techniques, and emergency medical response.
These academies are essential in providing the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for newly hired firefighters. They ensure that firefighters are well-prepared to handle the diverse and challenging situations they will encounter in their line of duty.
1)Montana Employment Trends – Firefighters: https://www.onetonline.org/link/localtrends/33-2011.00?st=MT
2)Montana Fire Loss and Fire Department Profile: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/states/montana.html