Are you someone who is looking for an exciting and fulfilling career as a firefighter in Oklahoma? If so, there are many reasons why this could be the perfect job for you. As per the US Fire Administration, Oklahoma recorded 2.9 deaths and 3.4 injuries per 1,000 fires compared to the national averages of 2.3 and 7.2 respectively.
It requires a unique set of skills and temperament that not everyone possesses. As a firefighter, you must be physically fit, mentally tough, and emotionally resilient. You need to be able to work well under pressure, and have excellent communication and problem-solving skills. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,220 firefighters are employed in Oklahoma.
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Steps to Become a Firefighter in Oklahoma
Becoming a firefighter in Oklahoma involves a series of steps and meeting specific requirements. The exact requirements may vary slightly depending on the city or area in Oklahoma, but generally, the process includes the following steps:
- Age and Citizenship: Candidates must be at least 18 years old and a citizen of the United States.
- Education: A GED or high school diploma is required.
- Driver’s License: Possession of a valid driver’s license is necessary.
- Criminal History: Applicants should have no felony convictions. Background checks are conducted to ensure good moral character.
- Physical and Mental Fitness: Candidates must be in good physical and mental health, demonstrating the agility and strength to perform duties under adverse conditions.
- Work Hours: Willingness to work irregular hours and long shifts is a must.
- Learning Ability: Candidates must be able to learn firefighting emergency procedures, techniques, and principles, and be capable of following and communicating instructions effectively.
- Teamwork: The ability to work as part of a team is essential.
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) License: In some cities like Oklahoma City, applicants must possess an EMT license prior to completing a one-year probationary period.
- Firefighter Training Programs: Aspiring firefighters must attend firefighter training programs, which can be found at several community colleges and fire academies in Oklahoma. Programs may last several months and include extensive training in firefighting techniques and emergency medical procedures.
- Written and Physical Tests: Candidates must pass a written test and a Candidate Physical Agility Test (CPAT), which includes exercises like hose dragging, stair climbing, and ladder raising.
- Interviews and Psychological Exam: Successful candidates will undergo interviews, a psychological exam, and possibly a polygraph test.
- Medical and Drug Screening: A pre-placement physical screening and drug test are typically required.
- Background Investigation: A thorough background investigation is conducted to assess the candidate’s integrity and character.
Salary of Firefighters in Oklahoma
The salary of Oklahoma firefighters, as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is:
- Annual Mean Salary: $52,770.
- Annual Median Salary: $49,360.
Career Outlook for Firefighters in Oklahoma
O*Net Online has projected an employment growth of 9% for firefighters in Oklahoma between 2020 and 2030.
Firefighters Training Academies in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, there are several certified training academies for new recruits aspiring to become firefighters. These academies offer comprehensive training programs that include both theoretical knowledge and practical skills essential for a firefighting career. Here are some of the prominent ones:
Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC)
- This institution offers a well-regarded fire training program. The program provides recruits with essential knowledge and skills in firefighting, emergency medical services, and more.
Tulsa Community College
- This college has a Fire and EMS Technology course at their Northeast campus. It’s an excellent option for beginners, providing training in firefighting alongside EMT training.
Oklahoma State University (Stillwater)
- Known for its comprehensive fire programs, it offers in-depth training in various aspects of firefighting.
Autry Technology Center (Enid)
- Provides training and education in fire science and related fields.
Great Plains Technology Center (Lawton)
- Offers programs related to fire science and emergency response training.
Pontotoc Technology Center (Ada)
- This center provides education and training in fire science and emergency services.
Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center (Choctaw)
- Offers specialized training for firefighting and emergency response.
Western Oklahoma State College (Altus)
- Provides educational programs in fire science and emergency medical services.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University (Weatherford)
- Offers an associate degree focusing specifically on wildland firefighting. This program includes both theoretical knowledge and hands-on training in fire management.
Each of these academies has its own unique program structure, and many offer specialized training for different types of firefighting, such as wildland firefighting or emergency medical services. It’s important for aspiring firefighters to consider their career goals and choose an academy that aligns with their interests and aspirations.
These training programs typically involve rigorous physical training, classroom instruction, and practical exercises to prepare recruits for the challenges of firefighting. Upon successful completion, graduates are well-equipped to pursue a career in firefighting in various departments across Oklahoma and beyond.
1)Oklahoma Fire Loss and Fire Department Profile: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/states/oklahoma.html
3)Oklahoma Employment Trends 33-2011.00 – Firefighters: https://www.onetonline.org/link/localtrends/33-2011.00?st=OK