Firefighters deal with medical emergencies as well as outbreaks of fire that threaten the life and property of people. They are first responders in such situations and are responsible for putting out fires, rescuing people trapped in burning buildings, providing first aid to the injured, etc.
Firefighters are also called Firefighter EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians). Most of them hold a basic EMT certification and are qualified to provide immediate medical help to people who need it.
In 2019, there were more than 3,500 firefighters in Oklahoma. The encouraging job outlook by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics means that this number will surely increase in the coming years. Aspiring professionals from the Sooner State should read this piece. It will tell them exactly how to become a firefighter in Oklahoma.

Should I Become a Firefighter in Oklahoma?

  • Education
  • Area of Study
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills/Qualities
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – Oklahoma
  • Job Outlook (2018-28)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National
  • High School Diploma/GED (General Educational Development) Certificate
  • Fire Science, Emergency Medical Services, etc.
  • Required
  • Required
  • Operation Monitoring, Operation and Control, Public Safety and Security, Problem Sensitivity, Multi-Limb Coordination, Arm-Hand Steadiness, Static Strength.
  • $54,650
  • 5%
  • $44,860

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)

As a firefighter, you will frequently have to deal with situations that pose a high risk of injury and even death. Firefighting drills and equipment maintenance are also a routine occurrence. To do all these things well, you must be physically fit. Furthermore, the hours at work may vary (rotating shifts) but firefighters are usually on call 24 hours a day.

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a 5% growth in job opportunities for firefighters between 2018 and 2028. This is similar to the increase expected in most other professions. While the quality of building materials and the sophistication of construction equipment has been constantly increasing, firefighters will still be needed to combat unexpected fire eruptions and respond to medical emergencies.

Steps to Become a Firefighter in Oklahoma

Aspiring firefighters in Oklahoma need to follow the steps listed below.

Education

The only binding educational requirement is a High School Diploma or GED (General Educational Development) Certificate. You do not need any other kind of formal education to enter the field. However, earning a higher qualification can certainly be advantageous with regards to career growth and availability of opportunities.

To that end, you have the following options.

  • Certificate/Diploma in Fire Science (6 months to 1 year)
  • Associate Degree in Fire Science (2 years)
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Science/Fire Engineering (4 years)

Pass Through a Screening Process

After applying for the firefighting position, you will be required to pass through a comprehensive screening process. This will include a written exam, physical ability test, an oral interview, a psychological test, and a police background investigation. If you can clear these difficult stages, a conditional offer letter will be extended to you, after which you will undergo a drug and medical screening.

Apply for Employment with Your Local/State Fire Department

Once you submit your employment application, there are a few assessments to be cleared. These include the written test, physical evaluation, background investigation, and medical exam.

Complete Firefighting Training

After coming through the initial selection phase, you have to undergo firefighting training which lasts for about 6 months. Other than learning about different aspects of firefighting, you will also be taught how to deal with medical emergencies.

Earn Your EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) License and Start Working

When your training is completed, you need to earn the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license. This is mandatory for all Oklahoma firefighters. You may pursue it after joining the fire service as a probationary firefighter. Before the probation period is up, you must become a licensed EMT.
*You can also attain the State of Oklahoma or National Paramedic Certificate to enhance your career prospects.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in Oklahoma?

If you decide to become a firefighter straight out of high school, then it will take less than 1 year. You just have to complete training and earn the EMT license. However, if you go for some post-secondary education first, then it may take about 2 to 5 years, depending on the length of your chosen program.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Firefighter in Oklahoma?

Following are the requirements for becoming a Firefighter in Oklahoma.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Finish high school.
  • Have a valid Oklahoma driving license.
  • Must not be a convicted felon.
  • Complete firefighting training.
  • Earn an EMT license.

How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Firefighter in Oklahoma?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Firefighters in Oklahoma drew $44,860 in annual mean salary in 2019.