Firefighters, or Firefighter EMTs, are first responders to any calls for help in the event of a fire or medical emergency. They are responsible for putting out fires, getting people to safety, and providing immediate medical care to anyone who may need it.
Most firefighters are licensed Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). This is where the term Firefighter EMTs comes from. In 2019, as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Plantation State had over 1,400 employed firefighters. If you want to join their ranks anytime soon, then this piece on how to become a firefighter in Rhode Island will answer all your queries.

Should I Become a Firefighter in Rhode Island?

  • Education
  • Area(s) of Study
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National
  • Job Outlook (2018-28)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – Rhode Island
  • High School Diploma or GED (General Educational Development) Certificate
  • Fire Science, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Management, and Fire Engineering, etc.
  • Required
  • Required
  • Critical Thinking, Public Safety and Security, Arm-Hand Steadiness, Active Listening, Operation Monitoring and Control, Communication, Multi-Limb Coordination, and Static Strength.
  • $54,650
  • 5%
  • $56,150

Sources: US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET OnLine

Health and safety risks are a given in the life of firefighters. They frequently enter burning buildings in an attempt to save the people trapped inside and to put out fires. This is why physical fitness is a key attribute for becoming a firefighter. Furthermore, the work hours vary because of rotating shifts. However, most fire personnel have to be on call pretty much all the time.

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment opportunities for firefighters to grow by 5% from 2018 to 2028. This is about as fast as the average increase expected in most other fields. Even though buildings today have much better safety protocols in place, unexpected fire eruptions are always a possibility. Therefore, the role of firefighters will be very important.

Steps to Become a Firefighter in Rhode Island

To become a firefighter in Rhode Island, you need to take the steps listed in this section.

Get the Necessary Education

Aspiring firefighters should at least complete a High School Diploma or a GED (General Educational Development) Certificate. Any further education is not a mandatory requirement but will certainly help you get ahead in your career.
Therefore, if you go for specialized post-secondary education, then you can choose from the following options.

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

Apply with Your Local/State Fire Unit

Once you have acquired the needed education, you can pursue employment with your preferred Rhode Island fire department.

Written Examination

This is usually the first assessment carried out by most fire units during the initial screening phase. It evaluates candidates’ reading, writing, problem-solving, and analytical skills.

Physical Fitness Test

Different Rhode Island fire units consider the CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) score. Others have devised their own physical exams.

Medical and Drug Testing

A detailed medical and drugs test will follow the physical fitness assessment.

Firefighter Training

Once all the background investigation is completed, you will be cleared for fire academy training which normally lasts for 5 to 6 months. When this is over, you can begin your career as a firefighter.

EMT License

Most firefighters are qualified EMTs. You will receive medical assistance training at the academy. Therefore, you should pursue and obtain your Emergency Medical Technician license soon after graduation.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in Rhode Island?

Based on your chosen path, it may take less than a year (if you apply for a firefighting role immediately after high school) or between 1 and 5 years (if you pursue any specialized higher education first) to become a fire service professional in Rhode Island.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Firefighter in Rhode Island?

Following are the requirements for becoming a firefighter in Rhode Island.

  • Minimum age of 18.
  • Legal US citizen and Rhode Island resident.
  • High School Diploma or a GED Certificate holder.
  • Valid Rhode Island driving license holder.
  • No criminal convictions.
  • Completion of firefighting training.

How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Firefighter in Rhode Island?

Going by the latest records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019), firefighters in Rhode Island pocketed $56,150 in annual mean income.