In 2018, the US Fire Administration reported that every 1,000 fires in the state of West Virginia caused4.9 deaths and 11.2 injuries.The national average was 2.5 deaths and 9.8 injuries per 1,000 fires.

Should I Become a Firefighter in West Virginia?

The state of West Virginia has 408 Fire Departments and Fire Stations with an employment number of 850. The firefighters employed in this state must obtain Firefighter I or II certifications. In addition to that, they must get certified as EMTs. All other requirements for this profession are detailed below.

  • Education Required
  • Major Requirement
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – West Virginia
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National
  • Job Outlook (2018-28)
  • Earn a High School Diploma or a GED(at least)
  • Fire Science(in case of a college degree)
  • Certification as an EMT; Firefighter I/II certification
  • Fire Academy Training is required
  • Physical Strength & Stamina, Courage, Communication, Compassion, and Decision making,etc.
  • $36,890 (Firefighters)
  • $54,650
  • 5% (As fast as average)

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

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 5% employment increase for this career between 2018 and 2028. Moreover, in 2019, BLS reported an employment number of 324,620 for firefighters in the US, and this figure is expected to riseto 350,000 by 2028.

Steps to Become a Firefighter in West Virginia

Firefighters are considered heroes in the US and rightfully so. They are highly courageous people who put their lives on the line to save others. Here is a guideline that explains how you can become one.

Earn a High School Diploma or a GED

The state of West Virginia requires that aspiring firefighters must complete at least a High School degree or a GED before applying for this position.However, the local Fire Department/Stations set their own criteria which might require candidates to earn at least a college degree such as an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science.

Acquire Firefighter I/II and EMT Certifications

The state of West Virginia requires its firefighters to be certified. Therefore, you need to earn Firefighter I or II certifications.In addition to that, all firefighters must acquire an Emergency Medical Technician certification so that immediate medical care can be given.

Pass the State Required Tests

All prospective firefighters must clear background checks and have a clean criminal record. They must provide proof of fitness by passing a physical and psychological test. Moreover, clearinga drug test and the Candidates’ Physical Ability Test is also mandatory for getting hired.

Complete Training at a Fire Academy

The West Virginia Public Service Training (WVPST) provides training to approximately 45,000 emergency responders in the state. All newly hired firefighters are required to graduate from a Fire Academy to join their team in the field. Their training includes topics like, how to put out fires and rescue people, procedures of responding to fire emergencies, handling fire equipment,and so on.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in West Virginia?

After graduating from high school or obtaining a GED, it may take about 1 or 2 years for anyone to become a firefighter. However, the hiring requirements vary for each fire department/station.Candidates may be required to complete a college degree. Therefore, this timeline may be different, depending upon the requirements set by your desired workplace.

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Firefighter in West Virginia?

To be employed as a firefighter in the state of West Virginia, all candidates must,

  • Hold a valid West Virginia driver’s license
  • Be a US citizen over the age of 18
  • Possess at least a high school diploma or a GED
  • Pass a background check and have no criminal record
  • Clear the drug screening
  • Pass physical and psychological tests
  • Clear the CPAT
  • Have valid Firefighter I or II Certifications
  • Get the EMT Certification

How Much Can I Make as a Firefighter in West Virginia?

An annual mean salary of $36,890 was reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2019 for firefighters employed in the state of West Virginia. On the other hand, California was reported as the highest paying state for this profession with an annual mean salary of $84,370.