Firefighters take care of unforeseen fire eruptions and other related emergencies in homes, offices, hospitals, shopping centers, etc. They are usually the first responders to sudden fire outbreaks and various medical emergencies. Other than putting out fires, they rescue citizens stuck inside a burning building and provide first aid to the injured.
Alaska’s fire personnel are also registered Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). Going by the latest data (2019) of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are close to 900 employed firefighters in The Last Frontier. Do you want to become one too? Read this detailed guide on how to become a Firefighter in Alaska.
Sources: O*NET OnLine and US Bureau of Labor Statistics
The day-to-day job of a firefighter involves plenty of stress and pressure. There are also serious health risks, particularly while going into burning buildings to rescue trapped people. This is why supreme physical fitness is needed to be a firefighter. Work shifts tend to rotate between day and night. However, firefighters are always on call.
Between 2018 and 2028, there will be a 5% growth in jobs for firefighters. This is according to data reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. While it’s true that building safety codes have become more stringent and the quality of the constructed structures has steadily improved over time, the role of firefighters would still be significant because unforeseen fire eruptions remain a possibility.
Steps to Become a Firefighter in Alaska
To become a Firefighter in Alaska, you need to follow the steps mentioned below.
Step 1: Fulfill the Educational Requirements
To be considered for the role of a firefighter, you must first complete a High School Diploma or the equivalent GED (General Educational Development) Certificate. This is the minimum required level of education.
Beyond that, you may go for some specialized post-secondary education in fire science (certificate/diploma, Associate degree, or Bachelor’s degree) or a related subject but it is not mandatory.
Step 2: Apply for Work
After acquiring the needed education, you can apply for a job with an Alaska fire department.
Step 3: Pass the Initial Exam/Interview
When your employment application is processed, the first assessment carried out by a fire unit is usually a written test. Some departments may start off by conducting interviews instead.
Step 4: Meet the Physical Standards
Once the written test/interview is over, the next step is the physical evaluation. Different fire departments in Alaska either accept CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) scores or carry out their own physical tests.
Step 5: Background Investigation
Having qualified the physical exam, the department will look into your background to ascertain your suitability.
Step 7: Medical/Psychological Exams
With the background scrutiny out of the way, you will have to undergo a medical and psychological evaluation.
Step 8: Drugs Test
This is the final step before being selected for fire academy training.
Step 9: Fire Academy Training
Fire academy training takes about 5 to 6 months to complete.
Step 10: Become a Licensed EMT
You must earn your EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) credentials before joining your department as a trained firefighter.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in Alaska?
If you want to join a fire unit right after high school, then it takes about 1 year to complete the selection and training procedures. However, if you want to get some specialized education first, then you are looking at a timeframe of 2 to 5 years.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Firefighter in Alaska?
The following criteria must be fulfilled to become a Firefighter in Alaska.
Minimum age of 18.
Graduation from high school.
Possession of a valid Alaska driver’s license.
Hold legal American citizenship.
Complete a Paramedic or EMT certification.
Not have a criminal record.
How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Firefighter in Alaska?
The latest records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that firefighters in Alaska took home $54,380 in annual mean wage in 2019.