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How to Become A Firefighter in West Virginia

According to the data reported by the US Fire Administration in 2018, the state of West Virginia had 4.9 deaths and 11.2 injuries per 1,000 fires. Whereas, 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 is home to 408 Fire Departments/Stations and 850 Firefighters. The firefighters of West Virginia are mandated to acquire Firefighter I or II certification upon successful hiring.  It is also mandatory for Firefighters in this state to become certified as EMTs. All other hiring requirements for this profession are detailed below.

Education Required

High School Diploma or a GED (at least)

Major Requirement

Fire Science


EMT and Firefighter I/II certification


Fire Academy Training is mandatory

Key Skills

Courage, Communication, Physical Strength & Stamina, Compassion, and Decision making, etc.

Annual Mean Salary (2019) -

West Virginia


Annual Mean Salary (2019) -



Job Outlook (2018-2028)


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

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 5% employment growth for Firefighters in the US from 2018 to 2028. In addition to that, 324,620 Firefighters were working in the US in 2019 and this figure is expected to rise by up to 350,000 by 2028.

Steps to Becoming a Firefighter in West Virginia

Firefighters are highly trained experts and above all, fearless individuals who risk their lives to rescue others. If you want to join this profession, here is a career guide that explains how you can become one.

1.      Obtain a High School Diploma or a GED

All aspiring candidates must earn at least a High School degree or a GED before applying to become a Firefighter. It is important to know that the local fire department/stations set additional hiring requirements which demand candidates to get at least a college degree in Fire Science (such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree).

2.      Get Certified as an EMT

The state of West Virginia requires its firefighters to be certified as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). This certification must be earned before applying for this career.

3.      Clear the State-required Tests

All candidates must clear:

  • A background check - have a clear criminal record
  • Provide proof of fitness - pass a physical exam and psychological evaluation
  • Clear a drug test
  • Pass the Candidates’ Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

4.      Earn Firefighter I or II certification at a Fire Academy

West Virginia Public Service Training (WVPST) is responsible for providing training to approximately 45,000 emergency responders in this state. All Firefighter recruits must train at a Fire Academy and earn Firefighter I or II certification to be cleared for the fieldwork.

Duration to Become a Firefighter in West Virginia

If you apply for this career right after graduating from high school or obtaining a GED, you may get hired in about 4 to 6 months. Since the hiring requirements vary for each fire department/station, you may need to earn a college degree in Fire Science. In that case, this duration may differ on a case by case basis.

Requirements of Becoming a Firefighter in West Virginia

If you want to work as a Firefighter in the state of West Virginia, you must:

  • Be a legal US citizen
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Possess a valid West Virginia driver’s license
  • Hold a high school diploma or a GED, at least
  • Have no criminal record
  • Pass a physical exam and a psychological assessment
  • Pass the CPAT
  • Clear a drug screening
  • Obtain the Firefighter I or II Certification
  • Get certified as an EMT

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

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters in West Virginia earned $36,890 (annual mean income) in 2019.

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