How To Become A Firefighter In Nevada

If you’ve ever asked yourself how to become a firefighter in Nevada, you’re not alone. The state of Nevada is one of contrasts. On the one hand, there is all the dusty, dry rural landscape. On the other, there are bold, bright cities such as Las Vegas.

Both have their own major fire risks. One is prone to wildfires and the other is crammed with residents and busy tourist sites.

This means, Nevada fire departments need the very best personnel on-staff to deal with emergencies. Below I will go into more detail about some of the requirements to become a firefighter in Nevada. I will also discuss some of the training options and major departments in the state.

How To Become A Firefighter In Nevada

  • 18 years or older
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Emergency Medical Technician certification
  • Pass a physical agility test

After the getting the minimum requirements, applicants that meet these criteria will also be expected to undergo a series of screening procedures and examinations to ensure that they are suitable.

Many of these are pretty standard across the state. You can expect to take a written examination to showcase your comprehension skills and aptitude level.

There are also medical and physical agility tests (such as the CPAT) to prove you’re capable of doing the job. There are also background checks, suitability examinations and an oral board interview.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider why applying to be a firefighter in Nevada. The rules above come from the Clark County guide. You can learn more about their regulations here.

Individual stations will have their own personal preferences and some differences in hiring requirements, so it’s important to check with those departments.

However, this is a good guide to get you started because so many departments hire recruits from the same pool.

Clark County, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City fire departments all use the Southern Nevada Fire Recruitment service.

Physical ability is one of the most important aspects of the hiring process in Nevada. 

Reno says the CPAT is the “most important” minimum requirement.  Fail this and you can’t progress any further. There is also a fairly standard medical exam.

The use of tobacco products as a firefighter is something that many departments are paying closer attention to nationwide. But, the rules can vary.

Some are content to warn applicants not to use tobacco products while on the job. Others have an outright ban.

Fire Academies in Nevada

Regardless of the department you are hired to work at, you need to be sure of finding the best firefighting education.

Basic training at fire academies is a good starting point but there are other skills and certificates to earn. Nevada has a few major fire training facilities and colleges that offer a great education to new applicants.

Anyone that wants to train in Las Vegas should consider attending the College of Southern Nevada for the Fire Fighting Certificate. The course is run in partnership with the Nevada State Fire Marshal to help new students obtain their Firefighter 1 Certificate.

The course will offer information and training situations in a range of important skills.

This means some of the basics of how to handle equipment and some of the strategies for different emergencies. You can find out more about the course and its objectives here.

The alternative option for new recruits is to train in one of the departments. Some major departments will put new applicants through their paces with their own entry-level course.

This ensures that each recruit receives the same training and meets the standards of that particular department.

One such example is the Clark County Fire Academy. This facility trains new recruits to an entry-level standard in-line with the NFPA.

The course runs for around 14 to 16 weeks to give newcomers a taste of everything they need before entering the fire service and tackling emergencies.

Those that pass this course can go on to take their test for the Firefighter 1 certification and even Firefighter 2.

Therefore, this is a great stepping stone into this new career. Anyone in the Clark County area that is interested in this option should follow this link.

Wildland Firefighter Training In Nevada

The dry rural regions of Nevada are prone to wildfires and it takes a specially trained crews to handle them.

The Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno offers a Wildland Fire Training Program in partnership with both the National Wildfire Coordination Group (NWCG) and FEMA.

These classes provide vital information on how to handle these situations in an effective, professional manner.

Furthermore, Firefighter 1 students that take this course can then receive 15 credits towards a Fire Technology Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.

You learn more via this link.

Major Fire Departments in Nevada.

While there are several fairly large fire departments in Nevada, there are two in particular that stand out.  They are Las Vegas Fire Department and Reno Fire Department.  Next we’ll go over their qualifications and a little bit about what you can expect if you are hired by either department.

How to Become a Las Vegas Firefighter:

  • 18 or older
  • High school diploma or GED,
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Nevada State or National Registry Emergency Medical Technician certificate

Naturally, many new firefighter recruits will be interested in the potential of signing up in Las Vegas. The bright lights and noise of this city mean that there is something magical about the place.

It brings in tourists from across the world with its built-up entertainment complexes, grand casinos and a strips of neon.

The combination of the vast population, the potential electrical faults, accidental fires and vehicular incidents mean that fire stations here are always busy.

The city of Las Vegas is 141.9 square miles in total and growing. There are roughly 652,000 residents and millions of tourists in this area to look after around the clock.

That is why there are 705 employees on call at 21 stations across the city. There were 105,132 responses in 2018 alone with 12 of those classed as multiple alarm fires.

Amazingly, there were just 5 fatalities. This highlighted the ability of these crews in both fire suppression and the rescue operations.

Teams here need to be able to handle major blazes, structural damage and life-saving aid.

The minimum requirements here were quite basic. But, there are plans to introduce an EMT certification to that list as well.

You can learn more about this department by following this link.

How to Become A Reno, NV Firefighter:

  • 18 years or older
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Emergency Medical Technician certification
  • Pass a physical agility test

The Reno requirements are pretty much the same as the basic state guidelines. A high school education is a must, and additional firefighting training will always be preferred for career roles.

Applicants must be at least 18 with a valid driver’s license and physically fit. As I mentioned above, they take your fitness level very seriously here.

Another difference here is that this city already has that rule where candidates must possess their EMT or National Registry certificate for medical skills.

Reno is the “Biggest Little City in the World”.

There is a large area for firefighters to cover here and the Reno department also extends into Truckee Meadows.

This means that there are 24 stations in total – more than in Las Vegas – 14 of which are in Reno itself.

As of 2018, the estimated population was 250,998 over a landmass of 103 square miles.

They undergo regular training and drills to handle anything from structural fires to brush fires.

You can learn more by heading to their department website:

Job Prospects for Nevada Firefighters

In 2018, Nevada was named the fifth-highest payer for firefighters with an annual mean wage of $66,830 and hourly rate of $32.13.

But, this is significantly lower than the figures for fourth-placed New York. There, firefighters received $73,710 annual and 35.44 hourly. What makes this official stat from the Bureau of Labor Statistic interesting is that both Las Vegas and Clark County quote different figures.

Perhaps the rates have dropped?

Las Vegas offers a base salary of $47,321 and Clark County $44,565.30.

The prospects for those that wonder how to become a firefighter in Nevada don’t quite meet the national average. However, there are some great opportunities across the state for new trainees.

The different academies and colleges can help newcomers get a leg up and learn the basics of the trade.

From there, each major department will help you take that further with some on-the-job experience and further training.

It doesn’t take much to get into these programs if you are old enough, fit enough and willing to put in a lot of hard work.