How To Become A Firefighter In Wyoming

Wyoming is a vast state dominated by its natural landscape, and despite its relatively low population many ask how to become a firefighter in Wyoming.

It may be the 10th largest in the country but it is also the second most sparsely populated. In 2018, it was estimated that 577,737 people in total were living in the state.  When compared to many of the west coast states, this is very small.

How to Become a Firefighter in Wyoming

  • 18 years old
  • High school education or GED
  • A Wyoming state driver’s license

As you can see, there aren’t too many requirements for new recruits to get their foot in the door and start training. There are many positions for volunteer, paid on-call and career firefighters depending on the area.

Volunteers can get away with fewer qualifications while career firefighters need a little more knowledge and skills to get hired.

Below I will look at the two sides of becoming a firefighter in Wyoming. First, there is the rural side in the national parks. Then there is the urban side in Wyoming’s major cities.

Firefighting in Rural Wyoming

The state of Wyoming is one dominated by its natural landscape. This is where tourists come to explore the mountains and parks and get away from the stress of the suburbia.

Yet, these natural landscapes often have their own hidden dangers.

Wildfires and other natural events can put lives and properties at risk across the state. There is nowhere where this is more significant in Wyoming than in Yellowstone National Park.

This park is one of the country’s greatest natural gems and around 90% of its area lies within Wyoming. It is up to the National Park Service and its firefighters to keep it safe from the ever-increasing risk of wildfire and from the fires caused by careless campers and visitors.

The National Park Service relies on trained wildland firefighters, their own fire departments and the Forest Service dispatch team to come together in times of crisis.

The Wyoming Park system is an intense operation with crews on the ground managing the fires, park service helicopters and communications systems. The better the training and strategy here, the better the outcome for the park and any nearby residents.

Any new applicant that wants to help protect these vital natural resources can enjoy their time in this organization and develop their skills among veterans.

When not battling fires, crew members can work with the public on fire prevention initiatives and other community projects. You can learn more about the opportunities involved in this program by following this link.

Become a Yellowstone Firefighter

There is a fire department in Yellowstone that works diligently around the year to keep the area safe from wildfire and other threats.

It just takes one careless visitor with a cigarette or a disposable BBQ to put the park at risk. Here a team of crew members is on-call to work on fire suppression and rescue but also to help with safety and prevention measures in the park.

At the moment, there are 60 paid per call firefighter here and one career firefighter.

This means that you wouldn’t work for free, like most volunteer firefighters in Wyoming, but you wouldn’t get a regular salary or some other perks.

This could be the ideal option for those that want to pursue a career in the fire service while following their passion for the great outdoors.

Becoming a Firefighter in Urban Wyoming

Of course, there is more to this state than just the parks and mountains. Although sparsely populated, Wyoming is home to a handful of major cities with large populations.

These citizens, with their homes and businesses, require constant protection from firefighters.

All recruits here must get the same level of training and work to the same standard as those in any other state in America. Therefore, the need to begin at the right fire academy.

Fire Academies in Wyoming

There aren’t too many options for training in Wyoming because there are so few established fire training centers or fire courses.

However, there are options across the country where students can enjoy a great education. It is worthwhile talking to your local community college or fire department to see if they have any additional training programs or skills courses on offer.

The Riverton Fire Academy in Wyoming provides the opportunity to obtain Firefighter 1 certification. The course gives new applicants the chance to learn all the skills and theoretical information necessary to start their career in the Wyoming fire service.

One of the selling points of this course for recruits is that it is all done online. This means that you can be out in a rural town and still access the information while working at a volunteer department.

The modules are self-paced with weekly assignments. By the end, you should have the knowledge and skill to be able to pass the state Firefighter 1 exam. This level of accessibility is great for those that don’t want to relocate just for training.

Any volunteer firefighters should head to the Fire Academy site to learn more about the requirements to sign up.  Find out more here.

An alternative option is to train the state-of-the-art facility located in the state capital – Cheyenne. The city is proud of this training center because there is no other like it in the state.

This is a purpose-built academy that houses everything in one facility. That means the classrooms, a fire station and training buildings for structural burns.

It is the ideal place for new recruits to learn to work together and train on the equipment in a safe and controlled environment. It is the next best thing to on-the-job training with a career department.

Students here can take on between 600-800 hours of training over a 16 week period – so it is pretty intensive training.

However, the hard work is worth it as graduates are eligible for their Firefighter I & Firefighter II, Hazmat Operations and Rescue Awareness certificates.

Major Fire Departments in Wyoming

The following is some information on two of the most prolific fire departments in Wyoming.

How to Become a Cheyenne, WY Firefighter

  • 18 years old
  • High school education or GED
  • A Wyoming state driver’s license

Cheyenne will always be one of the most popular places to serve because it is the capital and the most populated city in the state. This means more citizens to serve, more opportunities to learn and perhaps better career prospects.

The Cheyenne Fire Rescue Department looks after a population of 64,019 residents in a very small area of 29.64 square miles.

There are currently five divisions, including the fire rescue and training operations, with around 91 members. This is where new recruits can get some of the best experience as a firefighter.

How to Become a Riverton, WY Firefighter

  • 18 years old
  • High school education or GED
  • A Wyoming state driver’s license

Another city-based option is Riverton.

The main difference here is that the crew is 100% volunteer. However, the department insists that they always train recruits to the highest standard.

Therefore, this could be a good entry point for those that want to progress from their gentle volunteer role into something a little more fast-paced.

The department has existed for over 100 years and has developed to bring in more departments to meet the needs of citizens. This includes their water rescue and hazardous material teams.

There may only be 23,000 people in the 120 square miles of Riverton but that still means a lot of potential house fires, commercial building fire and accidents.

The department also supports a 10 mile radius of communities outside the city.

Job Prospects for Firefighters in Wyoming

There were 540 firefighters alone working in Wyoming in 2018, according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor statistics.

This accounted for 1.99 posts per 1000 jobs.

Opportunities here are minimal simply because the state is so sparsely populated and there are so few opportunities in urban settings. Wildland opportunities do offer some additional prospects.

The annual mean wage here isn’t one of the highest nor the lowest. In 2018, the figure reached. $43,810.

It is easy to look at Wyoming and wonder how aspiring firefighters will succeed and have successful, well-paying careers.

There aren’t that many job opportunities in the state and the pay isn’t the best. But, those that are eager to enter the profession do have different ways of getting started.

Those that want to work in small communities as volunteers have few restrictions. Wildfire training and paid per-call Yellowstone positions offer a unique opportunity in a national park.

Take a closer look at the training options, contact the local department about experience and vacancies if you’re interested in how to become a firefighter in Wyoming.