How Much Does Firefighting School Cost?
Some fire departments simply require a high school diploma to apply for the firefighter position. However, the very exacting hiring process can make this educational preparation insufficient. This is why other departments also require completion of postgraduate degree in fire science or related fields before accepting applicants for some firefighter positions. Even if a high school diploma qualifies, many aspiring firefighters have found that obtaining fire science training helps prepare them for the rigors that they will encounter during the testing and interview phase which are requisites to enter the profession.
Going to firefighting school naturally entails financial investment on your part. You’ll have to take into consideration the cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies, materials and gear so you can successfully complete the requirements of the course. In addition, you also need to factor in the cost of housing and food while you’re obtaining your training.
To give you an idea of how much you can expect to spend to obtain firefighter training, let’s take a look at some examples. The Fire Recruit Academy at the Fire Services Emergency Services Training Institute of the Texas A & M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) has a 12-week program that prepares students for entry-level firefighter jobs. The tuition cost for all students is $5,300. Other costs include bunker gear purchase or rental which can range from $400 to $1,500; uniforms at $150 to $300 and books and class supplies which can cost anywhere from $100 to $200. At McHenry County College, an associate’s degree in fire science is a six-semester course which has a total tuition cost of $5,856 for in-district students, $21,110 for out-of-district students and $26,865 for both out-of-state and international students. Additional costs total $2,984.
If you’re already working and are contemplating a career change as a firefighter, you don’t have to quit your job just to be able to get firefighting training. There are schools offering online programs for aspiring firefighters. TEEX, for example, also offers online firefighter training to those who can’t commit the same time schedule for face-to-face training. However, students must still complete a 21-day boot camp so they can comply with the physical training and hands-on requirements of the course. Waldorf College, on the other hand, offers an online bachelor’s degree in fire science course. The total tuition cost for the program is $29,335. This includes tuition, fees and transportation costs.
The good thing about taking the online route is that it enables you to continue to work while you’re getting your degree at the same time. Having a fulltime job will allow you to pay for your tuition and other costs and not have to depend greatly on student loans to fund firefighting school. You also don’t have to make any changes regarding your living arrangements and move near the school where you will be studying.
Another way to lessen the cost of firefighting school is to inquire about financial aid options. Check out scholarship and grant opportunities that you could be eligible for. If you are a member of the military or are a military spouse, you may be eligible for discounts or other forms of financial aid. Talk with the financial aid advisor of the school to know your options.