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How To Become a Firefighter in Oklahoma (OK)

This article was prepared for those who want to know how to become a firefighter in Oklahoma. The fire service in the state of Oklahoma is not very competitive, and it’s relatively easy to get hired when compared to other states.

Locating Fire Departments in Oklahoma

Your first step should be figuring out which Oklahoma fire department you’d like to apply to. Use this list to choose from among the hundreds of departments available, incluing contacts details, number of currently employed firefighters, number of fire stations, and more.

Requirements To Become a Firefighter in Oklahoma

General requirements for becoming a professional firefighter in Oklahoma vary from department to another, more so than in most other states. For the most accurate information you should therefor contact your fire department of choice and inquire about their requirements. However, below is a list of those requirements you are most likely to run into in Oklahoma:

  • Must be between 18 and 44 years old
  • Must posess a high school diploma or an equivalent
  • Should have no feloncy convictions during the 10 years prior to your application date
  • Must have a valid driver’s license issued in the state of Oklahoma
  • An EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certification; usually you don’t have to obtain this prior to applying at the fire department, although you will need to get the certification before your one year probationary firefighter period is over in case you are hired

Who is Given Special Consideration?

This depends on the exact location. For instance, in Oklahoma City, honorably discharged army veterans, as well as those who possess a valid paramedics certification (you must have an EMT to undergo Paramedic training) will be looked upon more favorably by the department during the hiring process. Ask your fire department(s) of choice about any extra certifications or experiences that might increase your odds.

Is a Fire Degree Required To Become a Firefighter in Oklahoma?

A fire degree is not required. Regular firefighter training is required however, and most fire departments in Oklahoma will put you through the training themselves (usually for a fee), after you have successfully passed the application process. This training will usually last around 20-30 weeks.

It’s always a good idea however to get some sort of prior fire education, even if just 60 hours of related training at a community college – if not to differentiate yourself from other candidates, then at least for your own sake – to make you better acquainted with the tasks you’ll be entrusted with, and to make it easier for you to answer certain questions, loosely related to the fire service and which might come up during your oral interview. The more familiar you are with a firefighter’s tasks, firefighting equipment and the service in general, the better your chances and the more comfortable you’ll feel.

Below are two very renowned fire academies in Oklahoma:

You can also consult this list of Oklahoma Colleges and use it to locate fascilities that offer some form of fire training as part of their educational program.

The Application Process

When applying to be a firefighter in Oklahoma, consider that each fire department will have their own hiring schedule. In Oklahoma City for example you can apply a few times a year. You’ll need to fill out and submit a rather detailed application, providing answers to a large number of questions relating to your past work experiences, education and certifications acquired, any past felony convictions, etc.

If you’re application is accepted by the fire department and you are deemed to have met the minimum quirements for becoming a firefighter in that specific Oklahoma firedepartment, you’ll be notified of the next upcoming written exam test.

Written Exam For Aspiring Firefighters in Oklahoma

The written exam is an A/B/C/D multiple-choice test, combined with a comprehensive reading skills test. Typically and again depending on the department, you’ll have around 3 to 4 hours to complete the test. Questions are relatively easy and do not require any former fire service experience or knowledge; they are mostly there to test your reasoning abilities, basic math skills and more.

If you fail the test, you can re-apply at the same fire department, though usually you’ll have to wait a year or so before re-applying – or you can just apply at another department in your immediate area.

Agility And Physical Conditioning Test

You will be required to submit your CPAT certification to prove you are in good enough physical shape to properly carry out the duties of a professional firefighter. A CPAT test can be performed at hunreds of different locations across the country; the cost is around $150 and includes two orientation sessions, 2 timed test runs, and the official timed test as well. You’ll be competing in 8 different challenges included stair climbing, dragging a dummy, crawling in confined spaces, lifting and extending aluminum ladders, and more – all of which need to be completed in 10 minutes and 20 seconds.

Oral Interview Panel

To become a firefighter in Oklahoma, you’ll need to undergo and successfully pass an oral interview conducted by the fire department. Only those who successfully pass the written exam and who have a valid CPAT certification are eligible for the oral interview. Much like any other job interview, the panel will ask you questions about yourself, your past experiences, why you want to be an Oklahoma firefighter, etc. Nothing to be worried about and nothing that would require any preparation or studying beforehand.

Background Check, Physical Exam

If you’ve made it this far, things are hopefully almost over for you. A thorough background check will be conducted, wherein everything you have mentioned in your application when you applied to become a firefighter will be checked in great detail, with some help from state police. Depending on the fire department, you may also have to go through a poligraph test, wherein you’ll be asked questions related to the information you provided in your application to confirm how truthful you were. (The poligraph test is standard practice in Oklahoma City.) You might also be asked other questions designed to check your character and loyalty. The person conducting the test should go over all the questions with you one by one, explaining any concerns you may have – only after that will you be “connected” to the poligraph and the actual test begins. If you have not lied on your application, you have absolutely no reason to be anything but calm about this test.

A physical exam will also be conducted, as it is required by Oklahoma law that all firefighters should be in top physical shape. Expect to have your body fat levels measured, your urine tested, blood samples taken for analysis, and much more.

You Are Now an Oklahoma Probationary Firefighter

After successfully going through all the steps above, you will offially become a probationary firefighter in the state of Oklahoma. During this time expect to perform many of the duties of a professional firefighter, though there will still be a lot of in-station learning involved, albeit you’ll be allowed to respond to emergency calls and carry out on-scene duties in a limited capacity and under the supervision of more experienced firefighters.

What Is The Average Salary of a Firefighter in Oklahoma?

Firefighter salaries in the state of Oklahoma are not particularly groundbreaking, an they are somewhat lower than the nationwide average. A beginner, probationary firefighter can expect to earn an average of $37,000 per year, and upon completion of the probation period – closer to $45,000 annually. Senior firefighters in Oklahoma will be paid $70,000 a year and higher.

How To Become a Firefighter in Oklahoma

We hope the above will help you in becoming an Oklahoma firefighter, and that you in turn will help your firefighting brothers save the lives and properties of others in Oklahoma. If anything is unclear or if you’d like to learn more, use the comments section below to ask us questions directly.

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