How To Become a Firefighter in Alaska

Colloquially labeled “non-contiguous,” America’s second to last addition as its single biggest land mass once dubbed ‘Seward’s Folly’, and it has made far bigger fools of doubting news media and U.S. citizens since its 1959 acquisition at 2 cents per acre. However, Alaska is technically not detached from the rest of us in spatial terms. Instead, this widespread misperception is a geographical illusion created by 500 miles of inlying Canadian territory between Alaskan and nearest Washington State borders. Besides that Grand Delusion, huge dividends reaped from deep oil reserves hidden in vast icy topographical surfaces drive a $39 billion gross product that ranks Alaska among richest of all United States. This real aggregate sum facilitates a whopping $60, 079 per-capita average gross income to place Last Frontier residents 3rd Place in the nation.

A combination of circumstances that conventionally self-contradict such as having America’s lowest population density but highest single petroleum fuel source makes Alaska THE PLACE would-be firefighters to be who seek best of all possible worlds. To find out how to extract maximum gain from the widest range of wide-open career paths with the highest pay rates, read on fast from this point forward.

How to Become an Alaska Firefighter

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Basic Initial Requirements Across-the-Board

FirefightingAt least 18 years of age
• Reside anywhere inside Alaska State boundaries
• Pass a basic class taught by the Training and Education Bureau (TEB)
• Satisfy minimum Emergency Medical Service (EMS) eligibility requirements

The TEB course is designed to familiarize candidates with fundamental skills, standard protocols, various equipment and special gear essential to professional firefighters. Topics covered include practical tasks such as tying safety knots in ropes or other heavy-duty string used in rescue operations and learning special techniques required to extinguish certain types of fires quickly.

Likewise, EMS training is no less essential, as firefighters must often revive unconscious or assist seriously injured occupants to evacuate burning structures immediately in order to avoid death from toxic smoke inhalation. Other EMS skills taught include treating shock victims and applying pressure to hemorrhaging wounds.

TEB also provides advanced Fire Instructor and Fire Investigator certifications as well as various specialized designations such as Haz Mat Awareness and Marine Firefighter.

Due to harsh environmental conditions of year-round climates with subfreezing weather and sparsely populated rural areas in remote locations amid untamed wild terrain, Alaska firefighters can easily access two unique high-demand career paths.


Alaska always has an urgent need and critical shortage of those to fill this occupational subspecialty with highly trained expertise in preventing and controlling wildland fires. Primary duties require extended time spent performing physically demanding tasks in extremely harsh conditions such as operating chainsaws and emergency vehicles. Thus, you must be in ultra-great shape and have prior volunteer or paid firefighting experience to begin specialized training as an Alaska wildland firefighter.


Oil well firefighters are highly trained to work in one of the world’s most hazardous but vital professions. Drilling natural gas pipelines and oil derricks that go several miles below the Earth’s surface are extremely dangerous operations. At any given moment, huge reservoirs of compressed fluids and volatile gases that have been trapped deep beneath the ground for several million years may suddenly escape to create large-scale explosions. According to a 2011 study by the American Petroleum States, overall demand for skilled oil well firefighters is expected to rise through 2018 with average gross annual salaries as high as $200,000.

Whatever your preferred career path or specialized expertise, being an Alaska firefighter can be quite rewarding in more ways than one. Besides incalculable emotional satisfaction that comes from being instrumental in saving human lives, above-average starting pay over $47,000 per year as of 2008 isn’t too bad either.

For more training information, Visit the Alaska Dept. of Public Safety Fire & Safety Division’s Training and Education Bureau office website.

For the fastest start to tackling America’s Last Frontier as a well-paid firefighting expert, search the following “fire science” and “emergency management” schools and programs.

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