Wildland Fire Job Qualifications
The answer depends on your work experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities. To assist you in locating the wildland firefighting jobs you might qualify for, you can search www.USAJobs.gov for wildland firefighting vacancy announcements. You will find a list of jobs and the specific qualifications needed for them. Also, please see the Fire Management Career Ladder and job descriptions which can assist you in determining which job may be best for you.
Wildland fire jobs are typically GS or General Schedule positions (US civil service pay scale) and more information is available at OPM about classification and qualifications. However, a quick summary of this system is that the GS is separated into 15 grades (GS-1, GS-2, etc. up to GS-15); each grade is separated into 10 steps. The GS-1 through GS-7 range generally marks entry-level positions, while mid-level positions are in the GS-8 to GS-12 range and top-level positions are in the GS-13 to GS-15 range. Military grade equivalencies for pay and protocol comparisons are available on the web but military rank or civilian grade often have no bearing on supervisory precedence. Precedence and authority are guided by previous experience. For example, a GS-9 can be considered comparable to a lieutenant (O-2) but it is based on work experience.
You can also apply to work as an AD employee (emergency hire) at your local Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, or other wildland fire agency. Taking preparatory classes can also help. Listed below are the minimum interagency qualifications requirements to become a first year wildland firefighter, some of which are available online:
*Note: The Annual Fireline Safety Refresher (RT-130) is not required for the first year as a Firefighter Type 2 (FFT2); however, it is required for subsequent years.
- IS-100.B: Introduction to Incident Command System, ICS-100
- IS-700.A: National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction
- S-110: Basic Wildland Fire Orientation, 2003
- S-190: Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior (online), 2012
- S-130: Firefighter Training (Blended), 2008
- L-180: Human Factors in the Wildland Fire Service
- RT-130: Annual Fireline Safety Refresher