Minnesota has a total of 714 fire departments employing approximately 5,700 firefighters and 180 fire inspectors and investigators as of May 2013. Firefighters are responsible for not only preventing and fighting fires, but also investigating fires and determining the causes of natural and man-made blazes. Some firefighters also undergo extra training and certification to become an emergency medical technician or paramedic as well.

The salaries of firefighters in Minnesota vary depending on various factors such as education, experience, and certification levels. Take a look at average salary figures for firefighters, fire inspectors and investigators, and fire service supervisors in the state below.

Minnesota Fire Service Careers 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Firefighters $18,560 $28,130 $56,350
Fire Inspectors and Investigators $43,910 $64,230 $78,810
Fire Service Supervisors $30,970 $46,720 $78,070


Minnesota offers five accredited colleges with fire science training and associate degree programs. These programs are great for those wanting to get a glimpse of what the firefighting field is all about. Students can expect to learn the fundamentals of fire science history, fire chemistry, and firefighting tools handling, for example.

The state requires prospective firefighters to have a high school diploma, pass a background and criminal history exam, drug test, have a Minnesota driver’s license, and working proficiency with computers. Also, students will need to acquire a Fire Fighter I certificate before applying to be a firefighter. This certificate can be earned after taking a written test and some practical skill evaluations. Before taking the test, students enroll in an academic course in fire science that will prepare them for it.

Entry-level firefighting positions do not require an associate degree, however, it is highly recommended for those who want to take on higher-level positions. Candidates with higher education will be highly considered for medium to advanced level positions in the profession.


Aspiring and current firefighters in Minnesota can pursue a certificate or degree in fire science at any of the five colleges listed below.


Online learning is an option for Minnesota students, especially for those who are looking to pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree in fire science. Because the state does not have a bachelor’s degree program at any of their five colleges, students are encouraged to apply to out-of-state colleges that do offer online classes toward a fire science degree. A viable college option is Columbia Southern University, which offers plenty of online fire science classes and a bachelor’s degree in fire administration. Because firefighting is a hands-on job, students studying online will have to inquire their local fire department to see how and where they can obtain the hands-on experience component of their online education.

Firefighters with a bachelor’s degree in fire science can apply to higher-level positions that offer competitive salaries in Minnesota. These roles generally involve management and supervising, so leadership skills are just as vital as higher education.