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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Arvada, Colorado

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for forest firefighters in the Arvada, Colorado area. Currently, 4,300 people work as forest firefighters in Colorado. This is expected to grow by 21% to 5,190 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for forest firefighters, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.5% over the next eight years. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Income for forest firefighters is about $24 per hour or $49,960 per year on average in Colorado. Nationally, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,260 per year. Earnings for forest firefighters are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Fire Control in Colorado and not quite as good as general Fire Control category earnings nationally. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: fire fighter, handcrew foreman, and forestry crew chief.

The Arvada area is home to sixty schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Arvada where you can get a degree as a forest firefighter. Given that the most common education level for forest firefighters is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a forest firefighter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Forest Firefighter

Forest Firefighter video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Forest firefighters patrol burned areas after fires to identify and eliminate hot spots that may restart fires. They also extinguish flames and embers to suppress fires, using shovels, or engine- or hand-driven water or chemical pumps. Equally important, forest firefighters have to manage knowledge of current firefighting practices by participating in drills and by attending seminars and conferences. They are often called upon to fell trees, cut and clear brush, and dig trenches to generate firelines, using axes, chainsaws or shovels. They are expected to manage fire equipment and firehouse living quarters. Finally, forest firefighters manage contact with fire dispatchers at all times to notify them of the need for additional firefighters and supplies, or to detail any difficulties encountered.

Every day, forest firefighters are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for forest firefighters to perform forest maintenance and improvement tasks such as cutting brush, planting trees, building trails and marking timber. They are often called upon to inform and educate the public about fire prevention. They also operate pumps connected to high-pressure hoses. They are sometimes expected to transport staff and cargo to and from fire areas. Somewhat less frequently, forest firefighters are also expected to participate in physical training to maintain high levels of physical fitness.

Forest firefighters sometimes are asked to serve as fully trained lead helicopter crewmember and as helispot manager. They also have to be able to observe forest areas from fire lookout towers to spot potential problems and test and maintain tools, equipment, jump gear and parachutes to insure readiness for fire suppression efforts. And finally, they sometimes have to manage fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.

Like many other jobs, forest firefighters must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Arvada include:

  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Fighter. Control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Forest Fire Lookout. Enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. Report forest fires and weather conditions.
  • Lifeguard. Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

Community College of Aurora - Aurora, CO

Community College of Aurora, 16000 E CentreTech Pky, Aurora, CO 80011-9036. Community College of Aurora is a medium sized college located in Aurora, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,217 students. Community College of Aurora has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirty-four and two students respectively in 2008.


Oxygen Administration: Prepares laypersons and professional rescuers with the knowledge and skills needed to know when and how to use supplemental oxygen and breathing devices.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

Incident Safety Officer - Fire Suppression Certification: A fire department incident safety officer's mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Health & Safety Officer Certification: Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Programs.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Special Hazards Suppression Systems: This certification program is designed for engineering technicians engaged in the detailing and layout and/or installation and maintenance related to special hazards suppression systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.


Arvada, Colorado
Arvada, Colorado photo by Lordkinbote

Arvada is situated in Jefferson County, Colorado. It has a population of over 107,361, which has grown by 5.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Arvada, 96, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Arvada are priced at $252,600 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, one hundred nineteen new homes were constructed in Arvada, down from one hundred thirty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Arvada are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 29.0% of Arvada residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Arvada is 7.3%, which is greater than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Arvada residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 35.5%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Charismatic Churches Independent and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Arvada is home to the Arvada Filtration Plant and the Arvada Plaza as well as McLlvoy Park and Ralston Valley Park. Shopping centers in the area include Arvada Square Shopping Center and North Park Shopping Center.