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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Fighters in Rapid City, South Dakota

Fire fighters can find many career and educational opportunities in the Rapid City, South Dakota area. There are currently 450 jobs for fire fighters in South Dakota and this is projected to grow by 5% to 470 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for fire fighters, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.5% over the next eight years. Fire fighters generally control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Income for fire fighters is about $18 hourly or $38,070 yearly on average in South Dakota. Nationally, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,260 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as fire fighters in South Dakota earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. Jobs in this field include: fire lieutenant, apparatus operator, and firefighter/emt.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Rapid City where you can study to be a fire fighter, among six schools of higher education total in the Rapid City area. Given that the most common education level for fire fighters is a post-secondary certificate, it will take a short time to learn to be a fire fighter if you already have a high school diploma.


In general, fire fighters control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Fire fighters decide on and attach hose nozzles, depending on fire type, and direct streams of water or chemicals onto fires. They also lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies. Equally important, fire fighters have to respond to fire alarms and other calls for assistance. They are often called upon to dress with equipment such as fire resistant clothing and breathing apparatus. They are expected to clean and maintain fire stations and fire fighting equipment and apparatus. Finally, fire fighters ready written reports that detail specifics of fire incidents.

Every day, fire fighters are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to respond quickly in general. It is also important that they exert themselves over and over again for long periods of time.

It is important for fire fighters to spray foam onto runways and rescue aircraft crew and passengers in air-crash emergencies. They are often called upon to examine buildings for fire hazards and adherence to fire prevention ordinances, testing and checking smoke alarms and fire suppression equipment as needed. They also salvage property by removing broken glass, pumping out water, and ventilating buildings to remove smoke. They are sometimes expected to establish firelines to inhibit unauthorized persons from entering areas near fires. Somewhat less frequently, fire fighters are also expected to examine fire sites after flames have been extinguished to insure that there is no further danger.

Fire fighters sometimes are asked to protect property from water and smoke using waterproof salvage covers and deodorants. They also have to be able to take action to contain hazardous chemicals that might catch fire or spill and participate in courses, seminars and conferences, and study fire science literature, to learn firefighting techniques. And finally, they sometimes have to lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies.

Like many other jobs, fire fighters must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Rapid City include:

  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • 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.
  • Forest Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
  • Lifeguard. Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.


Western Dakota Technical Institute - Rapid City, SD

Western Dakota Technical Institute, 800 Mickelson Dr, Rapid City, SD 57703-4018. Western Dakota Technical Institute is a small school located in Rapid City, South Dakota. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 959 students and an admission rate of 97%. Western Dakota Technical Institute has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eleven students 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota photo by Xnatedawgx

Rapid City is situated in Pennington County, South Dakota. It has a population of over 65,491, which has grown by 9.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Rapid City, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Rapid City are priced at $147,700 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, one hundred ninety-eight new homes were constructed in Rapid City, down from two hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Rapid City are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 26.7% of Rapid City residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Rapid City is 5.7%, which is greater than South Dakota's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Rapid City residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 62.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church.

Rapid City is home to the Lazy J RV Park and Campground and the Pioneer Museum as well as College Park and Dinosaur Park. Shopping malls in the area include Haines Station Shopping Center, Baken Park Shopping Center and Baken Park Shopping Center. Visitors to Rapid City can choose from Lazy U Motel, Stardust Motel and Motel Town House for temporary stays in the area.