Wildland Firefighting


If you prefer the outdoors to an office, enjoy a change of scenery, don’t mind getting dirty, remain cool under pressure, want variety in your work and find it rewarding to serve others and the environment, wildland firefighting might be your professional calling.

Northern’s certificate program takes you well beyond a basic introduction to this exciting occupation. It combines advanced, hands-on instruction from qualified instructors with high-caliber internships and field experiences.

You will emerge from our program with preparation at the Squad Boss level and 13 national certificates. This “total package” of practical skills and knowledge is appealing to prospective employers. It can lead to limited or long-term seasonal employment in wildland firefighting. It might also be the first step toward a career with a state or federal agency. 

There is a great need for properly trained personnel who can…

  • Extinguish forest fires
  • Prepare firebreaks by removing brush and trimming trees
  • Manage the risk of large flare-ups through controlled burns
  • Rescue victims
  • Participate in fire prevention activities
  • Conduct safety briefings and drills
  • Engage in fire ecology and vegetation management
  • Operate/maintain tools and equipment
  • Help with other natural disasters

Special Opportunities

  • Fire crew course: To learn more about controlled burns and gain hands-on fire management experience, NMU students earn three credits over spring break training with the Florida Park Service and other fire agencies. Learn more about the 3-credit Fire Crew course
  • ​Internships: Northern’s program includes a field experience of at least three months outside of the program. This typically takes the form of a paid summer internship with an agency.
  • Community Service: Help landowners clear some timber from their property as part of the chainsaw class. 
  • Hands-on: All courses have some sort of hands-on component, whether for operating power saws or using water pumps. 
  • Benefit from experience: NMU firefighting professors all have at least 10 years of experience. 


Contact Us

School of Health and Human Performance
201 PEIF