There are many areas of expertise in the fire job sector, including fire safety, fire prevention, firefighting, fire investigation and fire inspection. Most employers in the field are government-based, however, there are some private firms that deal with fire prevention. Depending on the position, fire professionals do a wide variety of duties.
Daily tasks for fire jobs include:
Controlling fires and responding to other emergencies
Examining buildings to detect fire hazards and making sure buildings are up to code with local, state and federal laws
Determining the origin and cause of fires and explosions
Handling calls from the public and dispatching appropriate fire and emergency services
Designing and implementing solutions to reduce the risk of fire or damage from fire
Depending on the interest of potential candidates, job opportunities are numerous. For those holding a college degree, one of the highest earning fire-affiliated professions is fire safety engineer.
Fire Job Education Requirements
The fire-related job market has a wide range of necessary education. Most jobs require a minimum of a high school diploma or GED equivalent for employment. These jobs include firefighter, fire inspector, fire dispatcher or fire investigator. Despite the lack of need for a bachelor's degree, most of these positions require extensive on-the-job training or certification.
To become a firefighter, candidates need to pass written and physical examinations, as well as emergency medical technician training and CPR training. Many firefighters also choose to attend specialized fire schools, especially if working with forest fires. Fire safety inspectors and investigators attend academies to obtain the necessary training on laws and building codes. Fire dispatchers often obtain certifications for their position.
One of the only fire-related jobs that requires a four year degree is a fire safety engineer. These professionals have a degree in fire safety engineering or an engineering-related field. The position also requires a license issued by the state.
Fire Job Market
The fire job market, on the whole, is expected to grow between six and nine percent over the next 10 years, which is much lower than the national average for all other occupations. However, many of these positions experience high turnover due to high stress levels.
Fire Job Salary Information
Fire jobs have a wide variance with respect to salary. Fire dispatchers earn an average salary of $36,300 a year, firefighters earn about $45,250 a year, and fire inspectors and investigators make an average of $53,990 annually. A fire chief can easily earn a six figure salary, while a fire safety engineer receives an average of $85,000 yearly.