A firefighter can be employed by the state or federal government or by local government agencies. A firefighter's role is to assist with limiting and controlling fires, providing education and training for members of local communities to reduce fire danger and risk, inspecting and testing fire response equipment (fire extinguishers, hydrants, etc.), and maintaining the fire station, equipment, and local grounds. A firefighter must be in good physical condition, because one of the required job duties is lifting people and getting them out of buildings on fire. In some fire situations, people who have inhaled a lot of smoke will be unable to stand or walk out of a blazing building. This job can also be dangerous.
Firefighter Job Education Requirements
To become eligible to apply for a firefighter position, a candidate must complete a high school diploma or equivalent and a program at a fire training academy. This educational program will involve courses related to fire-fighting equipment handling and repair, appropriate response practices, and the science behind fires and what can cause them in the outdoors as well as in homes and buildings. Many firefighters are also certified emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
Firefighter Job Market
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a growth of 7 percent for firefighters between 2012 and 2022. This translates to more than 20,000 new positions that should become available for qualified applicants. The job outlook is increasing slightly slower than average across all industries.
Firefighter Job Salary Information
The median pay for a firefighter is $45,250 per year. Some firefighters who work nights, weekends, and/or holidays can qualify for higher hourly rates. Most firefighters also work more than 40 hours a week and take shifts where they are on call for 24 hours straight. During these shifts, firefighters must stay at the fire station throughout the full period of time, including to eat and sleep.