- Typical Entry-Level Education: Postsecondary nondegree award
- Work Experience in a Related Occupation: None
- Median Pay: $46,870 per year $22.53 per hour
- Number of Jobs, 2014: 327,300
- On-the-job Training: Long-term on-the-job training
Understanding of crisis management, fire suppression and extinguishment methods
Preparedness to conduct a proper fire scene investigation
Necessary skills required for employment with the Fire Service including management positions
Ability to perform community service for protection of life and property
Prospective firefighters must pass written and physical tests, complete a series of interviews, go through training at a fire academy, and hold an emergency medical technician (EMT) certification. Applicants for firefighter jobs typically must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license.
Fire fighters spend quite a bit of their time at the fire station where they are assigned. Fire stations are somewhat similar to dormitories. Regardless of the hour or the weather conditions, when an alarm sounds, fire fighters have to respond immediatesly. Fire figheters are always on call. Unlike most careers, fire fighting involves a high risk of injury or even death. Common causes of both injury and death to firefighters include walls toppling over, floors caving in, traffic accidents, smoke inhalation and exposure to flames. In addition, fire fighters may come into contact with various flammable, poisonous, or explosive chemicals and gases, as well as radioactive materials, all of which may cause severe injury or death. Consequently, firefighters must wear unconfortable protective gear that is often hot and heavy.
Since firefighters devote their lives to helping other people, it can be a very rewarding career. In addition, usually only a high school diploma or a 2 year degree is required to be a firefighter. As a result, workers can assume a lot of responsibility at a young age. Firefighters are not limited to jobs at a firehouse. Many work in forests, factories, and airports.Generally, potential firefighters only need a high school diploma before applying; however, more and more fire departments are now requiring a 2 year associates degree in fire science or fire prevention. A bachelor's degree in fire science or a related field may greatly improve an applicant's chances for a job. An increasing number of colleges and universities now offer courses leading to 2-year or 4-year degrees in fire science or engineering. For those interested in a job as a fire investigator, an undergraduate degree in Forensic Science and Technology, Crime Scene Investigation, Emergency Crisis Management or Fire Services Administration can be useful.