What does a firefighter do? With every call they go on, firefighters put their lives at risk saving others. You’ll respond to emergencies as part of a team of first responders.
- You’ll drive an emergency vehicle.
- Connect the hose to the hydrant.
- Using tools of the trade, such as a hose and an ax, you’ll access areas and put fires out.
- Search and rescue.
- Take care of sick or injured victims.
- Prepare detailed reports.
- Make sure the equipment is cleaned and in working order.
- Run drills.
- Work out.
You’ll work, eat, and sleep at the fire station when you’re on duty. Twenty-four hour shifts are not uncommon, with a two- or three-day breather in between. And then there are some who work ten hours on and fourteen off. Overtime is definitely a part of a firefighters life.
Becoming a Firefighter
Facing danger daily comes with the job. So does being highly trained. You have to be; there’s too much at stake when you’re a firefighter.
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- A valid drivers license is necessary.
- A high school diploma or GED is needed.
- If you’re already a certified emergency medical technician, then you’re one step closer to the job.
- To be an entry-level firefighter, you need to train at an academy either through a department or through your state.
- Preliminary training lasts a few months.
- Woodland firefighters train up to four years.
- Working as a volunteer firefighter may get you a job quicker.
- The career ladder goes: firefighter, engineer, lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, deputy chief, and chief.
- A bachelor’s degree in fire science, public administration, or a related field, is starting to become a requirement for promotions.
How Much Money Do Firefighters Earn?
The median wage for firefighters is over $48K, which means half the occupation may make more and half may make less. The top 10 percent will earn over $81K. The top paying industries are the Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing, Remediation and Other Waste Management Services, and Other Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing.
Are Jobs Available?
Structures are being built with better, less flammable materials, which means there has been a decrease in fires. However, firefighters are still needed, because flames happen. Career growth is expected to be average, but there will be 23,500 open jobs through 2026. People leaving the positions will make up the bulk of the available jobs. The local government and other support types of services will host the most positions. Maine, Rhode Island, Ohio, North Carolina, and Massachusetts are the states with the highest concentration of jobs.