What does a firefighter do? With almost every call they go on, firefighters put their lives at risk saving others. As a firefighter, you’ll respond to emergencies as part of a team of first responders.
Daily Tasks of a Firefighter Can Include
- 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.
Path to 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 annual wage for firefighters was $50,850 in May 2019. The bottom 10% earned close to $25,550, and the top 10% earned more than $92,020.
The top paying industries in this field are:
- Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing
- Scientific Research and Development Services
- Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
- Ship and Boat Building
- Facilities Support Services
Are Firefighter Jobs Available?
Employment of firefighters is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, that’s faster than the average for all occupations.
States with the highest employment levels for firefighters are: