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 Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the mean annual wage for firefighters was $60,390 in 2023. The bottom 10 percentage of firefighters made $31,600, and the top 10 percentage earned $93,720 or more.

The top paying industries in this field in 2023 were:

  • Petroleum and Coal Manufacturing
  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution
  • Support Activities for Mining
  • Scientific Research and Development Services
  • Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing

States with the highest employment levels for firefighters are: