Job opportunities are available in small or large municipal fire departments, fire protection districts or industrial fire departments. Depending on your level of continued education, possible career paths include:
The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook details working conditions, training, employment and job outlook for firefighting occupations.
Employment of firefighters is expected to grow faster than average — 14 to 20 percent — through 2016.
Firefighters work in a variety of settings, including:
Between alarms, firefighters clean and maintain equipment, conduct practice drills and fire inspections, and participate in physical fitness activities. They also prepare written reports on fire incidents and review fire science literature to keep abreast of technological developments and changing administrative practices and policies.
Prospective firefighters are expected to face keen competition for available job openings. Applicants with the best opportunities are those who are physically fit and score the highest on physical conditioning and mechanical aptitude exams. Those who have completed some firefighter education at a community college and have EMT certification will have an advantage in the job search.
Job Titles and Descriptions
America’s Career InfoNet and the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook give detailed information about the skills, abilities, work activities and recommended education for jobs in fields using skills that can be learned in the Fire Protection Technology program, which may include:
Salaries and Projected Job Growth
According to America’s Career InfoNet, fire protection-related jobs offer the following average salaries nationwide. Your professional advancement will depend on your level of continued education and work experience, along with the size of city and part of the country that you work in.
|Job||Hourly Rate||Annual Salary||Projected Growth Through 2016|
|EMTs and paramedics||
|$30,000||+9% (+28% in Texas)|
|Firefighters||$21.66||$45,100||+19% (+21% in Texas)|
|Fire inspectors and investigators||$25.83||$53,700||+9%|
|First-line supervisors of firefighters and prevention workers||$32.81||$68,200||+8% (+21% in Texas)|
|Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists||$15.83||$32,900||+8%|
|Police and sheriff’s patrol officers||$25.58||$53,200||+9% (+20% in Texas)|