Firefighter Career

firefigher-500The work of a firefighter can be dangerous but the services these community helpers provide is both necessary and invaluable. Not only are they sometimes on call to respond to fires, but they also serve to rescue and account for potential victims inside a burning blaze. In addition, firefighters are often called to assist with the cleaning up of spills relating to accidents related to vehicles carrying hazardous materials.

Firefighters also can be called to employ the use of their hydraulic rescue tools, otherwise known as the Jaws of Life, to extract accident victims from their automobiles. When necessary, firefighters will administer first aid, rescue breathing, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation to wounded persons. They are also sometimes asked to help with the removal of water during floods from basements. In the event of an in-depth search and rescue mission, police will ask for assistance from local fire crews.

Firefighter Career Snapshot

Firefighters tend to spend a great deal of time at the fire station occupied in various duties. They will ride to a situation in a fire truck and can find themselves in a variety of locations, including structure fires, accident scenes, and private residences assisting in cleanup work. It goes without saying that firefighters will find sometimes themselves in risky situations, fighting fires and dealing with toxic fumes.

Further details on a career as a firefighter are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly salary for firefighters.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Post-Secondary certificate while 31% have some college, but no degree.

Firefighter Education

A firefighter needs to have earned their high school diploma or GED, and they need to have received additional instruction in emergency medical services. Prospective candidates must attend classes at a fire academy, and they must complete a series of rigorous physical and written tests. In addition, they must hold a certification of emergency medical technician training.

Firefighter Salaries

The median annual salary for firefighters was $46,870, or $22.53 per hour in May 2015 according to the The lowest 10% earned $23,010, and the highest 10% earned $79,490. This data was collected for the year 2015.

Firefighter Job Outlook

The projected growth for firefighters is average to that of most professions, at 5% to 8%, and there are currently 327,000 people who are employed in this occupation. It is estimated that an additional 112,300 will find employment as firefighters in the next 8 years.

Firefighter Job Duties

Firefighters are to respond to calls from dispatchers and travel to burning residences or commercial buildings. They are to locate a water source and put out fires and are to assist in the rescue of anyone who may be trapped inside. Firefighters are to keep fire stations in good, working order and are to maintain apparatus when not in use fighting fires.

Firefighter Skills & Traits

Firefighter Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Firefighters:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Coordination
• Critical Thinking
• Operation Monitoring
• Monitoring
• Problem Sensitivity
• Reaction Time
• Arm-Hand Steadiness
• Manual Dexterity
• Multilimb Coordination
• Fire extinguishers
• Fire or rescue trucks
• Fire suppression hand tools
• Ladders
• Pry bars
• Caring for others
• Operating vehicles and equipment
• Moving objects
• Inspecting equipment
• Performing physical activity

Related Careers

Fire Inspectors

Postsecondary Certificate

What Do Related Careers Pay?