Firefighter

Quick Facts: Firefighters
2012 Median Pay $45,250 per year
$21.75 per hour
Entry-Level Education Postsecondary non-degree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Long-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2012 307,000
Job Outlook, 2012-22 7% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 20,300

What Firefighters Do

Firefighters control fires and respond to other emergencies, including medical emergencies.

Work Environment

When not on the scene of an emergency, firefighters work at fire stations, where they sleep, eat, and remain on call during shifts that often last 24 hours. Many work over 40 hours per week. The work can be very dangerous.

How to Become a Firefighter

Requirements for entry-level firefighters vary by jurisdiction. Firefighters need at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. They also may need to have completed postsecondary education in order to attain various certifications before being hired, such as the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)-Basic certification. Most firefighters also must pass a written and physical test and complete a series of interviews. Firefighters receive extensive training after being hired.

Pay

The median annual wage for firefighters was $45,250 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of firefighters is projected to grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Competition for jobs will likely be intense. Physically fit applicants with high test scores and paramedic training should have the best job prospects.