What Does Job Growth Look Like for Firefighters?
So, you want to be a firefighter? Working and serving as a firefighter is a noble profession. You’ll be saving lives, protecting homes and businesses, and making your community a better place. It’s a rewarding job, but it’s also difficult and extremely challenging.
Let’s take a look at the forecast for firefighter job growth, what typical firefighter duties look like, and the various paths to becoming a full-time firefighter.
Current Job Forecast for Firefighters
Recent estimates show that about 300,000 individuals serve as full-time firefighters in the United States. From now until 2024, firefighter jobs are expected to grow by 5% or approximately 12,000 new job positions. These positions are, however, very competitive. Estimates show that there could be as many as 100 people competing for the same firefighter job by 2024. Add on top of this the possible long-term impacts COVID-19 could have on emergency departments, and it’s hard to say what fire departments will look like in a year let alone 4 years from now.
Firefighters earn a decent wage, averaging $24.45 per hour or approximately $50,850 per year. And, since many firefighters are employed by state and local governments, they typically also enjoy generous employee benefits like health insurance and pensions.
Employment opportunities for firefighters are available all over the United States. California, Texas, and Florida employ the highest number of firefighters. On the East Coast, Rhode Island, Ohio, and Massachusetts represent the states with the highest number of hired firefighters per 1,000 people.
For those looking to be hired as full-time firefighters, being physically fit and having some variation of postsecondary firefighter education and EMS or paramedic training will give you the best chance of being hired.
How to Become a Firefighter
The specific requirements for becoming a firefighter may vary depending on where you are looking to be hired, but all firefighters require basic education and basic firefighter training (you can even complete some firefighter courses online).
To be a firefighter, you’ll need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. You’ll typically need to be at least 18 years old, pass a medical exam and drug screening, and be able to complete routine physical fitness exams. You’ll also need training in medical services, such as an EMT certification, and to complete training at a fire academy.
Once you have been hired as a firefighter, your training doesn’t stop there. Most departments require ongoing firefighter training and continuing education. At CareerCert, we offer firefighter courses online that can be completed at your own pace and expand your knowledge in a variety of areas, including safety training, HAZMAT, firefighter skills, fire prevention, salvage operations, fire department apparatus, tools and equipment, treatment for specific injuries and trauma, active shooter response, and more. Explore our courses today!
- Firefighter career and employment outlook. Firefighter EDU. Accessed Aug 28, 2020. https://www.firefighter.education/firefighter-career-employment-outlook/.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. Firefighters. U.S. Department of Labor. Apr 10, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/firefighters.htm.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. Firefighter Job Outlook. U.S. Department of Labor. Apr 10, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/firefighters.htm#tab-6.
- Firefighters: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more. Raise Me. Accessed on Aug 28, 2020. https://www.raise.me/careers/protective-service/firefighters.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. How to become a firefighter. U.S. Department of Labor. Apr 10. 2020. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/firefighters.htm#tab-4.