Do you want to be a firefighter? What do you need to know about this job? Firefighters are one of the most recognized emergency services in the world. They work with local, state, federal agencies and private companies to keep people safe. This is a highly skilled and demanding job that requires extensive training, experience, and knowledge. You can learn more about this career by reading our overview of the firefighter job.
1. Career options
There are many different career paths you can take after you complete your training as a firefighter. There are two main career options: paid and volunteer. Paid firefighters work for local, state, or federal government agencies to provide emergency services to the public in large metropolitan areas or rural areas where there is not enough coverage by other emergency services like police officers or paramedics. Volunteer firefighters typically do not receive any pay from their department but they may receive some type of compensation for their time spent fighting fires. Some volunteer firefighters may be paid for their time spent fighting fires on private property while others may just be given a stipend from the property owner if they help put out a fire on that property.
2. Work environment
The work environment of firefighters varies depending on whether they are paid or volunteer firefighters but it usually involves working long hours, being exposed to extreme heat and cold, heavy lifting, responding to multiple calls at once, and working with hazardous materials in an active fire scene (not always). This job requires extensive training before you can even apply so make sure that you have already completed your high school diploma or GED. Firefighters must be physically fit and mentally prepared to perform their duties.
3. Benefits and pay
Paid firefighters typically have the option to work a full or part-time schedule, with the full-time schedule being the most common option. The pay for firefighters depends on where they work, the type of position they hold, and their level of education (usually starting at $32,000-$37,000/year). Volunteer firefighters are not paid but they may receive compensation for helping put out fires on private property or receiving some type of stipend from the property owner if they help put out a fire on that property.
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4. Education requirements
The education requirements for this job depend on where you are working. If you are working for a local, state, or federal agency then you will need to have a high school diploma or GED. If you are volunteering for a private company then you may not have any formal education requirements but the employer may require some type of certificate or training.
5. Firefighter training
The firefighter training process varies from one municipality to another and it depends on whether the municipality is a paid or volunteer fire department. Some municipalities have a fire academy that provides basic firefighter training while others use an online program called eLearning that is provided by the National Fire Academy in Prescott, AZ (NFPA) to teach them how to fight fires and rescue people during an emergency. Training can take anywhere from six months to two years depending on how long it takes your local fire department to train new firefighters and which type of curriculum they use.
6. Firefighter experience requirements
The experience requirements also vary depending on where you work but most paid firefighters must have at least one year of experience in fighting fires before they can apply for their first position as a firefighter with their local fire department. Volunteer firefighters must be at least 18 years old and complete their probationary period before they can officially start fighting fires for their local department if they do not already have some type of volunteer experience fighting fires with their local community service organization (such as the American Red Cross).
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7. Full time or part time?
If you are working for a fire department then you will likely work full time. If you are working as a volunteer firefighter then you may work part time or full time depending on the size of your local fire department and the amount of volunteer firefighters that are already working there.
8. Is it hard to become a firefighter?
There are many people who want to become firefighters but it is not always easy to do so. Firefighting is a very dangerous job and if you are not careful you could be hurt or even killed. Most fire departments also have very strict hiring requirements that include having a high school diploma or GED, passing a drug test, and having the right type of personality for the job.