According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of firefighters is expected to grow 7% from 2012 to 2022, much slower than the average for all occupations. So, there will be a strong competition for jobs in this field.
Among the various unexpected and unwanted events that occur in our life, incidents of fire are one of the most dangerous and deadly events. For they leave nothing behind, everything turns into ashes, and all that is left are smoke and death. Alas, if we could avert such tragic incidents or at least minimize loss of life and property.
Firefighters are professionals who are specially trained to safeguard life and property in times of fire at homes, commercial complexes, entertainment parks, or structures owned by governments, etc. They are also required to respond to other emergencies, like earthquakes, hurricanes, medical emergencies, and traffic accidents. They are often the first to arrive after an emergency. In general, they are trained to save individuals in danger. Ever since the inception of firefighter jobs, this field has grown to be a major profession offering good career opportunities and a bright future.
This is an extremely risky and life-threatening profession. Firefighters fight tooth and nail to save lives that are trapped in fires. Owing to the challenges they face, they are paid decently, and they're also provided with lots of perks and benefits. Since they risk their lives to save others, it is logical to offer some extra benefits to them. The benefits include lifelong medical coverage for the firefighter and his family, flexible work schedule, up to four weeks paid vacation per year, and generous pension.
- According to PayScale, the salary figures for an entry-level firefighter can be in the range of US $23,763 - $57,346.
- Firefighters in large metropolitan cities like New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, etc., earn higher salaries than those in small towns. According to the BLS May 2014 data, the top-paying states for this occupation are New Jercy ($77,550), New York ($73,200), Washington ($64,950), Connecticut ($58,300), and California ($71,630). The figures indicate average annual salary of a firefighter in that particular state.
- According to the BLS, the median annual salary of a firefighter is $45,970. Firefighters can work for the local, state, or federal government, and may receive around $49,000 annually. Certain other support services also require firefighters, but may pay relatively less ($30,000). Those who are interested in scientific research and development services usually earn more, about $59,000 p.a.
- With an annual average salary of $72,670, petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry is the best top-paying industry for this occupation. Salaries of those working in other top-paying industries can be in the range of $55K- $60K.
- According to the New York City Fire Department, the total (including overtime, holiday pay, and other differentials) annual salary of an entry-level firefighter is around $43,000. However, after five years, the person would receive around $100K.
- There are growth opportunities. The annual salary for someone with a job title 'lieutenant' can be around $125K, while for a 'captain', it can be around $150K. Battalion chiefs earn more than $160K.
A recent study revealed that beyond household income of $75,000 a year, money does nothing for happiness, enjoyment, sadness, or stress. The salary range is not the sole criteria that motivates people to make a career in this field. There are various reasons other than the salaries that attract people towards this profession. The real motivation is the opportunity to help others, and perform well in challenging work conditions. Lack of money can buy you misery, but even if you make a lot of money, it cannot buy you happiness.
The firefighters can work for nearly 25 years of their life, and so, they have to be prepared for an early retirement. The advantage of having an early retirement is that you have an option for starting a new career at the point you finish your old career. The salary, as we can see, varies according to location, experience, and type of employer.
- The most basic duties of the firefighter are protection of life and property. Firefighters are often the first personnel reporting to the places of fire. They are led by commanding officers.
- They work in teams, and the strength of a firefighting team lies in the ability to work faster and better.
- The firefighters also ensure that their fire alarm systems are maintained regularly and in proper condition, so that the measures of fire safety can be easily carried out.
- They may have to demolish parts of buildings when required.
- They administer artificial respiration, first aid, and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) too.
- The age of the person must be above 18 years, and he/she should have completed a high school degree.
- Some fire departments across the country now require their fire applicants to become paramedics even before they take the examination. To become a paramedic, you have to become an EMT first.
- In many states, firefighters must have completed at least 2 or 4 years of college education with some courses related to fire services. Those who want to make a career in this field, usually opt for fire engineering courses.
- You can earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in fire science. The courses train you in fire investigation, hazardous materials, fire protection systems, and fire emergency survival, etc.
- Or you may consider 4-year apprenticeship programs offered by several fire departments.
- Freshers are trained at fire fighting academies, where they are taught modern firefighting procedures, first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), latest fire prevention techniques, and how to use firefighting tools and rescue equipment.
- Written exam and medical examination are some of the tests that are conducted to gauge the knowledge, physical stamina, agility, and mental strength of a candidate.
Working in the fire services gives you an opportunity to work for safeguarding the life and property of society. You can contribute your hard work and dedication to prevent and save people from tragic incidents. Those who want to make a career in firefighting, should be mentally and physically strong. Once you start to work and mobilize your efforts to gain work experience, the salary will also increase gradually. Various studies show that people who focus too much on money are preventing themselves from enjoying their jobs.