Firefighter Careers in the US

They [Firefighters] are good stewards — serving their neighbors, their communities, our nation with courage, and fortitude and strength.  We can never repay them fully for their sacrifices.

Obama on the sacrifices of Firefighters

Firefighters are one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. They risk their lives every single day in order to save those in need. One may think that their job is only limited to “fire fighting”, however, Firefighters contribute to the society in more ways than one.

Different Paths Available for a Firefighter


Firefighters are one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. They risk their lives every single day in order to save those in need. One may think that their job is limited to “fire fighting” only, however, Firefighters contribute to the society in more ways than one.


The job description of Firefighters actually encompasses any crisis that may be faced by the general public. Whether it be car crashes, rescue missions, floods, chemical spills, practically anything that results in someone or something in need of saving, you can rest assure a Firefighter can do the job. (1)

Some say the job pays well. However, It’s rare that the re

ason why Firefighters stay on their jobs. Most Firefighters remain because of the satisfaction they get knowing that they were able to help someone in need. If you plan on trying out the path towards becoming a Firefighter, then this article is perfect for you.

What are the Requirements to Become a Firefighter?

Being a firefighter is no easy job; hence many certifications and training are required before one can take on the job. These requirements are not just necessary to assure that they know what they’re doing, but also to protect the Firefighter from their work hazards. (2)

Here are some of the most important requirements before one can become a fully pledged firefighter:

  1. Pass a Physical Exam– Being a Firefighter is an incredibly strenuous work. It requires you to exert so much effort in a very long span of time. Before becoming a Firefighter, you must maintain physical and mental fitness. Saving people’s lives needs that you don’t end up a victim yourself once the rescue mission commences.
  2. Get a Degree in Fire Science– This isn’t necessarily a requirement to become a Firefighter. However, if you intend to advance in your career as a Firefighter, this would definitely make it easier for you.
  3. Pass Examinations– Firefighting departments typically require applicants to pass a certain exam to make sure that they have enough knowledge to perform their jobs correctly. The exams often include written, physical and psychological exams.
  4. Technical Requirements– there are some requirements that applicants only need to prove such as having a 20/20 vision, high school diploma, a clean criminal record, and lastly be at least 18 years old (21 in some states). Some states have a maximum age limit so make sure to check that out in your locality.

Most of the certifications are only necessary if you wish to advance in your profession. Anyone could become a firefighter as long as they are willing, and have the physical and mental capacity to do so.

What Careers are Available as a Firefighter

Just like any job or occupation, Firefighters can be categorized into various types. They also have a hierarchy that helps them understand the chain of command in the organization. As a Firefighter, you will have the opportunity to advance as long as you show your dedication in saving lives. (3)

Here are some common types of Firefighters both in the field and in the offices:

  1. Firefighter- firefighters are the ones sent by the fire department to handle issues and crises that occur in the urban and residential areas. They handle situations such as rescue missions, home or vehicle fires, accidents, and much They are one of the busiest firefighters due to the span of their responsibility. The median salary for this job in the US is around $47,000.
  2. Forestry Fire Prevention Specialists– this type of firefighter takes the fight into the jungle, literally. They specialize in preventing and putting off forest fires both caused by humans or nature. The median annual salary for this type of job in the US is around $37,000.
  3. Building Inspectors- they work under the fire department. However, this position does not include fighting fires. Instead, it is their job to make sure that buildings conform to the local fire regulations. To simply put it, it is their job to prevent fires from happening in the first place. The average salary for this occupation is around $57,000 annually.
  4. Arson Investigator– arson is the act of burning someone else’s property with malicious Arson investigators work in close cooperation with the police force in determining the root cause of arson fires and who is responsible for the crime. They are often paid around $57,000 annually.
  5. Paramedics- most firefighters are required to learn how to handle injuries the injuries of the victims. If they wish to focus on this type of responsibility, a firefighter can be promoted into a paramedic. Paramedics respond to emergencies to treat injured individuals and save their lives. They are paid a median salary of around $32,000.

Being a firefighter is a full-time job. There are few occupations out there that can contend on how hard it is to become a firefighter. Nevertheless, the thought of saving the lives of others is more than enough to remove the stress felt by firefighters every day.

Volunteering as a firefighter is one of the noblest things a citizen could do for the country and his fellowmen.