Every kid remembers their first firefighting book. From Firefighter Frank to Curious George and the Firefighters, those flashing bright red trucks, brave firefighters rescuing people from burning buildings, and shooting water hoses have captured the imagination of both little girls and boys for generations.
For most kids, the allure of being a firefighter lasts only as long as the next super-hero movie comes out. Then they dream of being Wonder Woman, Batman, or an Avenger and the toy fire truck is hidden in the back of the closet. But for a select few, the dream of becoming a firefighter never dies. They become determined to make firefighting a career.
About Firefighting Jobs
For an excellent overall look at firefighter jobs, including details about salaries and career opportunities, have a look at an article at Expertvoice.com. There you will learn about probational salaries, career civil service pensions, and firefighting opportunities with the federal government working as a “hotshot” firefighter for the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, or the National Forest Service.
Where Are Future Firefighters Made?
There are generally two paths to becoming a firefighter. Getting at a minimum, a high school diploma, passing a physical and firefighting exam, acing a personal interview, and successfully completing training at a firefighting academy.
The second way is to obtain experience, either through becoming a volunteer or becoming a firefighter within the military.
There are requirements to become a firefighter that potential firefighters often forget, including:
- Getting enough education: Firefighting jobs are so competitive that often the minimum education is not enough. Consider getting a firefighting science education degree, and also consider getting an EMT certificate. Some local department make having an EMT certificate mandatory
- Get fire academy training: Join a volunteer fire department
- Rehearse well your answer to the proverbial interview questions: “Why do you want to be a firefighter?”
- Mind your credit: Many young people fail to realize that your credit scores are part of the qualifying process
- Get involved in volunteer work: Even if it’s not in firefighting, agencies favor those who volunteer and are active in the community
- Get in shape: Firefighting is a demanding business and you will need to be in good shape to pass the physical portion of the test. And without being sexist, women, in particular, should know exactly what is typically required of the job. A 10-minute test to simulating stair climbing, hose dragging, ladder extensions, etc., is often required
- Keep your social media clean. Departments will often do a scan of your online sites and exclude you for negative comments or irresponsible photos
So Just How Many Firefighting Jobs Exist
According to the federal government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook – Firefighter Outlook, there are a little over 320,000 paid firefighters in the United States (although many of them are part-time employees). Job growth due to turnover and retirement is predicted to be around 7 percent nationwide.
This is considered to be about average for jobs in the United States. However, most firefighting jobs, considered to be local civil service and offering the option to obtain a pension after 20 or 25 years, are extremely competitive.
For example, a Firefighting Demographics Report in 2016 by New York City reported that 42,000 people took the written exam, 41,000 passed, but only 8,000 were invited to take the physical exam. Of those 8,000 taking the physical exam, 5,000 people passed. However, the hiring rate for 2016 was a little over 600.
This is why men and women are advised that if they seriously want to become firefighters, they should pay attention to articles, such as ExpertVoice.com, about tips on becoming a firefighter. With a rejection to passing rate of 70 applicants to every one that is accepted, it’s clear that minimal passing scores of 70 percent just do not cut the mustard. Not when there may be a couple of hundred applicants that scored in the neighborhood of 98 percent or more.
Becoming a firefighter is dangerous and demanding work. Nevertheless, it can be a great career for those with the right fortitude.