So you want to become a firefighter in the US? The firefighting career is one of the most fulfilling careers in the world, and the average firefighter salary in the US ranks high, making it one of the highest-paid careers in the US.
Although being a firefighter entails coming face to face with hazardous fires, it constantly creates opportunities to save lives and properties as well as animals in dangerous situations.
Although this career does not have any gender-based hindrances, we believe it is a career designed explicitly for people passionate about helping other people in need.
Imagine being the reason a little girl is saved from a fire and then grows into a successful woman. Or the reason a child is not orphaned, a family’s property saved from destruction, or pets rescued.
This article is a complete guide to help you get into the career. Going forward, we will discuss:
- What is a firefighter?
- Who is a firefighter?
- What do firefighters do?
- Is the firefighter career in demand in the US?
- What is firefighter control in the US?
- How to become a firefighter in the US
- What are the requirements to become a firefighter?
What is a Firefighter?
According to Wikipedia, a firefighter extinguish hazardous fires that threaten the lives and properties of people as well as their environment. Also, they work to save people from some unfavorably cases as well as save animals from dangerous situations.
Firefighters are sometimes referred to as firemen/firewomen, fire department or fire brigade,
Basically, firefighting involves responding to events such as fire, flood, medical or motor accidents circumstances that come from using hazardous materials.
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Who is a Firefighter?
Basically, a firefighter is an expert in fighting dangerous situations who fights and responds to fire to ensure that people and animals are safe. This includes conditions such as fire outbreaks, floods, or medical emergencies.
We will discuss the different types of firefighters next.
Types of firefighters
Basically, there are two different types of firefighters:
1. Wholetime firefighters:
Basically, these firefighters work as full-time salary earners, and they work in a pattern of two days shifts, two-night shifts followed by four days off.
They permanently reside in the fire station.
2. On-call firefighters:
These firefighters do the same kind of emergency work as the whole-time firefighters. However, they can live or work away from the fire station but no farther than five minutes away.
Also, they can have other jobs they go to, and while at them, they carry a pocket-pager that activates and alerts them when there’s an incident.
Is Firefighting Career In Demand in the US?
The firefighting career is one of the most sought-after in the US. According to NFPA, there was an estimated 1,080,800 job as well as volunteer firefighters in the US in 2019.
About 358,000, which made up 33%, were career firefighters, while the remaining 67%, which was a total number of 722,800, were volunteering firefighters.
Also, this source reports and reiterates yet again that there are no gender-based hindrances in the firefighting career. According to the survey, in 2019, 88,800, which made up to 8% of both career and volunteer firefighters, were female.
What are the Responsibilities of a Firefighter?
Firefighters do not only fight fires. Their roles and duties have since expanded to encompass even more responsibilities. Here are the responsibilities of firefighter:
- To fight, extinguish and control fires.
- Prevent the loss of lives, animals, and properties
- Prevent fire outbreaks or escalations
- Respond to disasters, emergencies, and environmental issues.
Basically, firefighters work in teams which are usually led and resided by a supervising officer. This supervising officer is called either the ‘Chief Fire Officer or Company Officer ‘
They work between 45 to 50 hours each week. What this means is that they are not certainly assured time off both on public holidays as well as the usual weekends.
Firefighter Job Description
Basically, when there are no emergencies, firefighters work at a fire station where they practically live and spend their whole day in their shifts which are usually up to 24 hours a day.
This is because firefighting is quite a rigorous career, and long hours are required. It may involve climbing, lifting, as well moving heavy objects, running, and balancing.
In that case, a firefighter must be physically fit in other to perform tasks. Also, they will need to possess the ability to obtain relevant information through effective communication and listening skills.
Below is the rest of the firefighter job description.
- Must possess the skill to quickly recognize potential problems
- Must have the ability to pass valuable information to supervisors, co-workers, as well as the police or medical people.
- Attend emergency call-outs.
- Further promote fire safety via talks, advice, or training sessions
- Use complex firefighting and rescuing equipment
- Perform practice drills
- Inspect equipment between uses
- Inspect buildings for fire safety as well as enforce safety standards.
- Work with the police and ambulance service personnel.
Where Do Firefighters work?
Having understood that being a firefighter goes beyond beating fire, here are the different places firefighters work.
- The armed forces
- Local authority fire services
- Airports and ports
What is Firefighter Salary in the US?
According to Salary.com, the salary of firefighters in the US is between $36, 455 and $60,758.
However, salary changes tend to differ depending on various viral formats such as education level, certifications, previous work experience as well as additional skills.
According to Indeed, the average firefighter salary in the US is $52,500.
We will give you a list of cities in the US with the top firefighter salaries.
Cities with top firefighters salaries in the US
- Firefighter salary in Los Angeles, CA – $56,468 per year
- Firefighter salary in San Diego, CA – $55,935 per year
- Salary of firefighter in Houston, TX – $49,297 per year
- Average salary of firefighter in Richmond, VA – $46,115 per year
- Firefighter salary in Eugene, OR – $42,928 per year
- Firefighter salary in Albany, OR – $42,928 per year
- Average firefighter salary in Chicago, IL – $41,522 per year
- Salary of firefighter in Savannah, GA – $36,892 per year
- Salary of firefighter in Evansville, IN – $36,851 per year
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Should I Become a Firefighter?
Deciding to embark on a journey into this field is all dependent on you; however, no matter what you choose, ensure you end up with a decision that will best impact other people’s lives. This is why you should become a firefighter.
1. A new family
More like a second family, being a firefighter will cause you to build bonds with your teammates and be sure that they will always have your back.
2. Gives you a sense of purpose
You could wake up every morning knowing that you might just save someone’s life or property. For some people, this is enough purpose to live by.
3. You’re faced with new challenges
In the firefighting career, no two incidents are the same. This means that as there’s a different incident every day, so comes the new challenges it brings.
4. You gain new and transferable skills
Even though it requires many skills to become a firefighter, you even gain more when you have become a firefighter.
You can learn fast and critical thinking as well as complex problem-solving skills. Also, you can learn how to maintain calm in the face of a crisis.
How to Become a Firefighter in the US?
To become a firefighter in the US or anywhere else in the world, there are things you will need to put in place. Firstly, you must apply and complete the training course in a fire academy.
Usually, fire academies are run by the state, country, or municipality. The training runs for weeks or a few months; however, this is dependent on the schedules set by each academy.
For some states, candidates will need to go through the fire academy and associate with another particular fire department. However, it’s not the same in all other states.
In becoming a firefighter in the US, as a candidate, you must pass the written and physical tests.
Also, you must possess effective communication (verbal and written) as well as public speaking skills to be able to write reports as well as teach fire safety classes.
You will need to have completed a high school diploma. Basically, no specific college degree is required to become a firefighter in the US. However, there are several skills and degrees as well as certificate programs. This can include becoming a licensed paramedic.
Additional training will be required for specialized teams and assignments like hazmat operations or water rescue. Also, you will need to be trained, especially on using heavy equipment to control forest fires.
Growth progress for firefighters can come as promotions to higher ranks such as engineer, captain, lieutenant, battalion chief, chief, deputy, and assistant chief.
What are the Requirements to Become a Firefighter in the US?
There are different requirements for candidates to meet before they can be qualified to become firefighters in the US. We list them below.
- Age – must be at least 18 years old to take the exam and at least 21 to be hired.
- Background information – residency, educational scripts, driving history, arrests/convictions.
- Driver’s license valid in the state you are taking your exam.
- Character – you will be required to submit references from notable community members.
- Must be US citizen
- Criminal record
- Drug screening tests – you will be tested for marijuana, anabolic steroids, heroin, cocaine, morphine, and other drugs.
- Education – required to have a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED). College credits and pre-hospital care (EMT/paramedic) certifications.
- Language – must effectively speak and understand English
- Legal status
- Medical and psychological examination results.
- Proof of identity – birth certificate
- Residency – must reside within your employment area.
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What are the Skill Requirements to Become a Firefighter in the US?
Basically, there are varying national requirements to become a firefighter. However, there are other fundamental qualities and skills required to become a firefighter.
- Great physical fitness
- Effective communication and listening skills
- The ability to work under pressure
- Time management
FAQs Firefighter Salary in the US
A firefighter is an expert in fighting dangerous situations, who fights and responds to fire as well as helps to ensure that people and animals are safe. This includes conditions such as fire outbreaks, floods, or medical emergencies.
To become a firefighter in the US, you can follow these steps:
1. Meet the basic requirements
2. Earn a high school diploma
3. Take the tests
4. Become an EMT
5. Attend the academy
6. Check out the complete guide in the article.
How long does it take to become a firefighter in the US? The duration it takes to become a firefighter in the US primarily depends on the training program.
Basically, it could take between 3 and 4 months and then up to 5 years if you need to gain improved pre-employment training and experience a much longer application process.
Primarily, firefighters fight the fire as well as other hazardous situations to save lives, animals, and properties.
This implies that there is usually a risk of injury or even death at duty. Also, most incidents can lead firefighters to traumas, heart attacks, burns, bone dislocations, or asphyxia.
Firefighters are some of the best life-saving people in the world, and becoming a firefighter in the US comes with so much as well as a high salary.
We hope that our guide is helpful for you to understand what firefighting means and how to become one.
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