ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What To Know About Becoming A Firefighter

Updated on August 30, 2011

Ask any 5 year old what he wants to be when he "grows up" and many of them will tell you a Firefighter. Granted most firefighters are men, but even a good number of girls would tell you they would like to fight fires, and as the field has become more open to females, they very well could be.

Aside from childhood dreams and adolescent ambitions, the firefighting field is a great field to get into. For the most part, firefighting jobs are government jobs that offer great benefits and decent pay. They also are steeped in tradition and involve a great amount of camaraderie with coworkers. More than anything else, this field offers an excellent way to be a part of a field that is there to help others.

What Do Firefighters Do?

In many places, firefighters do just that, they fight fire.  That fire can come in the form of forest fires, industrial fires, airport related fires, or mainly structural fire.  Many firefighters will do a large combination of all of these during their career.

In most places, firefighters doo much more than just fight fire.  They have to respond to motor vehicle crashes and often will perform extrication with specialized tools.  They also respond to medical emergencies, and in some departments are actually responsible for the ambulance services.

Besides these emergency duties, firefighters also have to perform some nonemergency duties as well.  In some areas they are responsible for maintenance of the area's hydrant system.  In other areas they also work as public safety or police officers.  And in most places they have duties such as public education, fire inspections, replacement of smoke detectors and more.

What Are Average Firefighter Salaries?

Firefighters salaries range a good bit depending on the geographic location.  For instance, I work in the North Florida area and firefighters here start at about $35,000 a year.  About an hour away, in the state of Georgia, firefighters start at about $23,000 a year.  However about 3 hours south, toward Orlando, Florida, they start at about $45,000 a year.  In some metropolitan areas, firefighters start at upwards of $70,000 a year, but those are in areas where cost of living is extremely high.  For the most part, if you are looking to work in a state where firefighters are for the most part unionized, you can expect decent salaries and good benefits.

There is, however, a correlation between the amount of training or certifications needed and the average pay in a given state.  As I stated above, I work in Florida, and the starting firefighter has had a minimum of 500 or so hours of training plus must be EMT certified for most departments.  In Georgia, many departments do not require EMT certification and the minimum firefighter training prior to employment is around 100-140 hours.

What Training And Certifications Are Needed?

Although minimum standards are different in every state, you can plan on having to do between 200 and 600 hours of training, depending on the state.  Some departments will hire you while you are still in the academy and give you a year to pass your state tests.  Other departments, such as FDNY and other large metro departments have their own academy.  During fire school you will learn the basics of firefighting, tools, ropes, ladders, and what to expect on the job.

Although this, along with EMT certification, will allow you to apply for most firefighter jobs, further training is needed to progress in the field.  This training includes Fire Officer 1 classes such as Fire Origins, Building Construction, and even Course Delivery.  These courses are provided by some departments, but many require you to achieve these certifications on your own.

Many departments will also give extra compensation for those who have 2 or 4 year degrees.  In fact, most departments require degrees to be considered for promotion to the upper levels of the department, such as Battalion Chief and higher.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Ugbah 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for an unbelievable post, will exianme your personal others reviews. many thanks for your thinking within this, I experienced somewhat made an impact to by this short article. Thanks again! You earn a great aspect. Displays the beauty through excellent facts here. I do think that if more individuals thought of it that way, they'd have got a better time obtain the hold ofing the difficulty.

    • jdavis88 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joseph Davis 

      7 years ago from Florida

      I work in N Florida. The pay scale just gets higher the farther south you go.

    • profile image

      Become A Fireman 

      7 years ago

      This is a great article for anyone who wants to become a firefighter. You cover all the bases about what they do, how much they get paid and what education/certifications they need. Where did you get your salary information? My dad is a firefighter in south florida and the salaries you mention in the article are actually a little lower than what he is seeing at his fire station.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      A great complement to my firefighter jobs article, so I'm linking that article to this, and voting this Up and Useful.

      Check your summary though, part of it seems to be missing.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      7 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This is such an informative hub on firefighters. I must confess, I never wanted to a firefighter. But I do value their contribution. Unlike in many countries, firefighters here in the Philippines have lesser support from the local and national government. Their equipment and tools are outdated and many times, they are not properly equipped to do their jobs. But I must say going into battle knowing how limited your resources are makes you even courageous.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)