Fireman Education Requirements and Career Options
Firemen, more commonly known as fire fighters, are emergency response professionals specializing in the protection of people and property from fires, smoke and related threats. The primary role of fire fighters is to use various techniques to control or suppress fires, but they may also supply victims with initial medical treatment for ailments such as smoke inhalation, burns and shock. All fire fighters are required to maintain intensive fitness standards.
Fireman Education Requirements
Employment as a fireman doesn't demand significant amounts of education. Fire academy applicants must possess a high school diploma or successfully complete the General Educational Development (GED) examination. Individuals seeking certification from the National Fire Academy must have at least an associate's degree. A bachelor's degree in a subject such as fire science can also lead to a career in fire fighting.
Fire fighters can accelerate their careers and earn higher salaries by achieving master's or doctoral degrees in environmental science, fire engineering technology and fire safety engineering. Specialized training in forestry, petroleum and manufacturing can lead to a career fighting forest and oil fires for a private company or the federal government.
Those seeking fireman certification must pass minimum regulations which vary by state. Typically, a minimal amount of training hours must be completed and a certification exam must be passed. For higher-level positions, these requirements increase. Experiential training can be acquired through a fire academy apprenticeship, which lasts four years. Preparation for fireman exams can be gained through courses offered by the state.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), available job openings for fire fighters will increase 19% from 2008-2018. A bulk of this growth in fireman employment will be the transfer of current volunteers to paid positions. Job openings for fire fighters are more widely available in populated areas. States employing the most firemen include California, Ohio and Illinois. The vast majority of fire fighters are employed by county and city governments (www.bls.gov).
Salaries for fire fighters vary based on factors such as experience and location. The average annual salary of fire fighters was $45,700 in May 2008, according to the BLS. However, fire fighters in Oakland, California, earned a yearly salary of $85,800. An entry-level fireman may earn an annual minimum wage of $48,307. Fire chiefs can earn as much as $104,780.
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