Firefighters are incredibly valuable to the communities they serve. It is estimated that they save thousands of lives and homes each year, and some firefighters handle special situations such as forest fires and medical emergencies. Often, firefighters work to educate others about how to prevent fires and how to react if a fire happens. The job outlook for a firefighter is not great, but additional education and career steps can help firefighters find positions.
How the Future Looks for Firefighters
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 26,600 additional firefighting jobs are going to be available through the year 2020, bringing the total number of jobs to 337,000. The BLS reports that states with the highest employment for firefighters are California (26,550), Texas (24,880) and Florida (23,780). In the coming years, firefighters who are employed with computer systems design companies are expected to earn the highest salaries, but those who work for aerospace product and part manufacturing companies will earn the least. Of course, it is also important to consider that there will likely also be a steady stream of firefighters volunteering their services locally.
Growth in the Firefighting Industry
The jobs available for firefighters are expected to grow by 9% through the year 2020. This is a great deal lower than the average growth rate for other jobs. With volunteer fire stations in most communities, finding a paid position can be difficult. The majority of firefighters will work with local government, typically in a designated fire station, while others will work in various support services and with other ambulatory health care services. Firefighters are very valuable, and can often find positions within companies and factories.
The Speed of Growth in Firefighting
The reason more firefighters will be needed is because the population continues to grow. With most communities, as the population grows, the need for emergency services grows. However, because there are volunteer fire stations, the demand for firefighters is less than the demand for other professionals. Experts suggest that those who are interested in obtaining a position must have a track record including community service and training such as paramedic, HAZMAT and rescue training.
Better Opportunities for Firefighters
There is no formal education required to enter the field of firefighting, other than the required written and physical tests. However, many firefighters are now studying fire safety and education classes at local community colleges. Those who are in excellent physical condition and best able to perform well in tests will have better opportunities available to them. There are various agencies that provide certification for firefighters. Some states require that individuals complete EMT certification as well, such as California. Higher scores in fire academy can also increase the opportunities for the individual.
Firefighters who live in states with higher employment, such as California, Texas and Ohio, will have a better chance of finding a great position in a fire station. In addition, in such a competitive job, those with the highest education and training levels will often be chosen over those with lower education and training.