Firefighters

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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What Firefighters Do

Firefighters control and put out fires, and respond to emergency situations where life, property, or the environment is at risk.

Work Environment

When on the scenes of fires and other emergencies, the work can be very dangerous. When not on the scene of an emergency, firefighters spend their time at fire stations, where they sleep, eat, and remain on call during shifts that often last 24 hours. Many work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Firefighter

Firefighters typically need a high school diploma and training in emergency medical services. Most firefighters receive training at a fire academy, must pass written and physical tests, complete a series of interviews, and hold an emergency medical technician (EMT) certification.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Firefighters

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of firefighters is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition for jobs will likely be strong. Physically fit applicants with high test scores and paramedic training will have the best job prospects.

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    Job Trends for Firefighters

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    This occupation supported 307,000 jobs in 2012 and 327,300 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 6.6%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 6.6% in 2022 to 327,300 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 311,000, compared with an observed value of 327,300, 5.2% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 5.7% in 2024 to 344,700 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 331,300 jobs for 2024, 3.9% lower than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are better than the 2012 trend within this occupation.

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