Firefighting positions are expected to continue growing at a steady rate throughout the next several years.
Firefighters do not frequently work average 9 to 5 shifts. They may work during the day or in the evening or at night. Employment as a firefighter may also require the individual to work weekends and holidays.
In addition, firefighters are frequently on call and may need to respond to an emergencies within minutes.
Firefighters typically work for much longer than an average 8 or 9 hour work shift. Many firefighters may work for as much as 24 hours on duty and then be off for a day or so before returning back to work.
Physical and Emotional Demands
Firefighting can be physically as well as emotionally draining and exhausting. Besides actually fighting fires, a firefighter’s duties typically also include medical care as well as public education and community service programs. Firefighters also commonly respond to vehicle accidents and other situations that could possibly ignite a fire.
Employment Prospects for Firefighting Jobs
In addition to a better than average salary, firefighters enjoy numerous benefits such as sick and vacation pay, health insurance and very good life insurance policies. Most firefighters are also covered by pension plans.
Approximately 90% of all firefighters are employed by city and county governments. Other entities that employ firefighters include national and state parks and forest services, as well as various branches of law enforcement.
Job Search for Firefighting Jobs
Openings within the field of firefighting can be found in a variety of ways. City and county governments may advertise open position through postings on their employment board, website or through classified advertisements. Networking is always beneficial.
Resumes for Firefighting Jobs
A functional resume will work well for individuals who are searching for work within the field of firefighting. The functional resume allows the job candidate to focus on their skills; which can be immensely important within this industry.
Cover Letters for Firefighting Jobs
A firefighting targeted cover letter should indicate the applicant’s interest in helping others as well as their ability to remain calm, think quickly and make sound decisions. Any special experience or training should also be mentioned in the cover letter.
Training & Qualifications for Firefighting Jobs
The qualifications and training required to become a firefighter greatly depend on the employer. Many individuals begin by working as a volunteer firefighter in small county and city fire departments. While there is typically no pay involved in this type of work it provides excellent on the job training.
Employers may require a certain amount of college education as well as medical, first aid and other types of emergency training and education.
At a minimum, qualifications for a firefighter generally include successfully passing:
- Medical exam
- Vision exam
- Drug screening
The candidate must be able to prove they are physically capable of handling the job and are able to lift heavy objects, such as immensely heavy water hoses when they are filled. Firefighters generally must be free of any medical problems such as asthma. Before gaining admittance to a firefighting academy or training program, an individual may also be required to pass a written test.
There is room for advancement within the field of firefighting. Individuals who obtain a requisite amount of experience and training may move on to supervise other firefighters or even work in training programs for the purpose of education new recruits. Individuals may also find work as fire and code inspectors as well as investigators.
Most employers provide initial on the job training.
In addition, firefighters are required to attend annual training in order to stay abreast of new technology and research within the field.