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Firefighter

Career Overview

Fighting fires is a complicated job that often puts the employee in dangerous situations. Fighting a fire can be a complicated procedure, one that calls for teamwork and discipline. At every emergency scene, fire fighters perform specific duties assigned by a superior officer. They connect hose lines to hydrants and operate a pump to send water to high-pressure hoses. Some firefighters carry hoses, climb ladders, and enter burning buildings.

These procedures aren't heroic dashes, they are carefully planned steps for which firefighters are trained, and for which they practice on a regular basis. Firefighters are also responsible for maintaining their equipment, trucks and communications gear when they are not at a fire scene. Many firefighters are also trained as EMTs and act as first responders to medical calls.

Education

There are no entry level educational requirements for firefighters; however those that have an associates degree in fire science may have a better chance at getting hired. There are now four year degrees available in fire management that are also an option for a firefighter wishing to move up through the ranks.

Current Employment

In 2005 approximately 71% of all fire companies were staffed by volunteers. Nevertheless, there were 361,000 paid positions in all related fire occupations in 2006. Of these, 293,000 were jobs held by firefighters.

Job Outlook

This job category is expected to grow at about the same rate as the overall job expansion for all job categories. The available jobs for firefighters will expand further, however, as the opportunities in volunteer departments change over to paid positions.

Salary Range

Lowest 10%  $10.35  $21,530
Median Salary  $20.75  $43,170
Highest 10%  $32.83  $68,290

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