Firefighters protect people's lives and property from the hazards of fire and other emergencies. They provide this protection by fighting fires to prevent property damage and by rescuing people trapped or injured by fires or other accidents. Through inspections and safety education, firefighters also work to prevent fires and unsafe conditions that could result in dangerous, life-threatening situations. They assist in many types of emergencies and disasters in everyday life. Although in many rural areas firefighters serve on a volunteer basis, this article is mainly concerned with describing full-time career firefighters. There are approximately 302,870 paid firefighters working in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) None
Duties Protect people's lives and property from the hazards of fire and other emergencies
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $100,000
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but are best in large, metropolitan areas
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physical Education
Experience Previous experience as a firefighter or in emergency services
Personality Traits
  • Athletic
  • Conventional
  • Helpful
  • Building/Trades
  • Leadership
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements Generally must be between age 18 and 35 and meet physical requirements
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Little Change or More Slowly than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Fire Chief
  • Fire Captain
  • Fire Inspector or Fire Investigator
  • Firefighter
  • Ladder or Hose Handler

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