Is Firefighting a Good Career Path?

Is Firefighting a Good Career Path?

While most people would run out of a building on fire, some run in. Saving lives while ignoring their instinct for self-preservation —that’s what heroes do.  No other civil service job deserves more accolade and respect than firefighters.

But if it’s so dangerous, why do so many people choose to put themselves in harm’s way for the good of others? Let’s find out.

What Do Firefighters Do?

Firefighters typically have various responsibilities such as:

  • Responding to emergency calls and requests for assistance; dealing with emergencies like fires, floods, road, rail, air crashes, dangerous substance spills, terrorist incidents, and more.
  • Conducting fire investigations.
  • Writing incident reports.
  • Rescuing trapped victims and animals.
  • Providing first aid before medical help arrives.
  • Performing site checks and clean-ups after an incident and handle accidents as well.
  • Becoming familiar with the locality, streets, and routes to respond to emergencies faster and more efficiently.
  • Performing checks and maintenance on appliances like the fire engine and its gear, testing fire hydrants, and inspecting emergency water supply.
  • Participating in physical training, running drills, and training in their techniques and use of the gear.
  • Keeping up with necessary physical fitness to carry out their daily duties.
  • Educating the public on fire safety through talks in schools, local businesses, and routine home visits.
  • Keeping up relations in the local community.

Other Duties

Firefighters are also trained to provide medical attention to any victims until the emergency medical services arrive on the scene. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, two out of 3 calls that firefighters take are for medical emergencies instead of fires.

Firefighters putting out a fire in water with fire in the backgroundTypes of Firefighter Service

  • Full-time– a full-time job, usually in urban areas.
  • Retained – an on-call responder usually operating in rural areas. They hold primary jobs outside of fire and rescue but respond to emergencies when needed. Also, they live within a mile of a fire station to respond to pagers in an emergency.

How Much Do Firefighters Make?

The average annual base salary of a firefighter is $48,395. This varies across the nation according to the department or institution and local budget. But in this case, we’re simply referring to the firefighters in civil service for cities.

Working Hours

Work hours generally include irregular hours. A shift pattern of 40 to 48 hours a week is common. Most prefer 2-day shifts followed by 2-night shifts, with four days off after.

Although different departments follow different duty systems, paid overtime is in effect when necessary and possible for the members. Also, some departments follow the system with 24-hour shifts followed by 48 to 72 hours off, while others work a 10/14, meaning 10 hours on shift with 14 hours off. This type of rotational shift system makes part-time work and job-sharing possible.


When they’re not on-call handling emergencies, they remain at the fire station practicing drills and inspecting equipment. Since they’re on 24-hour shifts, they sleep and eat at the station and give fire safety lessons at local schools.

Firefighter connecting a fire hose to a fire hydrant with teammates in the backgroundEducation Required

The qualification needed to become an entry-level firefighter is a high school diploma or equivalent. However, some accreditation or experience is typically needed to acquire the emergency medical technician (EMT) certification after high school. This expertise can include examining patients, treating trauma patients, and clearing patients with obstructed airways. However, these EMT requirements vary according to city and state. This is different from your NYC firefighter department exams.

Training Required

Firefighting training involves standard equipment like ladders, chain saws, axes, and fire extinguishers. They typically have to serve a probationary period when they first graduate from the fire academy.

Entry-level firefighters receive a few months of training at fire academies under the purview and supervision of the fire department or the state. Recruits receive theoretical lessons and practical knowledge while studying firefighting and techniques for fire prevention. Furthermore, they study building codes to quickly determine what protocols need to be followed according to the structure they’re operating in. And lastly, they learn emergency medical procedures to aid in life-preserving efforts alongside EMTs.

Opportunities and Advancement

Firefighters are promoted in the order of engineer, lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, assistant chief, deputy chief, and, finally, chief. Several fire departments now require candidates seeking promotions beyond battalion chief to have a bachelor’s degree, ideally in public administration, fire science, or a similar field.

firefighterIt’s also common for firefighters to become fire inspectors or investigators after sufficient experience.

After Retirement

Consultancy and training after retirement are possible as a contractor or freelance in the private sector. The fire and rescue services are currently hiring more women to remedy their underrepresented numbers, as well as ethnic minorities.

Manage Your Expectations

Firefighters frequently work in unsafe and uncomfortable conditions like hot, cold, smoke-filled and confined spaces and at heights during all types of weather conditions. You may be exposed to danger from crashed vehicles, collapsed buildings, fumes, and explosions.

Simply signing up won’t be enough to get yourself motivated, though. You will need a timetable to study for NYC firefighter department exams and the proper guidance to keep you on the right track.

With a mountain of workload to get through to land the gig, Civil Service Success can help you learn what you need to know. Along with being experienced teachers, the faculty in our private tutoring courses are also former members of the civil services. Your prep classes for civil services await you at our locations all around New York. You can register for our physical classes in Suffolk County, Nassau County, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Westchester County. There’s no time to waste. Start your Civil Service Success now.


By |2021-10-25T07:35:29+00:00October 20th, 2021|Blog|0 Comments

About the Author:

Leave A Comment