Individuals who choose to work in fire safety and prevention must be strong, level-headed and good in a crisis. If you think you have what it takes to enter this demanding but rewarding field, read on for more information.
Fire safety and prevention workers are responsible for protecting the public from hazards and disasters related to fire. Many colleges and universities offer degree and training programs in fire safety, which can train you for many different fire safety careers. There is a steady demand for skilled firefighters, but other positions include fire chief, fire inspector, safety inspector and fire captain. If you are willing to go into more dangerous fire-related situations as a pilot or jumper, you will have a much higher income bracket.
A career in fire safety and prevention can provide steady employment, benefits and retirement funds. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the employment of firefighters is expected to increase by 19% from 2008 to 2018, whereas fire inspectors can expect to see a 9% increase in employment (www.bls.gov). To work in fire safety, you should be extremely mentally alert and have good reflexes. You must also have strength, endurance and good judgment skills. Additionally, you must pass both written and medical examinations to become a firefighter.
The field of fire safety and prevention is broad, and many different degrees and certifications are available. To work in entry-level fire fighter or inspector positions, a high school degree is typically the minimum education requirement, and on-the-job training is provided after that. However, formal training outside of high school is becoming more common.
A bachelor's degree in fire safety, for example, can prepare you for a career in fire safety design, in which you are responsible for creating fire detection and alarm systems. Other careers include fire-related risk management and assessment. In such programs, you can expect to take courses in fire prevention, emergency services, occupational safety, system design, explosion investigation and fire defense planning.
Graduate degrees in fire safety and prevention can train you for fields such as fire protection engineering and research-oriented professions. Both masters and doctoral degrees are available in fire safety and various specialties. The curriculum trains readies students to work in supervisory roles or conduct research in fire safety and prevention.