Employment of firefighters is projected to grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations.
The aging of the population will lead to an increased demand for emergency responders as the elderly tend to use more emergency medical services. Currently, about 2 of out 3 situations that firefighters respond to are medical—rather than fire—emergencies.
In addition, jobs will be created as volunteer firefighters are converted to paid positions in areas where population growth creates the need for a full-time workforce. An increase in urban populations, where full-time firefighters are more common, also is expected to increase the demand for firefighters.
Prospective firefighters will likely face strong competition for jobs. Many people are attracted to the job’s challenge, opportunity for public service, and relatively low formal education requirements. As a result, a department may receive hundreds of applicants for a single position.
Physically-fit applicants with high test scores, some post-secondary firefighter education, and paramedic training should have the best job prospects.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition
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