Employment of firefighters is expected to grow 9 percent, slower than the average for all occupations.
Continued population growth will increase the number of emergency calls requiring firefighter responses. The majority of situations that firefighters respond to are medical—rather than fire—emergencies, and the aging of the population will lead to an increased demand for emergency responders.
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 face tough competition for positions. Many people are attracted to the job’s challenge, opportunity for public service, relatively low formal educational requirements, and pensions that are usually guaranteed after 25 years of service. As a result, a department often receives hundreds or thousands of applicants for a single position. Physically-fit applicants with high test scores, some post-secondary firefighter education, and paramedic training have the best prospects.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition