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Becoming a Firefighter Part 2

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Firefighting is a tough gig. It’s hard work, intense pressure and unpredictable days. But it’s also heroic and satisfying knowing that you’ve saved someone else’s life.

Training

Once you’ve cleared all the examinations, you’ll begin training. Firefighter training is like a full-time job. You’ll spend upwards of 40 hours per week for somewhere between 2 and 4 months at a fire academy. But don’t worry, it’s not 40 hours of intense physical exertion. Most work is actually done in the classroom. You’ll learn firefighting techniques and fire prevention. You’ll also learn emergency medical procedures because many of your daily calls will require some form of medical attention.

On The Job

As a firefighter, putting out fires isn’t your only job. Every day is unpredictable. You’ll respond to big disasters link airplane crashes, bush fires, floods and car accidents. But you’ll also respond to smaller issues like animal rescues, gas leaks, even childbirth! Another part of a firefighter’s job is to provide community and school visits. You’ll educate the public on fire hazards and ways to prevent fires from happening. And if you think you’re done training once your stint at the fire academy is over, think again. Firefighters train and prepare...every single day.

Promotions and Salary

A firefighters wage depends on two things: location and age. Depending on where you live, your salary will be different. And if you start young, your salary will be low. But don’t be discouraged. Firefighting is not a static job. Your wage will increase with age and experience. You can move up from probationary firefighter to level two firefighter and eventually to chief, earning you top dollar. According to salary.com, the average annual income for a firefighter in the US is about $40,000, with the top ranking firefighters ranking closer to $60,000.

Read Part 1 of "Becoming A Firefighter" to learn about the qualifications and exams.

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