The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Sample of reported job titles:
Fire Fighter, Fire Management Specialist, Fire Rescue Technician, Fire Technician, Firefighter, Forest Fire Suppression Specialist, Forestry Fire Technician, Hot Shot, On-Scene Supporter, Wildland Firefighter
- Rescue fire victims, and administer emergency medical aid.
- Maintain contact with fire dispatchers at all times to notify them of the need for additional firefighters and supplies, or to detail any difficulties encountered.
- Collaborate with other firefighters as a member of a firefighting crew.
- Patrol burned areas after fires to locate and eliminate hot spots that may restart fires.
- Establish water supplies, connect hoses, and direct water onto fires.
- Maintain knowledge of current firefighting practices by participating in drills and by attending seminars, conventions, and conferences.
- Test and maintain tools, equipment, jump gear, and parachutes to ensure readiness for fire suppression activities.
- Orient self in relation to fire, using compass and map, and collect supplies and equipment dropped by parachute.
- Operate pumps connected to high-pressure hoses.
- Train new employees to control and suppress forest fires.
- Maintain fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.
- Participate in physical training to maintain high levels of physical fitness.
- Transport personnel and cargo to and from fire areas.
- Take action to contain any hazardous chemicals that could catch fire, leak, or spill.
- Inform and educate the public about fire prevention.
- Extinguish flames and embers to suppress fires, using shovels or engine- or hand-driven water or chemical pumps.
- Participate in fire prevention and inspection programs.
- Fell trees, cut and clear brush, and dig trenches to create firelines, using axes, chainsaws, or shovels.
- Drop weighted paper streamers from aircraft to determine the speed and direction of the wind at fire sites.
- Organize fire caches, positioning equipment for the most effective response.
- Serve as fully trained lead helicopter crewmember and as helispot manager.
- Perform forest maintenance and improvement tasks, such as cutting brush, planting trees, building trails, and marking timber.
- Observe forest areas from fire lookout towers to spot potential problems.
- Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without ‘giving out’ or fatiguing.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
- Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
- Spatial Orientation — The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Dynamic Strength — The ability to exert muscle force repeatedly or continuously over time. This involves muscular endurance and resistance to muscle fatigue.
- Gross Body Equilibrium — The ability to keep or regain your body balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Gross Body Coordination — The ability to coordinate the movement of your arms, legs, and torso together when the whole body is in motion.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Speed of Limb Movement — The ability to quickly move the arms and legs.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
Detailed Work Activities
- Administer first aid.
- Rescue people from hazardous situations.
- Request emergency personnel.
- Locate fires or fire danger areas.
- Patrol natural areas to ensure safety or enforce regulations.
- Attend training to learn new skills or update knowledge.
- Maintain professional knowledge or certifications.
- Prepare hoses or water supplies to fight fires.
- Operate firefighting equipment.
- Maintain fire fighting tools or equipment.
- Inspect equipment to ensure safety or proper functioning.
- Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
- Train personnel to enhance job skills.
- Participate in physical training to maintain fitness.
- Drive vehicles to transport individuals or equipment.
- Protect property from fire or water damage.
- Educate the public about fire safety or prevention.
- Record information about environmental conditions.
- Inspect facilities to ensure compliance with fire regulations.
- Direct fire fighting or prevention activities.
- Monitor environmental conditions to detect hazards.
- Work With Work Group or Team — 83% responded “Extremely important.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 69% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 73% responded “Every day.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 66% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 62% responded “Extremely important.”
- Telephone — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 64% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 30% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 47% responded “Very important results.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 51% responded “Some freedom.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 43% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Exposed to Contaminants
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 27% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 42% responded “Extremely important.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 26% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 26% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Physical Proximity — 45% responded “Very close (near touching).”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 61% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Level of Competition — 37% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 36% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 27% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 53% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Spend Time Standing — 20% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 27% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 16% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 49% responded “More than half the time.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 44% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Under Cover — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Public Speaking — 41% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 35% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Work Schedules
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 34% responded “Fairly important.”
- In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 37% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
Interest code: RS
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- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Firefighters.
Employment data collected from Firefighters.
Industry data collected from Firefighters.
|Median wages (2018)||$23.85 hourly, $49,620 annual|
|Employment (2018)||332,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2018-2028)|
Average (4% to 6%)
|Projected job openings (2018-2028)||25,000|
|Top industries (2018)||Government|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 wage data
and 2018-2028 employment projections
“Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2018-2028). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Sources of Additional Information
Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries.
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