The employment outlook in this profession is good. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 9 percent job growth through 2018 for fire inspectors and investigators and 17 percent job growth for firefighters and their front-line supervisors.
Fire fighting has a rich history that dates to at least ancient Egypt with the invention of a basic hand pump that could squirt a jet of water. The idea was lost until the fire pump was reinvented about 1500. In between, fire brigades responded to and fought fires, passing water-filled buckets and maintaining order.
Volunteers staffed many early fire departments, and the philosophy was “surround and drown” a blazing fire. But late in the 20th Century, the idea began to give way to a professional, educated and trained force. Today, fire departments combine modern equipment with evolving science.
The role of firefighter has expanded, too. In many departments, firefighters also must be paramedics or EMTs or be enrolled in training program that leads to such certification. Firefighters still respond to fires involving houses, businesses, chemical plants and forests and they must understand building construction, collapse, fire behavior and fire fighting techniques.