There are currently an estimated 327,300 firefighters in the United States. The firefighter job market is expected to grow by 7.2% between 2016 and 2026.

How employable are firefighters?

CareerExplorer rates firefighters with a C employability rating, meaning this career should provide moderate employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 27,800 firefighters. That number is based on 23,600 additional firefighters, and the retirement of 4,200 existing firefighters.

Are firefighters in demand?

This field is forecasted to remain very competitive, with the number of people interested in becoming firefighters outweighing the number of available positions in most areas. Applicants who are physically fit, have paramedic training, have top scores on physical conditioning and mechanical aptitude exams, and have at least some postsecondary training will be most in demand. Most new jobs will be created as small communities grow and augment their volunteer staffs with career firefighters. There are also growing numbers of 'paid-on-call' (POC) firefighters who are paid only when responding to fires. Some local governments are expected to contract for firefighting services with private companies. In some fire departments, the hours of each work shift have been shortened and two people may be employed to cover that which is normally a one person shift. Most job growth will occur as volunteer firefighting departments are converted to paid positions. Layoffs of firefighters are uncommon, given the essential nature of fire protection to communities.

What’s the supply of firefighters?

The firefighter industry is concentrated in California, Texas, Florida

Firefighter job market by state

State Name Employed Firefighters
California 31,150
Texas 27,900
Florida 24,430
Ohio 18,670
Illinois 17,830
North Carolina 15,230
Georgia 12,230
Massachusetts 12,120
Virginia 10,310
New York 9,680
Wisconsin 9,420
Washington 8,710
Indiana 7,600
Arizona 7,180
Michigan 6,980
Missouri 6,490
Louisiana 6,290
Minnesota 6,200
New Jersey 5,530
Colorado 5,480
Tennessee 5,340
South Carolina 5,170
Pennsylvania 5,000
Alabama 4,700
Maryland 4,130
Kentucky 3,810
Oregon 3,410
Oklahoma 3,400
Kansas 3,390
Connecticut 3,270
Mississippi 3,040
Utah 2,390
Arkansas 2,340
New Hampshire 2,160
New Mexico 2,140
Maine 1,940
Nevada 1,860
Hawaii 1,750
Iowa 1,730
Rhode Island 1,660
Idaho 1,640
Puerto Rico 1,550
Nebraska 1,140
West Virginia 870
Montana 730
Alaska 700
North Dakota 480
South Dakota 480
Wyoming 460
Delaware 440
Vermont 280