Career Information

Job opportunities are available in small or large municipal fire departments, fire protection districts or industrial fire departments. Depending on your level of continued education, career paths include:

  • Certified safety professional by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals 
  • Emergency manager
  • Emergency medical service provider
  • Fire and arson investigator  
  • Fire equipment sales representative
  • Fire insurance appraiser
  • Fire officer
  • Fire or building inspector
  • Fire or emergency service instructor
  • Fire protection specialist
  • Firefighter
  • Hazardous materials technician
  • Occupational safety and risk manager
  • Rescue technician


Firefighters work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Airport fire teams
  • Chemical plant and other industrial site fire teams
  • Emergency medical service (EMS) units
  • Hazardous materials units
  • National park and forest fire teams
  • Urban and rural fire departments

Prospective firefighters face keen competition for available job openings. Best opportunities are for those who are physically fit and score the highest on physical conditioning and mechanical aptitude exams. Those who have completed some firefighter education at a community college and have EMT certification have an advantage in the job search.

Fire and Arson Investigators

Fire investigators determine and document origin and cause of fires to bring authoritative testimony to the courtroom to win a conviction in cases of arson. An arson investigator tries to determine who is responsible for setting a fire; a fire investigator (who is also often an arson investigator) attempts to determine the cause and origin of a fire. Many fire investigators have a background in law enforcement. To be certified by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection as a basic arson investigator, you must: 
  • Possess a current basic peace officer’s license from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education or documentation that you are a federal law enforcement officer (note that the Dallas College offers state-certified Basic Peace Officer training courses and certification)
  • Hold a current commission as a peace officer with the employer for whom the arson investigations will be done
  • Complete a commission-approved basic fire investigation training program
  • Pass the commission examination 

Safety and Risk Management Professionals

Safety professionals identify and evaluate hazards for their potential to cause harm to people, property or the environment, recommending controls to minimize risk. They work for private companies, government agencies and organizations in areas such as operations, manufacturing, transportation, construction and insurance services. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) offers the designation of Certified Safety Professional.
BCSP offers information on median salaries for certified safety professionals (CSPs), with current annual salaries reported at $98,000. The median annual salary of a CSP is more than $25,000 greater than that of the average occupational health and safety specialist, according to numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Why is This a Good Career Bet?

CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, projects high job growth increase for almost all public protection and emergency medical careers: 20% for firefighters and 19% for fire inspectors and first-line supervisors of firefighters through 2024 in Texas.