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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Fighters in Detroit, Michigan

Fire fighters can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Detroit, Michigan area. About 6,730 people are currently employed as fire fighters in Michigan. By 2016, this is expected to grow 6% to about 7,170 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fire fighters are expected to grow by about 18.5%. In general, fire fighters control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Fire fighters earn approximately $20 hourly or $43,510 yearly on average in Michigan. Nationally they average about $21 hourly or $44,260 per year. Fire fighters earn less than people working in the category of Fire Control generally in Michigan and less than people in the Fire Control category nationally. Fire fighters work in a variety of jobs, including: plugman, tail board man, and crash crew.

There are seventy-three schools of higher education in the Detroit area, including three within twenty-five miles of Detroit where you can get a degree to start your career as a fire fighter. The most common level of education for fire fighters is a post-secondary certificate. It will take a short time to learn to be a fire fighter if you already have a high school diploma.


In general, fire fighters control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Fire fighters decide on and attach hose nozzles, depending on fire type, and direct streams of water or chemicals onto fires. They also lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies. Equally important, fire fighters have to respond to fire alarms and other calls for assistance. They are often called upon to dress with equipment such as fire resistant clothing and breathing apparatus. They are expected to clean and maintain fire stations and fire fighting equipment and apparatus. Finally, fire fighters ready written reports that detail specifics of fire incidents.

Every day, fire fighters are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to respond quickly in general. It is also important that they exert themselves over and over again for long periods of time.

It is important for fire fighters to spray foam onto runways and rescue aircraft crew and passengers in air-crash emergencies. They are often called upon to examine buildings for fire hazards and adherence to fire prevention ordinances, testing and checking smoke alarms and fire suppression equipment as needed. They also salvage property by removing broken glass, pumping out water, and ventilating buildings to remove smoke. They are sometimes expected to establish firelines to inhibit unauthorized persons from entering areas near fires. Somewhat less frequently, fire fighters are also expected to examine fire sites after flames have been extinguished to insure that there is no further danger.

Fire fighters sometimes are asked to protect property from water and smoke using waterproof salvage covers and deodorants. They also have to be able to take action to contain hazardous chemicals that might catch fire or spill and participate in courses, seminars and conferences, and study fire science literature, to learn firefighting techniques. And finally, they sometimes have to lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies.

Like many other jobs, fire fighters must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Detroit include:

  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Forest Fire Lookout. Enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. Report forest fires and weather conditions.
  • Forest Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
  • Lifeguard. Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.


Schoolcraft College - Livonia, MI

Schoolcraft College, 18600 Haggerty Road, Livonia, MI 48152-2696. Schoolcraft College is a large college located in Livonia, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,560 students. Schoolcraft College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated seventeen and twenty-four students respectively in 2008.

Madonna University - Livonia, MI

Madonna University, 36600 Schoolcraft Rd, Livonia, MI 48150-1176. Madonna University is a small university located in Livonia, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,015 students and an admission rate of 76%. Madonna University has associate's degree, two to four year, and bachelor's degree programs in Fire Science/Firefighting.

Oakland Community College - Bloomfield Hills, MI

Oakland Community College, 2480 Opdyke Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304-2266. Oakland Community College is a large college located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,957 students. Oakland Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one and twelve students respectively in 2008.


Oxygen Administration: Prepares laypersons and professional rescuers with the knowledge and skills needed to know when and how to use supplemental oxygen and breathing devices.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

Incident Safety Officer - Fire Suppression Certification: A fire department incident safety officer's mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Health & Safety Officer Certification: Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Programs.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Special Hazards Suppression Systems: This certification program is designed for engineering technicians engaged in the detailing and layout and/or installation and maintenance related to special hazards suppression systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.


Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan photo by Durova

Detroit is located in Wayne County, Michigan. It has a population of over 912,062, which has shrunk by 4.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Detroit, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Detroit are priced at $108,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, eighty-five new homes were built in Detroit, down from one hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Detroit are health care, educational services, and transportation equipment. For men, it is transportation equipment, construction, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 11.0% of Detroit residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Detroit is 27.0%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Detroit residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.7%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Detroit is home to the Memorial Park Marina and the Detroit Golf Club as well as Chene Park and Mallett Playground. Visitors to Detroit can choose from Corktown Inn, Clark's Motel and Days Inn of Downtown Detroit for temporary stays in the area.