Fire and Emergency Workers attend emergencies to minimise risk to community safety and security and protect life and property.

A Certificate III including at least 2 years of on-the-job training, or a Certificate IV, or at least 3 years of relevant experience, is usually needed. Most workers have a Certificate III or higher Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. Even with a qualification, experience or on-the-job training is usually needed. Registration or licensing may be required.

Tasks

  • attending the scene of fires and other emergencies reported to authorities
  • rescuing and evacuating people stranded or trapped in dangerous situations
  • operating pumps, spraying water, foam and chemicals from hoses, portable extinguishers and other appliances to extinguish fires and to disperse or neutralise dangerous substances
  • cutting openings in buildings and crashed vehicles to free occupants
  • maintaining site security systems
  • administering first aid
  • attending and participating in training activities, rescue classes, drills, demonstrations and courses in emergency and fire-fighting techniques
  • training recruits in emergency procedures and practices
  • visiting buildings and potential fire hazards to study access points and locations of hydrants
  • maintaining tools and equipment

Job Titles

  • Emergency Service Worker
  • Fire Fighter
  • Emergency Service Worker (also called Emergency Response Officer)

    Attends the scene of emergencies to minimise risk to community safety and security.

    Specialisations: Industrial Paramedic

  • Fire Fighter

    Responds to fire alarms and emergency calls, controls and extinguishes fires, and protects life and property. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Fire Engineer (Army), Fire Prevention Officer, Leading Firefighter

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,601 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    moderate
  • Skill Level

    Certificate III or IV
  • Employment Size

    18,100
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    90.9%
  • Female Share

    9.1%
  • Full-Time Share

    97.8%

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This is a medium sized occupation employing 18,100 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Moderate growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create up to 5,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Fire and Emergency Workers work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Public Administration and Safety; Mining; and Transport, Postal and Warehousing.
  • Almost all work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 40.6 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,601 per week (very high compared to the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 44 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years) and around 5 in 10 workers are aged 45 years or older.
  • More than 9 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200510200
200612000
200711100
200814400
200913800
201015500
201115800
201217400
201315700
201418500
201518100
202019700

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsFire and Emergency WorkersAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings16011230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryFire and Emergency WorkersAll Jobs Average
Full-time97.868.4
Part-time2.231.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)40.640.0

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Public Administration and Safety82.3
Mining6.4
Transport, Postal and Warehousing5.1
Health Care and Social Assistance2.0
Other Industries4.2

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateFire and Emergency WorkersAll Jobs Average
NSW24.231.8
VIC24.725.5
QLD19.219.8
SA8.26.8
WA17.011.2
TAS2.52.0
NT3.31.1
ACT0.91.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketFire and Emergency WorkersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.0-5.45.4
20-241.3-9.99.9
25-3419.6-23.423.4
35-4429.6-21.721.7
45-5435.3-21.121.1
55-5910.3-8.78.7
60-643.3-5.95.9
65 and Over0.6-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryFire and Emergency WorkersCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males90.9Males53.6
Females9.1Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationFire and Emergency WorkersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0.0-8.68.6
Bachelor degree0.0-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma27.7-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV66.3-18.918.9
Year 120.0-18.718.7
Years 11 & 106.0-17.717.7
Below Year 100.0-8.18.1

A Certificate III including at least 2 years of on-the-job training, or a Certificate IV, or at least 3 years of relevant experience, is usually needed. Most workers have a Certificate III or higher Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. Even with a qualification, experience or on-the-job training is usually needed. Registration or licensing may be required.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Fire and Emergency Workers who have strong interpersonal skills, can communicate clearly and have strong attention to detail.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Public Safety and Security

    85% Important

    Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

  2. Customer and Personal Service

    78% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  3. Education and Training

    76% Important

    Teaching and course design.

  4. Mechanical

    75% Important

    Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

  5. Building and Construction

    72% Important

    Materials, methods, and the tools used to construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

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Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Assisting and Caring for Others

    91% Important

    Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support to people such as co-workers, customers, or patients.

  2. Operating Vehicles or Equipment

    90% Important

    Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

  3. Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material

    88% Important

    Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.

  4. Performing General Physical Activities

    87% Important

    Doing things that use of your arms and legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

  5. Handling and Moving Objects

    87% Important

    Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Occupational Information Network Fire-Prevention and Protection Engineers Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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