Career Progression for Firefighters

Our no-nonsense guide

Do you know where your Firefighter job could take you? Are you unsure of the best route?

Take a look at our guide to career progression for Firefighters in the Fire Service.

We often get asked these three questions at FRS Development – sometimes individually, sometimes all together!

  • Which levels of promotion are there within the Fire and Rescue Service?
  • Can I develop my career while I’m a firefighter?
  • What does each position involve?

We’ve got all your questions about career progression for firefighters covered!

Promotion model

The basic model for firefighter promotions goes like this:

  • Firefighter
  • Crew Manager
  • Watch Manager
  • Station Manager
  • Group Manager
  • Area Manager
  • Brigade Manager (Assistant CFO, Deputy CFO)
  • Chief Fire Officer

Promotion is dependent upon demonstrating competence in your current role. Generally your line manager will advise you if they think you’re ready to apply.

But what do the roles mean?

  • Firefighters  are responsible for putting out fires and handling related emergencies. The focus is on keeping the community safe and educated, minimising risk and protecting lives.
  • Crew Managers are responsible for the fire appliances and crew, they take charge of smaller incidents and provide support to the watch manager.
  • Watch Managers lead a number of smaller teams at larger incidents. They might also have duties as a fire safety inspector.
  • Station Managers ensure top service delivery at one or more fire stations. They may also take charge of larger incidents.
  • Group Managers are responsible for the service across a geographical area (for example Greater Manchester) or a specialist department, such as training and development.
  • Area Managers are responsible for a larger geographical area, or for heading up a directorate.
  • Brigade Managers are strategically responsible for their departments, and support the Chief Fire Officer (CFO).
  • Chief Fire Officers are responsible for ensuring effective delivery of all fire and rescue service duties. This is the pinnacle of a career within the Fire Service for many!

When you’ve reached the level of station manager, it’s possible that you might have to move between services to get promoted.

Career Development

You could also get the chance to specialise in a particular area of the fire and rescue service. Your FRS might offer you the opportunity to take part in further study –  like a foundation, undergraduate or postgrad degree. This could be in areas like fire and risk management, fire engineering or disaster management.

Or you could choose to study for membership of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) or for a general  management qualification.

We’ll be exploring these positions and opportunities in a more in-depth way over the coming months!

If you’d like to find out more about the general promotion procedure or are considering going for a promotion, then check out the handy promotion resources on our site! You’ll also find lots of helpful advice and tips in our popular eBooks, available in our store.

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FRS Team

Our team of experts have the many years of Fire Service experience and are up to date with the latest selection news.

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