Firefighter Career Development

Some firefighters decide they want to progress their career by being promoted into a managerial role. The first level of promotion is from firefighter to Crew Manager, where instead of being part of the crew you now have supervisory responsibilities to direct it. You can see the further promotional options on the right.

Different FRS may use different terminology, such as crew and watch commander, but the duties are much the same.

As a manager the range of roles and responsibilities opens up even further. For instance, as a Station Manager you may, as the role suggests, be responsible for overseeing all station activities and managing the four watches who operate there. However, you may also work in a specialist department, such as Operations, People Development or Fire Investigation, perhaps based in Headquarters.

The more senior the role, the more responsibility you will have for managing people, budgets and results. You may need to write reports, attend meetings with other agencies, contribute to policy development, manage resources and make decisions to support organisational objectives.

Further Development

There are opportunities throughout your career, some of it compulsory but some will be up to you, depending on your motivation. You can take a range of qualifications or specialise in a certain area, from NVQs or degrees to specialist skills such as hazardous materials or water rescues.

With most professions, if you are proactive and push yourself there are plenty of opportunities, but they may not come looking for you if you don’t put yourself out there.

Some FRS require firefighters to undertake the Institute of Fire Engineers exams as part of their promotions process.


Crew Manager

Watch Manager

Station Manager

Group Manager

Area Manager

Brigade Manager
(Assistant Chief Fire Officer/ Deputy Fire Officer)

Chief Fire Officer


Next Page: Joining the Fire Service

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