Becoming a fire captain is a process that requires the acquisition of many skills and educational specialties. A person who is interested in the involvement with administrative and supervisory work for a specific fire station might choose to become a fire captain as a vocation. Although the requirements needed to become a fire captain can vary depending on the location and situation, this profession generally is reserved for those who have a high school diploma or other certification, experience working with a fire department and specialized post-secondary education and licensure.
The first step to become a fire captain is to obtain a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate and partake in the necessary training needed to become a firefighter. As a firefighter, someone who aspires to become a fire captain should continue his or her education in fire science, equipment techniques, building construction, public speaking, budgeting and other disciplines related to the profession. Also required might be emergency training or a commercial license for operating machinery. There might be specific programs in one's area that would allow him or her to obtain the required education in an organized and efficient manner.
After a firefighter has gained a significant amount of training and experience, he or she might decide to transition into the more specialized role of fire engineer. Generally, the career step above being a fire engineer is to become a fire captain. More education and experience might be required at the fire engineer level, and additional education might be obtained through local or national agencies that specialize in the training of fire captains. If one chooses to continue his or her education, he or she might be interested in becoming a fire chief, which generally is a manager to whom fire captains from different stations report.
As of 2010, the average salary for a person holding the rank of fire captain was $60,000-$72,000 US Dollars. As with most professions, the salary depends on the location and the person's experience and education. Job responsibilities tend to vary from station to station, but generally speaking, the duties of this profession are most related to the planning and supervision of the station's activities. This includes the oversight of operations, budgeting, public relations, firefighter performance management and emergency operations. In addition, the fire captain also must act as a subordinate of the regional fire chief, who is in charge of managing different fire stations within their region of operation.