Firefighter instructor


Firefighter instructors train probationary, new academy recruits, or cadets, on the theory and practice necessary to become a firefighter. They conduct theoretical lectures on academic subjects such as law, basic chemistry, safety regulations, risk management, fire prevention, reading blueprints etc. Fire academy instructors also provide more hands-on, practical instruction regarding the usage of assistive equipment and rescue tools such as a fire hose, fire axe, smoke mask etc., but also heavy physical training, breathing techniques, first aid, self defense tactics and vehicle operations. They also prepare and develop lesson plans and new training programmes as new public service-related regulations and issues arise. The instructors monitor the students’ progress, evaluate them individually and prepare performance evaluation reports.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to firefighter instructor:

trainer in fire academy
firefighter teaching practitioner
fire instructor
firefighter trainer
instructor of firefighters
fire academy trainer
trainer of firefighters
instructor in fire academy
educator of firefighters
fire academy instructor

Minimum qualifications

High school diploma is generally required to work as firefighter instructor. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Firefighter instructor is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Firefighter instructor career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to firefighter instructor.

chief fire officer
police trainer
armed forces training and education officer
fire commissioner
adult literacy teacher

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of firefighter instructor. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of firefighter instructor with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of firefighter instructor.

Fire safety regulations: The legal rules to be applied for fire safety and fire prevention in a facility.
Hydraulics: The power transmission systems that use the force of flowing liquids to transmit power.
Fire prevention procedures: The regulations concerning fire and explosion prevention, and the equipment, systems and methods used in it.
Fire-fighting systems: The devices and systems used to extinguish fires; the classes and chemistry of fire.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of firefighter instructor.

Guarantee students’ safety: Ensure all students falling under an instructor or other person’s supervision are safe and accounted for. Follow safety precautions in the learning situation.
Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
Extinguish fires: Choose the adequate substances and methods to extinguish fires depending on their size, such as water and various chemical agents. Use a breathing apparatus.
Observe student’s progress: Follow up on students’ learning progress and assess their achievements and needs.
Work as a team in a hazardous environment: Work together with others in a dangerous, sometimes noisy, environment, such as a building on fire or metal forging facilities, in order to achieve a higher degree of efficiency while heeding the co-workers’ safety.
Educate on emergency management: Educate communities, organisations, or individuals on risk management and emergency response, such as how to develop and implement prevention and reaction strategies, and educate on emergency policies specific to the risks applicable to that area or organisation.
Assess students: Evaluate the students’ (academic) progress, achievements, course knowledge and skills through assignments, tests, and examinations. Diagnose their needs and track their progress, strengths, and weaknesses. Formulate a summative statement of the goals the student achieved.
Manage major incidents: Take immediate action to respond to major incidents that affect the safety and security of individuals in private or public places such as road accidents.
Evacuate people from buildings: Evacuate a person from a dangerous building or situation for protection purposes, ensuring the victim reaches safety and is able to receive medical care if necessary.
Provide advice on breaches of regulation: Advise on preventive and corrective actions; correct any breaches of or non-compliance with legal regulations.
Ensure student welfare: Ensure that the needs of students in educational organisations are met, and that any learning issues are addressed, as well as potential problems outside of an educational context.
Test safety strategies: Test policies and strategies related to risk and safety management and procedures, such as testing evacuation plans, safety equipment, and carrying out drills.
Teach fire fighting principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of fire fighting, more specifically in courses such as rescue operations, principles of building construction, and flammable liquids and gas fire fighting, with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field.
Perform classroom management: Maintain discipline and engage students during instruction.
Apply intercultural teaching strategies: Ensure that the content, methods, materials and the general learning experience is inclusive for all students and takes into account the expectations and experiences of learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. Explore individual and social stereotypes and develop cross-cultural teaching strategies.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of firefighter instructor. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Environmental policy: Local, national and international policies dealing with the promotion of environmental sustainability and the development of projects which reduce negative environmental impact and improve the state of the environment.
Pollution legislation: Be familiar with European and National legislation regarding the risk of pollution.
Pyrotechnic articles legislation: The legal rules surrounding pyrotechnics and pyrotechnic materials.
Adult education: Instruction targeted at adult students, both in a recreational and in an academic context, for self-improvement purposes, or to better equip the students for the labour market.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of firefighter instructor. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Maintain safety systems: Perform activities for the maintenance of fire fighting and related safety systems.
Perform risk analysis: Identify and assess factors that may jeopardise the success of a project or threaten the organisation’s functioning. Implement procedures to avoid or minimise their impact.
Safely instruct about fitness: Provide safe and effective fitness instruction.
Use geographic information systems: Work with computer data systems such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Ensure public safety and security: Implement the relevant procedures, strategies and use the proper equipment to promote local or national security activities for the protection of data, people, institutions, and property.
Relay messages through radio and telephone systems: Possess the communication abilities to relay messages through a radio and telephone system.
Manage resources for educational purposes: Identify the necessary resources needed for learning purposes, such as materials in class or arranged transportation for a field trip. Apply for the corresponding budget and follow up on the orders.
Perform search and rescue missions: Assist in fighting natural and civic disasters, such as forest fires, floods and road accidents. Conduct search-and-rescue missions.
Use different types of fire extinguishers: Understand and apply various methods of firefighting and various types and classes of fire extinguishing equipment.
Plan health and safety procedures: Set up procedures for maintaining and improving health and safety in the workplace.
Perform preventive maintenance on fire fighting vehicles: Keep firefighting vehicles ready for use at any time. Maintain all aspects of firefighting vehicles and ensure that vehicles function correctly.
Provide lesson materials: Ensure that the necessary materials for teaching a class, such as visual aids, are prepared, up-to-date, and present in the instruction space.
Assist students in their learning: Support and coach students in their work, give learners practical support and encouragement.
Educate public on fire safety: Develop and execute educational and promotional plans to educate the public on fire prevention knowledge and methods, fire safety such as the ability to identify hazards and the use of fire safety equipment, and to raise awareness on fire prevention issues.
Manage emergency care situations: Manage situations in which decision making under time pressure is essential to save lives.
Climb trees: Ascend and descend from trees in a safely manner.
Coordinate with other emergency services: Coordinate the firefighters’ work with the activities of the emergency medical services and of the police.

ISCO group and title

2320 – Vocational education teachers





  1. Firefighter instructor – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022