If you’re working as a firefighter or thinking of becoming one, you may be wondering if it’s OK to take on a second job in order to give your salary a little boost? Well, we’ve got some good news for you – you can and we can show you the best kinds of jobs and businesses that can fit in with the firefighting life.
Firefighters are usually allowed to have 2 jobs and many do. A firefighter’s second job cannot interfere with their work as a firefighter. That means the second job must fit around the shift schedule, which can reduce a firefighter’s options for a second job.
We will talk about firefighters having more than one job, how common it is and if there are rules against it. We will also look into some great options for firefighter side businesses and part-time jobs that fit with the schedule.
Your # 1 priority is keeping your family safe. As a firefighter, I recommend everyone has updated smoke detectors that don’t require battery changes, like these ones from Kidde, a fire extinguisher, like this one from Amerex, and a fire escape ladder if you have bedrooms above the first floor, I recommend this one from Hausse.
Can Firefighters Have 2 Jobs?
There seems to be a certain, but mistaken, belief among some people that firefighters are under similar obligations as to those who serve in the armed forces. That they have a requirement to only hold down one job and that job is firefighting.
This simply isn’t the case. In fact, a firefighter is perfectly OK to take a second job if they want to earn additional money and as long as that second job doesn’t prevent them from carrying out their duties as a firefighter or cause any ethical dilemmas with firefighting, they’re free to do whatever they want in their downtime.
Is it Wise for Firefighters to Have 2 Jobs?
We don’t want to go too far down this path because we’re not physicians or psychologists, but we would point out that everyone needs to have some time to rest. We’re all different and we all have different needs but sooner or later working every hour that you have can lead to burnout.
That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s a bad idea to have two jobs. To the contrary, we think you can take on work that complements your work as a firefighter, which helps you gain new skills and insights that you can bring back to work or which, quite simply, offer enormous personal benefits (as you’ll see when we look at possible part-time jobs).
We’d just like to remind you though that if you have a family, you should talk through your desires for a 2nd job with your family – it helps if you’re all on the same page when it comes to working. You don’t want your work to harm your relationships.
If you’d like to know what firefighters think about having two jobs, you can check out this discussion at firehouse.com.
Firefighter Side Businesses
We think there are two ways to approach a second job for firefighters, the first and easiest is to start your own business or side hustle. Why easiest?
Well, when you’re the boss, you can set your own hours and you can stick to them. This is a huge benefit when you work shifts that you cannot change the hours of – if you want to succeed as a firefighter, you have to be able to defend your time and when you’re the boss, that’s easy.
Of course, that’s not to say that everything else about running a business is easy but the benefits, in our eyes, outweigh the negatives.
So, what kinds of business might be good for firefighters to run? Here are some ideas:
5 Best Side Jobs for Firefighters
Please don’t think these are the only things that you can do but they are all businesses where your skills as a firefighter are going to give you a competitive advantage:
1. Fire Proofing Construction Business
If there’s one thing you ought to know as a firefighter, it’s that prevention is almost always better than the cure and that many fires could be avoided with the right kind of fireproofing. You’ll be able to look at your customer over the table and explain the real world consequences of not taking action and you’ll be credible while you do it.
Fireproofing is the kind of work that pays well. It’s a specialist area with less competition than general construction and it ought to be easy to drum up business. You can simply offer your services to local businesses and residences by offering free fire safety checks (or discounted ones).
Your status as a professional firefighter is going to make it easy for people to believe what you have to say and to feel that you’re the trustworthy type to make their problems, in this area, go away.
2. Safety Training Company
We think that this is, in fact, two opportunities in the shape of a single opportunity. Training is a very well-paid area and firefighters ought to be able to deliver training on firefighting. Many industrial teams such as chemical laboratories to offices require regular training on the basics of putting out fires.
In addition to that, most firefighters are qualified in CPR, EMT, etc. and that means you ought to be able to quickly add first aid and CPR training to your roster. This is your second big opportunity, almost every workplace, everywhere in the world needs to ensure that they have qualified first aiders on staff and some staff trained in CPR.
Training of this nature is likely to bring in sums of around $100+/hour which can make it even more lucrative than your day job. It also tends to be delivered in relatively short sessions and that lets you fit it around your busy regular work schedule with ease.
3. Safety Consulting Business
As soon as you put the word “consultant” into your business title, you know that you can charge a good rate for the work you do. It seems to open the purses of corporations in a way that no other job title does.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to provide value for money. A safety consultant is going to go into businesses, inspect their buildings and report on potential hazards (sometimes just fire hazards but more general safety consulting widens your scope for additional opportunities).
Then you put together plans and implementation schedules to correct any issues that have been identified. Sometimes, you will also work with the business to manage the delivery of the project. This can be a lot of fun and it’s quite different from the day-to-day work of a firefighter while still being complementary to it.
4. Fitness Training
Want to ensure that your second job has less of a “firefighting” feel to it? That’s perfectly understandable, sometimes, a change is as good as a rest, right? Well, there’s no doubt that your average firefighter is a very fit and physically capable person – it’s not a job for people who like to lounge around doing nothing.
So, why not consider moving into personal fitness training? This isn’t as lucrative as consulting, but it can be a very pleasant way of working and you get to help people and see the benefits that you bring into people’s lives close up.
It can help to get some basic qualifications in this area before you start and then you can decide whether you want to work 1-on-1 with private clients or whether you’d prefer to deliver boot camp style classes in more public spaces or you might even want a mix of both.
In the longer-term, if you make a success of this, you can hire in other firefighters to do more training in their spare time too.
5. Consider Buying a Franchise
One of the nice things about buying a franchise is that you don’t need to have a ton of business expertise to get started. That’s because part of your franchise fee covers training and development to help manage the business that you are buying.
Franchised businesses tend to hold less risk for you as a person because you’re buying and using an established name. However, on the flip side, there’s often less opportunity for huge profits because some of the money always goes back to the brand-holder.
Make sure, however, that if you do go this route that you can eventually appoint someone to manage your franchises in your stead. Some franchise models require that the owner always be “hands on” and that limits your ability to grow your business especially when you already have a main job as a firefighter.
Firefighter Part-Time Jobs?
The options for part-time jobs are a bit less exciting for firefighters than the opportunities for running your own business. The big challenge is that firefighters work shifts and there aren’t many other jobs that are happy to work around those shifts.
However, there are some jobs out there that will work around shifts, and while they may not utilize all your firefighting knowledge, they can definitely bring in some extra cash and give you a break from doing what you normally do.
5 Best Part-Time Jobs for Firefighters
1. Work for One of the Five Businesses Above
One thing you can be sure of is that if you have firefighting skills, you’re going to be of value to the people running the 5 kinds of businesses above. Some of whom may be firefighters or former firefighters and others may not be but they’re all going to be looking for someone with your kind of worth ethic and expertise.
You don’t have to own the company to consult, train, etc. You won’t get paid as much as if you did but you also won’t have the headaches of managing the company, the administration, the sales, and marketing, etc. you can just put your expertise to work and enjoy the extra money coming in.
In fact, in some cases, if you work for a reasonable sized firm in a part-time capacity, you might make almost as much as someone running a one man company.
2. Work as an Emergency Medical Technician
Now, this doesn’t mean – go sign up and be a paramedic or EMT worker (though some firefighters do that). What it does mean is take the knowledge that you’ve gained from being an EMT or paramedic and put it to work in aligned trade.
There are plenty of opportunities in these fields and your skill set as a firefighter is very much aligned with what they need.
3. Get Selling as a Realtor
You won’t earn a fortune when you start because working as a realtor requires that you work on building a long-term pipeline but you can earn very good money on selling a single home and if you sell a lot of them, you can earn a small fortune.
You do need to get a qualification in real estate to do this and you may need a specific certification depending on where you live if you are an American firefighter. In the UK, on the other hand, you can just go out and find a job – no qualifications are needed to sell homes in the UK.
As a firefighter, you can offer valuable insight to prospective buyers in terms of safety and security and people are more likely to respect the word of a trusted professional than they are of your average realtor without a firefighting background.
A skilled carpenter is hard to come by and the rewards are good if you have the skills to build things with your hands. However, it’s worth noting that you may need a license to work as a carpenter in some states (but not all states).
Many people might decide that they want to work on their own as a carpenter rather than for an employer but this can add quite a bit of hassle to the job, though it does come with the perk of being able to pick and choose which projects that you work on.
One word of caution though, carpentry can be a bit “seasonal” and there tends to be more work in the warmer months than in the winter.
5. Bartending is a Solid Fallback
Bartenders may not get the best of wages but that’s because they can get tips that can substantially boost their earnings. Incredibly, there are quite a few states out there now which require bartenders to be licensed and certified before they can get a job!
This isn’t true everywhere and certainly outside of the United States this would be something of a rarity – you can normally learn what you need to know at your place of employment.
While we hope that you won’t use too many of your firefighting skills while tending bar, it’s a great way to learn to meet and interact with people, which is something you can always use when it comes to seeking a promotion in your main job.
Can firefighters have 2 jobs? Yes, they can. Though there are some limitations on the jobs that they can take up because they work shifts. Firefighting should always be a firefighter’s first priority and no job they take should conflict ethically with their main job, either.
Should they have two jobs? That’s down to the individual firefighter and their family. There are definitely good arguments in favor of some extra money and work and others that are perfectly good in favor of more rest.
As for what jobs they can take? We hope that our guide to some business opportunities and part-time jobs for firefighters has helped spark your imagination.