How to Become a Fireworks Technician

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A fireworks technician, also called a pyrotechnician, creates public fireworks displays. Most fireworks technicians in the U.S. pursue this field as a second job and choose to be part of an elite group within the entertainment industry. Less than 3% of the population participate in this activity. A fireworks technician can travel around the world to set up spectacular entertainment displays at festivals, circuses, or other events.[1] Although this is one of the jobs that don't require a college degree, specialized training and licensure are required.[2]


Flickr: bayasaa
Education None required[2]
Starting pay $100 per show[3]
Median pay $1,000 per show[3]
10 yr. growth Slower than average[3]
Related professions Circus performer
Author Selena Robinson

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Fireworks Technician Job Overview

A fireworks technician is responsible for the setup and discharge of a public fireworks display. He or she must be knowledgeable about federal, state, and local laws regarding the safe setup and discharge of a fireworks display. The technician trains and supervises a crew, who may or may not have to be licensed depending on the state in which they operate. During most shows, an operator acts as an overseer, who works individually with the crew members to make sure all aspects of the show are set up properly.[3]

Fireworks Technician Education

A prospective fireworks technician should find a reputable fireworks display company and attend a beginners' training class, which teaches the basics of adding a special recipe of chemicals to gunpowder in order to create the fireworks spectacle. The remainder of the education consists of a combination of classroom and hands-on training, not only about creating fireworks displays, but also about the strict state and local regulations that apply and the necessary safety issues. Education varies from company to company, because many are family-owned and have passed down their own unique protocols and techniques for generations. [2]

Fireworks Technician Training

After completing an education, the prospective fireworks technician will be required to work as an apprentice on at least three to six outdoor fireworks shows. During the shows, the technician is observed and evaluated on both performance and safety practices. Following this, the fireworks technician will work several shows as an assistant to the Display Operator in charge, slowly working his or her way up to taking over oversight of a show. This process could take one to three years.[2]

A Display Operator, may also be required to get a commercial driver's license (CDL) with a hazmat endorsement, which will require classroom training, driver training, and extensive criminal background and drug and alcohol testing.[2]

A Christmas Fireworks Display

A Christmas fireworks display at Disneyland

Also See: How to Become a Circus Performer, How to Become a Dancer, How to Become an Artist, How to Become a Performer at Disneyland


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