Pyrotechnicians are highly specialized professions who are responsible for managing, handling, securing and activating a variety of pyrotechnics and pyrotechnic devices.
Although many individuals associate pyrotechnics with the entertainment field, such as concerts or other shows, it can also be used interchangeably with those who work with explosive materials for a living.
Many Pyrotechnicians may also specialize in a variety of industries.
Some common specializations include Display Operators who work for entertainment displays such as fireworks.
Individuals who want to become a Pyrotechnician will need a combination of personal characteristics, experience in the field and educational requirements to enter this profession.
Some recommended characteristics include: having attention to detail, a confidence when handling explosives and having dexterous hands when handling explosive material.
Education Requirements to Become a Pyrotechnician
Exact requirements to become a Pyrotechnician will depend on the state an individual chooses to work in.
For the most part, individuals must have a high school diploma, gain on the job experience and become licensed in order to enter this profession.
Some states also require individuals entering this profession to be a minimum of 18 years old, while some states require candidates to be at least 21 years old, especially for individuals seeking opportunities in management.
Individuals who want to become a Pyrotechnician are encouraged to contact their states on specific age requirements.
Individuals who want to become a Pyrotechnician can gain on the job experience by completing an apprenticeship that last approximately 1 to 3 years.
This type of training is typical for Pyrotechnicians who work as Display Operators.
Under an apprenticeship, an individual will work as an entry level professional who will learn their trade by being supervised by a more experienced professional.
Wages in an apprenticeship can be minimal in comparison to individuals who have been in the industry for an extended amount of time.
Pyrotechnicians who work in the construction field have different options to entering this profession.
Pyrotechnicians in the construction industry may also gain their knowledge and skills by on the job training.
Individuals will need to start in an entry level position and will be supervised by an individual who has more experience in the field.
Some classroom work may also be offered by an employer in order to learn terminology and the composition of explosive material.
Individuals who want to become a Pyrotechnician in the mining industry may need to complete a postsecondary degree in order to enter this industry.
Because explosions in the mining industry may be placed underground, an individual with more education is preferred.
Individuals seeking a career in the mining industry are encouraged to complete a bachelor’s degree in explosives engineering.
Pyrotechnician Job Description
A Pyrotechnician’s exact job duties will depend on the industry they work in.
Some common job duties may include the following:
- Safely setting up explosives and explosive material
- Setting up explosive equipment used to detonate
- Detonate explosives relying on cues from colleagues and other Pyrotechnicians
Pyrotechnicians must set up equipment and explosives in a way that prevents accidents or fires.
They must be well aware of their environment and assure there are no obstacles or individuals close to where explosive material is exposed or held safely.
Individuals will also be responsible for safely securing explosive material and equipment for storage.
Pyrotechnician Salary and Career Path
There is no specific salary information for the Pyrotechnician profession; however, there is information for the closely related field of Explosive Workers and Blasters.
In 2012, the median salary for professionals who handled explosives was approximately $49,270 per year or $23.69 per hour.
Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including years of experience, geographical location and the size of the company an individual works for.
The job outlook for Pyrotechnicians is expected to experience little to no growth in the next decade.
The projected job growth for this field is estimated at 5 percent through the year 2022.
This growth is much slower when compared to the average growth rate for other professions.
However, individuals can expect job opportunities to replace individuals who are leaving the profession and industry.
Pyrotechnicians are experts who are experienced in managing and working with explosives.
This job may be ideal for those who work well with their hands and can work quickly.
This is an important position in many industries because of the nature of explosives.
Individuals who work in this profession will need to be reliable and are required to handle and safely store explosives.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a pyrotechnician?
Pyrotechnicians are responsible for operating and storing pyrotechnic devices.
They need to know state and local laws that apply to this field and must follow strict safety procedures.
A pyrotechnician needs knowledge of the laws of physics and should be computer-savvy, as pyrotechnic patterns are typically controlled by a computer.
Having an artistic eye is also helpful in this profession.
In order to avoid injuries, pyrotechnicians need attention to detail, dexterity and they have to be very careful when working with explosives.
How much does a pyrotechnician make?
Pyrotechnicians are usually independent contractors or work for a pyrotechnics company that is paid per show.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual wage for explosives workers, in general, was $49,650 as of May 2018.
Depending on your experience, the region and the employer you can make anywhere between less than $35,000 and more than $75,000 a year.
How much does it cost to become a pyrotechnician?
Pyrotechnicians need to know chemistry and physics, so taking science classes in high school can help if you want o start a career in this field.
Training programs are also available through professional organizations, such as the Pyrotechnics Guild International.
Costs for these programs vary depending on the region and the course but are usually less than $100/person.
You can get a professional certification if you finish a course, obtain a passing score at a certification exam and have some experience working as a crew member on four displays.
Most states require pyrotechnicians to hold a state license, which means that they have to pass a pyrotechnic operator exam.
The licensing process can cost you up to $1,500, depending on the state.
What is the demand for pyrotechnicians?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for explosives workers, ordinance handling experts, and blasters is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2028.
Employment opportunities vary depending on the region and the time of year.
Those who have some formal training and a few years of experience in the field should have better job prospects.
How long does it take to become a pyrotechnician?
You can join this field with a high school diploma and you will learn the ins and outs of this profession through on-the-job training.
Some companies offer their own training programs while others refer their new employees to professional organizations, such as the Pyrotechnics Guild International.
These training programs will teach you about the laws that govern this field and pyrotechnic safety and principles.
Trainees also participate in several shows in order to prove their competency.
This on-the-job apprenticeship period can last up to 3 years.
Pyrotechnicians also need a state license, which can be awarded to candidates who have completed training and have some work experience.