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Pyrotechnic Training Programs and Requirements

Majors Overview February 13, 2013

Prospective pyrotechnicians seeking employment with fireworks display firms and similar employers can enroll into pyrotechnic training programs. Pyrotechnicians typically learn fire safety skills via on-the-job training programs and apprenticeships. In this article, we will take a close look at pyrotechnic training programs.

Training Recommendations and Requirements

Participation in pyrotechnic and fireworks crews requires pyrotechnicians to be at least eighteen years of age. In some states, the minimum age is twenty-one years old. Display operators; the technicians in charge of the crew and other pyrotechnicians must adhere strictly to safety regulations when they handle, set up or transport fireworks displays. Pyrotechnicians usually train via beginning fireworks safety courses according to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA). The training course offers both field experience and classroom instruction, are offered by third-party organizations and fireworks display companies.

Formal Education

There are no formal degree programs devised for pyrotechnicians who have to learn through apprenticeships and training courses. They can learn about national and state fire safety laws through training programs, and students learn how to properly ignite fireworks and handle them. The training course will also teach students how to safely display and store fireworks equipment. The American Pyrotechnics Association states that apprenticeships have to participate in three or more fireworks events. Pyrotechnic apprentices will be judged on firework display performance, safety practices, and other factors. Altogether, the process of training via an apprenticeship and courses may take between one to three years.

Job Experience

Only after they have several years of experience in the field; pyrotechnicians will be considered competent in operation and safety of pyrotechnic displays. Experience can be garnered through hands on training and apprenticeships. With a lot of pyrotechnic work completed on weekends and holidays, many of these professionals have full-time careers in other fields while they work part-time as pyrotechnicians. Pyrotechnicians can also gain experience in the field by working as display operators’ assistants. Once they have sufficient practice, they can start managing unsupervised fireworks events.

Certifications and Licenses

Requirements for licensure vary from state to state. A comprehensive database is maintained by the APA that lists fire safety regulations and state licensure requirements. In the states that have licensure requirements for pyrotechnicians to satisfy, passing an exam is mandatory; the exam addresses subject areas such as electronic fireworks control, hazardous material handling, and design and display of fireworks. Display operators may need to obtain appropriate knowledge of hazardous materials transportation and a commercial driver’s license.

Seminars and Workshops

Seminars and workshops are held by fireworks organizations or pyrotechnic employers. The Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI), for example, provides programs that teach pyrotechnicians fireworks display practices and proper fire safety. Workshops provided by employers are typically part of a larger on-the-job training program.

Additional Professional Development

Additional pyrotechnician development resources are offered by the PGI and APA. By becoming members of the APA, pyrotechnicians can access networking opportunities, extensive safety information, emergency response services, and educational programs. Similar resources are available to members of the PGI. The PGI Bulletin, an industry publication, is published five times a year by the PGI; the journal has discussions on pyrotechnic safety information, legislation and trends. Pyrotechnicians can also utilize useful information from the National Council on Fireworks Safety.

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