To become an operator in charge of a large fireworks display, you need to get pyrotechnics certification, typically available through local authorities or the state fire marshal.
- Step 1: Ask the local fire department or state fire marshal about licensing requirements in addition to certification.
- Step 2: Renew your operator certification after a period of time specified by state regulations, typically every 3 years. Following these steps will start off your new career with a bang!
- FACT: In 2006, the Guinness Book of World Records claimed the world's largest firework display was 66,326 fireworks in Madeira, Portugal.
- FACT: In most states, you must be at least 21 to become a licensed fireworks display operator.
- TIP: Experience typically consists of 4 fireworks displays as a crew member, and one display as a lead operator under supervision.
- Step 3: Get written documentation of your qualifications and work experience after taking the certification course.
- Step 4: Know individual state licensing laws. The American Pyrotechnics Association website has links to each state's fireworks laws.
- TIP: A state might require a display operator to have a commercial driver's license, drug and alcohol testing, and hazardous materials -- or hazmat -- endorsement.
- Step 5: Find a state-licensed fireworks display company and start as an apprentice. An apprenticeship can last 1 to 3 years, and usually but not always includes pay.
- Step 6: Find a display operator certification class through the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI) or through local PGI-approved pyrotechnics clubs.
- : Working with fireworks is very dangerous. Only work with fireworks under the supervision of a certified professional.