What They Do

Insider Info

Pyrotechnics is the science of fire. It includes not only fireworks, but also a whole range of devices that use similar materials, such as hazard flares and even solid-fuel rocket boosters.

A pyrotechnician manufactures or works with fireworks or other similar devices. They may also do the special effects in movies and television, or at sporting events and concerts. Explosions, flashes of light, sparkling effects and puffs of smoke can all be created by using pyrotechnics.

A pyrotechnician at a fireworks display does a lot more than just enjoy the show. Pyrotechnicians choreograph the display to suit the music and type of show. They work with area officials on crowd control, fire protection and security.

The day of the event, the pyrotechnician and a team of workers work long and hard to move the heavy boxes, build the necessary wooden fixtures and prepare for the display. Some larger shows take a week to set up and have crews of more than 50 pyrotechnicians.

Many regulations control the sale, use and display of fireworks. Not everyone is allowed to sell or use them, and it can be illegal to set them off in certain areas.

It's expensive to manufacture professional fireworks and the industry is highly regulated. In the U.S., virtually every aspect of the business, including manufacturing, storage, sales, transportation and use, is covered by licenses or permits.

To get an operator's license, you must contact your state fire marshal's office.

At a Glance

Manufacture or work with fireworks or other similar devices

  • Do everything from special effects in movies to fireworks shows on national holidays
  • The industry is heavily regulated
  • Some larger shows take a week to set up and have crews of more than 50 pyrotechnicians