Online Training in Pyrotechnics

Pyrotechnics training prepares you to work with fireworks and explosives. While you can't receive training online, you can enroll in pyrotechnics courses through colleges, professional organizations and the U.S. military. Read this article to learn about typical prerequisites and licensing requirements, and get some industry information, too. Schools offering Computer Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind of Pyrotechnics Training Can I Receive Online?

You can't receive pyrotechnics training online because it requires hands-on experience. You also can't earn a certificate or degree in pyrotechnics through a traditional on-campus program. However, you can take stand-alone courses in order to learn about the different applications of explosives and pyrotechnics. Pyrotechnics training is typically required for work in the fireworks industry. You also can use your pyrotechnics training as part of a theater and entertainment, mining, construction or military career.

Online Degrees Unavailable; requires hands on learning
Common CoursesPyrotechnic safety, firing mechanisms, instrumentation, explosives packaging, pyrotechnic categories and uses
Training Requirements Must be 18 years old, fingerprinting and a criminal background check may be necessary
Licensure License certified by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) required
Fireworks Regulating Bodies The Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI), BATF

What Can I Expect to Learn?

What you'll learn depends upon the type of pyrotechnics training you choose to pursue. For example, classes in a mining program focus on explosives used to blast rock and otherwise support mining operations. In a general pyrotechnics class or within a theater program, you'll learn about explosives used for special effects or entertainment. And if you receive training through the military, you'll learn about pyrotechnics specific to your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). In most programs, you're likely to explore the following topics:

  • Pyrotechnic safety
  • Firing mechanisms
  • Instrumentation
  • Explosives packaging
  • Pyrotechnic categories and uses

What is Required to Pursue Training?

There are no academic prerequisites for pyrotechnics training. However, you may need to be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check. You also have to be at least 18 years of age to take a pyrotechnics class.

Pyrotechnics training can also be pursued through the military. You must join the military and then pursue an MOS specific to explosives, ordinance or demolitions to receive pyrotechnics training. These include MOS designations 89B, ammunition specialist, and 89D, explosive ordinance disposal specialist. You can also pursue MOS 21G, which is a designation focused on quarry and rock blasting for the Army Corp of Engineers. Each MOS has different testing and physical strength requirements.

Do I Need a License?

To practice as a pyrotechnician, or to manufacture, distribute or import explosives, you must obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). The BATF can certify you as a Federal Explosives Licensee (FEL). Becoming a FEL requires a criminal background check. If you plan on running a business that uses pyrotechnics, your employees will also have to pass background checks.

After you submit an application, the BATF will set up an interview to go over the different recordkeeping and storage requirements of explosives. If you meet federal and state requirements for explosives handling and storage, the BATF will certify you as a FEL within 90 days.

Which Organizations Regulate or Promote Fireworks?

The Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI) is an organization that provides information on the safe storage, handling and use of fireworks. The PGI also works to provide industry professionals, manufacturers and organizations the most current training in the pyrotechnics industry. You can attend the PGI's annual convention, which is held during the second week of August. This yearly gathering features pyrotechnic displays, competitions, trade shows and seminars.

The BATF regulates the use of pyrotechnics and explosives in the United States. This federal agency defines the storage, recordkeeping and usage requirements that the fireworks industry must comply with.

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