March/April 2020, Bulletin No. 216 submission deadline: February 1, 2020
2020 PGI Convention in Fargo, ND: August 8 - 14, 2020
2021 PGI Convention in Oshkosh, WI: August 14 - 21 2021
To become a pyrotechnician, with respect to professional display fireworks, you must be both trained and gain experience.
For the former, there are several options: You can take and complete the PGI DOC (Display Operators' Course) and/or attend an annual training at a fireworks display company near you. Most classes and training programs are held in the spring, to get ready for the peak display season, but, PGI holds at least some classes all through the year. PGI courses are posted on our web site as soon as they are planned. If you tell us what city/state you reside in, we can try to facilitate an introduction to the fireworks display company closest to you.
To gain experience, be prepared to volunteer in some cases. Learning to be a pyrotechnician can be viewed in some aspects as similar to an apprenticeship. On the other hand, some companies will train you and pay you at least something for working on displays, even as a trainee. PGI certification requires that you serve as crew on four displays and as lead operator (under supervision) on a fifth display.
Please be aware that display fireworks is part of the entertainment industry and as with sports or acting, there are very few who will be able to make this a full-time occupation. Yet, if you are determined, and willing to work hard, you will be able to find a position with a display company and, once experienced, possibly be willing and able to start your own display company.
There is no particular background that prepares one to become a pyrotechnician. It helps to be able to have some rudimentary skills at carpentry and to be able to understand simple electrical circuitry. Computer skills are useful as well. Above all, in a career that involves handling explosives, a commitment to safety is essential.