How much do firefighters get paid for their job?

How much do firefighters get paid? Most aspiring firefighters don’t think about this when they think about joining firefighters, as they’re usually blinded and mesmerized by the dollar signs. 

Firefighters’ salaries vary greatly around the United States and educating yourself on how much firefighters get paid and if they’re paid a fair wage for the work done. When you think of firefighters, do you think of pay? 

This article focuses on understanding and answering the question “how much do firefighters get paid?” as well as the attendant aspects of firefighting. What constitutes fair or minimum wage for firefighters, and if there are places where there are competitive salaries for firefighters? 

Introduction

Firefighters are usually employed by local governments. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 325,000 professional firemen in the United States, with over 95%, or a little over 290,000, working for counties and cities. Volunteer firemen are not included in these data. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are around 30,000 fire departments in the United States. Approximately 5,000 fire departments are manned mostly by career firefighters, while the remaining 25,000 are staffed primarily by volunteers. 

Firefighters in certain areas are barely paid minimum wage.

In certain locations, firemen are given highly competitive wages, allowing them to live comfortably if they make prudent financial decisions during their careers. 

Salaries may and do fluctuate for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are outside your control. What may have been a poor income at the onset of your profession may improve with time, or it may deteriorate. 

For the retirement and healthcare advantages, many people contemplate becoming a firefighter. Anyone who has kept their finger on the pulse of the economy has noticed that pension and healthcare costs continue to rise year after year, often by 10% or more. 

What is a firefighter’s job description? 

A firefighter’s primary responsibility is to control and extinguish flames that endanger people, property, or the environment. Regardless of the time of day or weather, firefighters are ready to respond instantly if an alert rings. 

Firefighters typically work 24-hour shifts and then get 48 or 72 hours off between shifts. When combating forest fires, wildland firefighters are sometimes required to labor nonstop for days or weeks. 

During a shift, a fireman may be deployed to a variety of emergencies on a regular basis or may have a calm day. Commercial alarms will be answered by a nearby fire station; in many cases, this is due to a malfunction rather than a fire; these malfunctions can include stalled elevators, wounded pedestrians, collisions, and home fires. 

Firefighters, on the other hand, have a variety of other responsibilities: 

  • In the event of an accident, remove passengers from the vehicles that have been damaged.
  • In the firehouse, clean and maintain the equipment.
  • Prepare reports on emergency calls in writing.
  • Assist with the cleanup of hazardous materials spills.
  • Provide fire safety instruction at schools and community activities.
  • People stranded in perilous situations, such as floods, must be rescued.
  • In actuality, firemen are frequently called upon to respond to a variety of crises, not simply fires. 

Read: How can I become a Firefighter in 2022 | Cost, School, Career …

What are requirements and education for firefighters 

Most communities’ minimum firefighter qualifications begin with being at least 18 years old and possessing a high school diploma. The application procedure becomes increasingly stringent after that. Aspiring firefighters must complete the following tasks: 

  • To climb stairs, haul hoses, hoist ladders, and breach ceilings, you must be in good physical shape.
  • Have a clean criminal and driving record and pass a background check
  • On Facebook and other social media, no incriminating, provocative, immature, or humiliating posts are permitted.
  • Pass a written exam that tests your knowledge of math, problem solving, human relations, thinking, and memory.
  • Have a psychological examination that looks at your physical and emotional stability, as well as the specific personality factors that are linked to firefighter performance.
  • Obtain Firefighter I and II certificates from a fire academy, as needed by their state.
  • If your local fire department requires it, get your EMT certification.
  • Pass an oral interview and be prepared to discuss their long-term career objectives and why they want to be a firefighter.
  • A list of personal references should be provided. 

Education 

A high school diploma and a willingness to serve were once required for firefighting training. Because of the competitive nature of this industry, schooling requirements have grown and the certification procedure has lengthened.

Most states require completion of a program or set of courses authorized by the National Fire Protection Association in addition to a high school diploma.  

This course covers a variety of topics including fire behavior, equipment use, fire control, rescue, foam fire streams, safety, and other relevant issues. Some programs mix online learning with on-the-job training.  

Candidates for firefighting in competitive regions must finish two to four years of fire science courses. To add to their qualifications, many firemen get an Emergency Medical Technician or paramedic certification.  

These programs can add two years to your education. Physical norms, as well as educational and training requirements, must be satisfied.

Who are the highest paid firefighters? 

As it is with most professions, there are those who earn more than others due to either their level of expertise or position within the ranks of firefighters.

The highest ten percent of all earners earned an average of $83,570 per year or more, while the bottom ten percent earned a maximum of $24,490 per year.  

New Jersey firemen are the best paid, earning an average of $75,880 per year, followed by California firefighters, who earn an average of $73,860 per year.

If you decide to change positions with the fire department, you should expect an increase in average income. 

Do firefighters make good money? 

The average yearly wage for a firefighter in the United States is $44,421, and this is from the latest estimations. If you would like to know what that’s like in hours pay, that works out to about $21.36 per hour. This works out to $854 each week or $3,702 per month. 

While annual salaries for firefighters range from $34,500 (25th percentile) to $54,500 (75th percentile) on ZipRecruiter, the majority of Firefighter salaries currently range from $34,500 (25th percentile) to $54,500 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) making $63,500 annually across the United States. 

The typical wage for a firefighter varies significantly (up to $20,000), implying that there may be several prospects for growth and greater income dependent on skill level, location, and years of experience.

How much does a firefighter make? 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for firemen in the United States in 2016 was $48,030, or $23.09 per hour.

Salaries vary by region, but the cost of living should be taken into account when comparing employment offers. The states on the East and West coasts have the highest yearly average earnings. 

Sometimes this number changes as the average yearly firefighter income in the United States is $54,650, according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2019.

The top 90 percent makes more than $92,020 per year, while the bottom ten percent earn less than $25,550 per year. 

According to a Business Insider investigation, income varies greatly from state to state. California firemen make the most money, with an average yearly salary of $84,370, followed by New Jersey at $80,890.

Mississippi firefighters earn the least, with a mean annual income of $30,180, followed by Louisiana firefighters, who earn $31,150. 

Read: Top 10 Certifications You Need To Become a Firefighter | 2021

6 states where firefighters earn the most money 

1) New Jersey 

The New Jersey Fire Department is one that has a history of capturing and curbing incidents of fires that have affected the city for a long. The fire department on its website described the mission as the establishment and implementation of the State Uniform Fire Code, public education initiatives, and firefighter training programs.

Its aim was that it would serve as the principal focus for the State’s fire service community and the general public in all things relevant to fire safety. 

The New Jersey Fire Department pays an average annual income of $75,880 to its firefighters. This income is competitive compared to what is paid in some other states. 

2) California 

On its website, it indicated that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE) is responsible for fire protection and stewardship of approximately 31 million acres of privately owned wildland in California.  

In addition, the Department contracts with local governments to offer a variety of emergency services in 36 of the State’s 58 counties. 

CAL FIRE’s purpose includes preventing wildfires in the State Responsibility Area (SRA). While these efforts have been ongoing since the Department’s inception, CAL FIRE has responded to the changing nature of devastating wildfires and has considerably increased its fire prevention operations. 

 The California Fire Department pays an average annual income of $73,860 to its firefighters. This income is competitive compared to what is paid in some other states.  

3) New York 

The New York Fire Department or The Fire Department of the city of New York is famously the largest and most active fires service in the United States, and this does not come as a surprise to many people who have been in the loop. 

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) is the nation’s largest fire department and is often regarded as the world’s busiest and most highly experienced emergency response organization.

Department’s major purpose is to protect residents and tourists in the five boroughs from fire, provide emergency medical treatment, and other important public safety services. 

The Fire Department of the City of New York pays an average annual income of $70,560 to its firefighters. This income is competitive compared to what is paid in some other states.   

4) Washington 

Washington’s fire department indicates that their volunteer firemen are in charge of firefighting. Our firefighters get thorough training, which includes completing a Basic Operations Firefighter course that meets the Office of the State Fire Marshall’s requirements.  

They also have Hazardous Materials Response training and a CPR, EMR, or EMT-B/P license. When firefighters are summoned to duty from home or work, they come to the station to help with fires, search and rescue, and EMS emergencies. 

Volunteers are used in the Washington Fire Department mainly because each year, according to estimates, volunteer firemen save $37 billion for their communities, money that may be spent in local infrastructure, social initiatives, and tax reduction. 

The Washington Fire Department pays an average annual income of $70,300 to its firefighters. This income is competitive compared to what is paid in some other states.   

Read: Do Volunteer Firefighters Get Paid? I Want to Become One 

5) Nevada 

The Nevada Fire Department operates an area of around 9 square miles, with a population of about 8,500 people in the city and about 10,000 people during the day.  

The department has 12 full-time employees and one administrative employee, and it operates out of one station with two engines, one quint/ladder, a hazmat unit, and a medium rescue unit. A total of four people are on duty every day to safeguard the city. 

 The Nevada Fire Department pays an average annual income of $66,670 to its firefighters. This income is competitive compared to what is paid in some other states.    

6) Oregon 

Portland Fire & Rescue in Oregon has 756 total workers, including 699 sworn and 57 non-sworn personnel, with a bureau operating budget of more than $90 million. Ninety-three percent of firemen are men, whereas just seven percent are women. 

PF&R offers emergency services to over 580,000 people and preserves 150 square kilometers of land. The Portland Fire Department pays an average annual income of $64,330 to its firefighters.

This income is competitive compared to what is paid in some other states who are sometimes paid less or nothing at all.   

Conclusion 

Asides from answering the question of how much do firefighters get paid, firefighter demand is estimated to expand at a pace of around 7% from 2016 to 2026, which is about the same as the average growth rate for all occupations during that time period.  

Despite advancements in fire prevention, the range of calls a fireman attends to, including automobile accidents and other emergencies, necessitates a certain level of personnel for local departments. If you want to work as a fireman, consider moving to a location where there is a higher need for firemen. 

References 

  • portlandoregon.gov/fire/
  • businessinsider.com/
  • www1.nyc.gov/site/
  • work.chron.com/

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