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How Much Does a Firefighter Make – USA Firefighter Salaries

How much does a firefighter make? The answer depends on:

  • The state you are working in
  • Your experience
  • The bonuses your fire department gives to firefighters

Let’s take a look at nationwide average firefighter salaries however, to give you some idea of what to expect.

What’s the Average Income of a Firefighter in The US?

As of 2011, the average nationaiwde salary of a firefighter in the United States was $47,720 a year, as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Firefighters are paid on a bi-weekly basis. The median salary of a firefighter, also described as the middle-point (the point where 50% of all firefighters earned more, and 50% of all firefighters earned less) was $45,250. On average a firefighter will earn around $21.70 per hour, regardless of whether he’s out on a rescue mission or sitting in his/her quarters in “stand by.”

Highest And Lowest Earnings of a Firefighter in The United States

As of May 2010, the top 10% of firefighters earned an average of $75,390 a year, while the bottom 10% of firemen earned an average of $23,050 a year.

Total Employees And Estimated Employment Changes

As of 2011, there are roughly 310,400 active firemen in the United States. The BLS estimates that by the year 2020, this number will have reached 337,000, which is a 26,600 (or 9%) increase compared to the number of employed firefighters in the year 2010. One of the reasons why there are less and less people being hired as firefighters is the increasing rate of obesity in the US, which translates to far fewer people being physically fit enough to get hired by a fire department.

What Are The Best Paying Cities For a Firefighter?

A firefighter’s salary will depend largely on the state / city he workes in. Below is a list of the top 10 best paying cities for a fireman, according to Firelink:

1. Oakland, CA – $80,700 a year
2. Los Angeles, CA – $72,440 a year
3. San Jose, CA – $72,030 a year
4. Miami, FL – $65,560 a year
5. Newark-Union, NJ-PA – $63,000 a year
6. Seattle, WA – $59,780 a year
7. Vallejo, CA – $59,370 a year
8. Tacoma, WA – $57,360 a year
9. Nassau-Suffolk, NY – $55,610 a year
10. Denver-Aurora, CO – $55,340 a year

How Many Hours Does a Firefighter Work?

The average firefighter in the United States can expect to work an average of 45 to 50 hours a week, which includes time spent at the station as well as in the field. A firefighter’s work shifts vary from station to station; some firemen will have a 24 hour shift followed by 48 or 72 hours off-duty, while other firemen will have 48 hour shifts followed by 96 hours off-duty.

Job Outlook

The need for qualified, professional firefighters will continue to rise due to the following:

  • An increase in the size of the US population, resulting in more emergencies
  • As the popularion of the US grows older, more people will require rescue and assistance, hence increasing the average number of 911 emergency calls to which firefighters very often respond

Overall the job outlook is very good, though only the toughest and most passionate will have what it takes to become a firefighter.

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