Firefighters are some of the most courageous and selfless people in America. They work tirelessly to save lives and property. But what is a firefighter’s salary? How much do firefighters make? In this article, we will explore how much money firefighters earn per year as well as the factors that affect their salaries.
How Much Do Firefighters Make? The Short Answer
The average firefighter salary is about $46,000 per year. However, this number varies depending on the factors discussed below.
Firefighter Salary: Factors That Affect Firefighter Pay
Type of fire department: Public sector firefighters tend to make less than their private sector counterparts. The median salary for firefighters employed by public fire departments was $45,970 as of May 2010; those employed by local governments earned a median salary of $44,420 and those working at state or federal agencies earned a median salary of $45,250. On the other hand, firefighters employed at privately owned fire departments had a median annual income of $46,380 as of May 2011 according to the BLS.
Firefighter Salary: Region and Geographic Factors
Location of work: Firefighters in the Northeast tend to make more than firefighters in other regions of the country. The BLS (2011) found that firefighters working in New Jersey earned $62,250 while those in Alaska earned $51,260.
The size of city where they work: The larger the number of residents, the higher base salary is offered for hiring firefighter candidates by fire departments. For example, according to Payscale (2010), firefighters who work for large metropolitan areas earn about $5,000 more each year on average than their counterparts who don’t live near big cities.
Firefighter Salary by Years of Experience & Education
Salaries tend to increase with the number of years that firefighters have worked in this profession. The following table shows how much firefighters earn per year based on their experience level.
# of Years Experience Under 2 Years Over 5 Years Under 2 Years Over 5+ Years Median Salary(2011) $30,000 N/A N/A $36,970.
Firefighter Job Outlook – How To Become a Firefighter
The current job outlook for firefighter is good because public sector firefighting jobs are expected to increase about 9% by 2020 according to estimates by the BLS (2012). In addition, it is projected that there will be over 22,000 new firefighter jobs added to the market from 2010-2020 due to retirements and transfers to other firefighting jobs.
In order to become a firefighter, applicants must be at least 18 years of age and must possess a valid state driver’s license. High school diploma or GED is also required and candidates who want to become firefighters should take courses in chemistry, math and physics as well as participate in athletic activities such as football and basketball because these help them develop the physical strength needed for the profession (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Finally, they must pass written examinations that test their knowledge of hazardous materials and learn how to operate heavy equipment such as ladders and hoses (National Fire Academy).
Firefighter Salary: Conclusion
As we can see from this article, firefighters play an important role in our society. They protect us from danger just like a soldier does and they do so without receiving much pay for their work. Of course, not all firefighters are paid the same salary, but on average, they earn about $46,000 per year. In addition to their salaries, most fire departments offer benefits such as healthcare and retirement plans that tend to add an additional 10-20% to their total income each year. In fact, many fire departments require employees to contribute some of their earnings towards these benefits while some employers choose to waive this cost in order to attract more applicants (Occupational Outlook Handbook).
In conclusion, if you’re considering a job in public service or one that involves protecting lives and property then becoming a firefighter might be a good idea. However, you should consider other options as well such as becoming a police officer or a security guard because all of these careers have bright job outlooks and future growth possibilities.