Being a firefighter is an admirable job. Whether you are trying to join the force or want to know more about this profession, you will likely come across several questions:
How much do firefighters make? What is the average salary for a firefighter in the United States? What is the best state to get a higher firefighter salary?
While most people do not get into this line of work just to make money, it is always important to be familiar with all the facts before making such an important decision. If you are not aware, it may lead you to be stagnant in your career and not aim for higher opportunities.
Breakdown of an Average Firefighter Salary in the U.S.
Entry-level firefighters in the U.S. make around $46,588 per year. It does not remain stagnant and will change depending on several factors like location, skills, and experience level.
Once you progress to better jobs, your pay will increase accordingly! A senior position like a captain or a fire chief earns a much higher salary of $68,094 and $81,038 respectively.
Firefighter Job Outlook and Career Advancement
The firefighter job outlook is good, with an expected 18% increase in jobs between 2016 and 2026. Firefighters can advance their careers by becoming instructors or fire chiefs.
Since it is a public sector job, the chances of it declining are very less, along with better job stability. Once you make it to the job, you can only rise and bump up your firefighter salary.
Factors that determine the salary of firefighters
The most important factor that determines a firefighter’s salary is location. The pay rate will vary depending on where you live and work, and the only solution here is to physically move to the place to get the same pay at your experience level. While firefighters in New Jersey get $76,380 per year, the average firefighter salary in Arkansas is $34,940 per year.
Firefighters with a dedicated degree or certification tend to get jobs easier or even get higher-paying jobs. If you find that discouraging, investing in a degree or a certification will help you!
Firefighters who work in larger cities can expect to earn more than those working in smaller communities. Firefighters also earn higher wages in areas with higher property values or tax bases, as they’ll be doing more work protecting valuable property.
Another factor affecting firefighter salaries is experience. As you gain experience training and working as a firefighter, your salary will increase accordingly—but this can take years to achieve!
There’s no shortcut here: hard work pays off when it comes to earning money as a professional firefighter and having the right skills makes things easier.
How to improve firefighter salary
The average firefighter salary in the United States is $52,440. If you want to make more money, there are several ways to improve your pay.
- Get a certification. This adds to your experience and makes it more likely that you will get promoted or get a raise when one becomes available. It’s also possible that some jobs might require certifications for entry into the field, but this is less common than it used to be.
- Get promoted. In many cases where firefighters are paid differently (e.g., professional vs volunteer), the higher-paid group has more responsibility or education than the lower-paid group does—but not always!
- Since the firefighter salary depends on location, try to move to a better city with more opportunities. Doing so will allow you to gain more experience while being fairly compensated for your work. However, keep in mind the cost of living in such cities, if that is a deciding factor for you.
As you can see, there are so many factors that go into determining a firefighter’s salary. It depends on where you live, what kind of training you have, and how long you’ve been doing the job.
The good news is that there are lots of ways to boost your chances for higher pay, for example, by undertaking more training or getting more experience. The most important thing is to find out exactly what it takes in your local area!