The firefighter salary in the United States is around $44,716 per year, while in Canada the median pay for a firefighter stands at C$62,398 ($47,442) per year. While in Australia the yearly pay for this job is AU$65,874 ($48,776).
Firefighters in the UK make about £28,918 ($38,121) per year. In Switzerland, the median salary for this job is CHF81,385 ($81,763) each year. Meanwhile, in Norway, the yearly base salary is NOK403,243 ($49,744).
Firefighter Salary Influencers
The salary of a firefighter might not be among the highest, but this is an admirable occupation that brings rewards on all levels. Even though firefighters usually make about the annual wages mentioned above, there sometimes are big differences between the firefighter starting salary and that of an experienced professional.
While we can’t really talk about an industry when it comes to the firefighter salary, we can discuss the types of salaries for employees in a fire department. For example, the firefighter paramedic salary is greater than the salary of a regular firefighter. According to Payscale, the paramedic firefighter salary is $51,072 a year, as opposed to the $44,716 that standard firefighters receive. The same source mentions the following positions and their annual salaries in the fire department:
- Fire lieutenant salary – $55,256
- Fire captain salary – $63,494
- Annual salary for fire chiefs – $75,141
- Battalion chief salary – $82,678
2. Geographical Area
|Hourly Wage||$14.33||C$27.11 ($20.61)||£14.45 ($19.05)||AU$25.36 ($18.78)||CHF39.12 ($39.30)*||NOK194 ($23.93)|
|Annual Wage||$44,716||C$62,398 ($47,442)||£28,918 ($38,121)||AU$65,874 ($48,776)||CHF81,385 ($81,763)||NOK403,243 ($49,744)|
*Means the hourly pay was extrapolated from the annual salary
Firefighter Salary in the US
As with most areas of life, location is key. The situation is no different for the firefighter salary in the U.S. In poor-paying states, the firefighter salary can be as low as $30k, while a top-paying state can bring even more than $80k annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median yearly salary in the United States stands at $51,930.
Firefighter Salary by State
|State||Annual mean wage($)|
Firefighter Salary in Canada
Firefighters in Canada earn a median yearly wage of C$62,398, with an hourly rate ranging between C$14.80 and C$44.14. Therefore, the total yearly pay is between C$41,718 and C$98,478.
Firefighter Salary in the UK
The firefighter salary in the UK is of £14.45 per hour, with an overtime ranging between £12.77 and £20.57 per hour. While the total pay ranges from £20,647 to as much as £35,123 every year.
Firefighter Salary in Australia
In Australia, the firefighter salary reaches AU$65,874 each year, with an hourly pay of AU$25.36. These professionals also get paid overtime as well as bonuses and can check in from AU$48,860 to AU$96,697 per year.
Firefighter Salary in Switzerland
The mean firefighter salary in Switzerland stands at about CHF81,385 per year. There is no rate available for the hourly pay on Payscale.com but if we use the 2,080 working hours that are per year and we extrapolate from the yearly salary we get CHF39.12 per hour.
Firefighter Salary in Norway
According to SalaryExpert, the median salary for a firefighter in Norway is NOK403,243 yearly, with the hourly pay being around NOK194. Meanwhile, an entry-level professional can make up to NOK296,184 every year, while a senior on the job can win as much as NOK492 273 each year.
The level of experience is decisive when determining the potential firefighter salary. In the US, the fireman starting salary is at about $40,000 per year. From there, the salary progressively grows according to experience and abilities. Between 5 and 10 years the salary can reach $45,000, while with 10-20 years of experience can get up to around $50,000 and finally, after 20 years on the job, the firefighter can win $60,000 or more.
In Canada and Australia, we see a similar situation of raise in pay for this professional. From C$58,000 per year, respectively from AU$59,000 for an entry-level firefighter, the salary gradually rises until it reaches about C$80,000, respectively AU$81,000 each year, after more than 20 years in the field. Meanwhile, in the UK, the situation is a bit different. It starts with a beginner’s salary of ₤24,000 per year, the pay then goes to ₤29,000 after 5-10 years on the job, only to slowly flatten after that, and to barely reach ₤30,000 after more than 20 years.
Here is where the challenging part about the firefighter salary kicks in. This is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. economy and in the world, with professionals constantly exposed to illnesses and injuries. They work long shifts and are exposed to health threats due to their hazardous working environment. As a result of these factors, firefighters are among the most respected professionals, and the general public holds them in high regard.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
In the US almost all (90%) of firefighters have medical insurance which is indispensable considering the risks they expose themselves to every day. In addition to this, 67% of firefighters have dental benefits and 56% have vision coverage. Rarely (9%) do firefighters have no health benefits at all. Furthermore, firefighters always wear heavy duty protection gear on the job to prevent serious injuries that may occur due to the nature of this high-risk job.
As reported by Payscale, firefighters from Canada can receive a bonus of up to C$7,096 each year, with yearly profit sharing of around C$2,000. Meanwhile, those who live and work in Australia can get bonuses as much as AU$15,000 per year.
The job outlook for firefighters is at 7% between 2016 and 2026, which is just about the same as the national average for all occupations. This means a number of 23,500 expected employment opportunities for this professional. The job outlook is not as high as other occupations because buildings are becoming safer every day. As a result, the number of fires will be visibly reduced. However, firefighters will always be needed to take care of unexpected situations.
For boosting one’s chances of getting hired as a firefighter, undergoing extensive firefighter training to meet even the strictest firefighter requirements is recommended. As is volunteering as a firefighter before trying to pursue a career in this direction. There are plenty of facilities that offer the opportunity of volunteering as a firefighter. Also, there are about twice as many volunteer firefighters than paid ones which means this is the best way to go.
Finally, the firefighter salary is satisfactory, but saving lives is priceless. For a person that wants to follow the career path of a firefighter, considering becoming a volunteer for several years and then moving to a state with a high employment rate and high salaries for firefighters is recommended. Also, another job that deals with helping other people, is the police officer job.