The firefighter salary in the United States is around $48,030 per year, so the hourly pay is about $23.09. The median pay for a firefighter in Canada is C$61,437 ($45,236) per year. While in Australia the yearly pay for this job is AU$65,000 ($48,724).
Firefighters in the UK make about £29,232 ($37,452) per year. In Switzerland, the median pay for this job is CHF106,905 ($107,571) per year. While in Norway the yearly base salary is NOK5,704,603 ($666,971).
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 firefighter starting salary and that of an experienced professional.
While we can’t really talk about 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 regular salary of a regular firefighter. According to Payscale, the paramedic firefighter salary is $57,778 a year, as opposed to the $44,155 that standard firefighters receive. The same source mentions the following positions and their annual salaries in the fire department:
- Fireman pay for lieutenants – $56,622
- Firefighter career salary for captains – $58,990
- Fire inspector salary – $60,629
- Annual salary for fire chiefs – $72,104
- Battalion chief salary – $83,093
- Study.com also adds that the wildland firefighter salary is $49,690 a year.
2. Geographical Area
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 you even more than $80k annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the highest firefighter salary in the United States can be found in New Jersey, with an annual pay of $81,590.
Firefighter Salary by State
|State||Annual mean wage($)|
Firefighter Salary in Canada
Firefighters in Canada earn a median yearly wage of C$61,437, with an hourly rate of C$25.73. While the total yearly pay is between C$40,106 and C$97,490.
Firefighter Salary in the UK
The median firefighter salary in the UK is at £29,232 per year. While the total pay ranges from £20,124 to as much as £36,426.
Firefighter Salary in Australia
In Australia, the firefighter salary reaches AU$65,000 per year, so, the hourly pay is AU$22.19. While the total pay can be between AU$43,237 and AU$98,624
Firefighter Salary in Switzerland
According to salaryexpert.com, the mean firefighter salary in Switzerland stands at about $107,571 per year. Meaning CHF106,905, so, with an hourly rate of about CHF51.22.
Firefighter Salary in Norway
The median pay for a firefighter in Norway is $393,315 yearly, meaning as much as NOK3,366,343 in Norwegian currency. Therefore the hourly pay stands at around NOK1,617.
Your level of experience is decisive when determining your potential firefighter salary. In the US, the fireman starting salary is at about $40,000. From there, the salary progressively grows according to your 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 be $60,000 or more.
In Switzerland, the beginner firefighter with a one to three years of experience can get a salary of CHF75,162 yearly, while the senior firefighter, with more than 8 years of experience earns a salary of CHF140,361 per year, while there are no bonuses. In Norway, we encounter the same no bonuses situation, however, with an entry level salary (1-3 years of experience) of NOK2,418,488. While a senior level firefighter with more than 8 years of experience makes NOK4,397,940 per year.
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
Naturally, almost all (90%) of firefighters have medical insurance which is indispensable considering the risks they expose themselves to every day. In addition to this, 72% 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.
According to Payscale, firefighters from Canada can receive a yearly bonus of up to C$2,300, while those in Australia can get bonuses as much as AU$20,000 per year.
The job outlook for firefighters is just about the same as the national average for all occupations. However, between 2014 and 2024, it is expected that employment opportunities for firefighters will increase by 5%. 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.
If you want to boost your chances of getting hired as a firefighter, you can undergo extensive firefighter training to meet even the strictest firefighter requirements. We strongly recommend that you consider volunteering as a firefighter before trying to pursue a career in this direction. There are plenty of facilities that offer the opportunity of volunteering before settling for a career in this field, so look up those near to you. BLS data states that there are about twice as many volunteer firefighters than paid ones which means this is the way you should go as well.
In conclusion, the firefighter salary is satisfactory, but the fact that you are literally saving lives is priceless. If you want to follow the career path of a firefighter, consider volunteering for several years and then moving to a state with a high employment rate and high salaries for firefighters. For a similar position, you can also read more about the police officer salary. Please be fully aware of the risks and all aspects of being a firefighter before diving into this profession.