Become A Fireman

Firefighter Salaries

Firefighter salaries vary greatly depending on a wide range of factors. Average pay rates for firefighters throughout the United States range from $21,000 to $61,000 per year. Over half of full-time firefighters are paid between $31,000 and $51,000 annually.

One of the biggest factors in firefighter pay is location. For example, Salary.com lists the median salary for all firefighters in New York City as $49,180, while the median listed for an area in rural Virginia is $37,662. Obviously, more populous locations with a greater risk of danger may also come with additional pay, but this does not always hold true. Some mid-sized cities may be able to afford to pay qualified firefighters at higher levels, even though they have relatively less risk when compared with areas like Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York.

The type of job and level held also impact firefighter salaries. Indeed.com statistics for July 2011 indicate the highest paid firefighters are those that hold supervisory or management roles. Average pay for these job types is $65,000 per year. Other higher paid fire fighting positions include those who are also paramedics. Lower ranking firefighters and basic wilderness firefighters are among the lowest paid. General statistics seem to indicate firefighters who are responsible for teams or departments, as well as those who have additional technical skills or education, are higher paid than their counterparts.

As with any position, experience and tenure will increase pay. Full-time firefighters are reviewed on an annual, semi-annual or quarterly basis for performance. The frequency of review and possible pay raise associated with a positive review depend on the location and procedures of the particular fire department. By providing quality service over a number of years, firefighters can raise their pay by thousands per year as they move from rookie to experienced team member.

In addition to straight pay, firefighters also receive benefits as part of their compensation. Full-time firefighters can expect to receive health insurance which covers medical or dental expenses. They may also be eligible for 401k retirement funds, health expense reimbursement accounts, life insurance, and paid time off in the form of vacation and sick days.

Most of the time, part-time firefighters are paid on an hourly basis and are not eligible for the benefits described above. Volunteer fire departments may offer a small stipend or other perks to members of their team in lieu of salaries. These items are usually at the discretion of local governments or station managers.

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