The job of a firefighter is not an easy one!

Because firefighters put their lives at risk every time, they respond to emergency calls to save lives, property, and the environment.

So, how much does a firefighter make?

Well, the salary packages for firefighters vary depending on various factors that define the expertise and efficiency of the professionals in the said field.

Factors such as the years of professional experience that one possesses, educational qualifications, certifications, and adequate skill set, play a significant role in defining the firefighter's salary as it does in every profession.

The average firefighter salary in the USA is $48,539 as of January 27, 2022.

Read on to learn more about the average firefighter salary and what it takes to increase your salary in 2022:

Top Paying States in the USA for Firefighter Jobs

As mentioned before, the salary package in every profession depends on various criteria and the same applies to firefighter salaries.

Here is a list of some top-paying firefighter salary by state (US):

Alabama: $40,323 Alaska: $52,460 Arizona: $44,190
Arkansas: $34,940 California: $74,700 Colorado: $59,090
Connecticut: $64,956 Delaware: $46,960 Florida: $53,340
George: $37,240 Hawaii: $56,015 Idaho: $38,961
Illinois: $54,441 Indiana: $49,460 Iowa: $43,970
Kansas: $35,522 Kentucky: $35,512 Louisiana: $28,200
Maine: $34,210 Maryland: $59,870 Massachusetts: $59,330
Michigan: $45,440 Minnesota: $30,560 Mississippi: $28,690
Missouri: $47,750 Montana: $50,400 Nebraska: $50,060
Nevada: $64,920 New Hampshire: $48,540 New Jersey: $76,380
New Mexico: $35,860 New York: $81,240 North Carolina: $32,590
North Dakota: $44,130 Ohio: $45,910 Oklahoma: $41,970
Oregon: $67,820 Pennsylvania: $56,090 Rhode Island: $55,900
South Carolina: $35,230 South Dakota: $40,470 Tennessee: $39,610
Texas: $51,240 Utah: $36,100 Vermont: $34,730
Virginia: $49,110 Washington: $75,200 West Virginia: $35,340
Wisconsin: $35,130 Wyoming: $43,940


The above-given data on firefighter salary by state shows that demographic differences have a huge impact on the annual package and firefighter salary per hour.

So if you are wondering how much do firefighters make, then you should know that the firefighter salary package is different all around the world and you need to do your research while applying for a job in the stated field.

How to Become a Firefighter

There is no denying that the role of a firefighter comes with a great deal of challenging tasks and responsibilities.

So if you are wondering how to become a firefighter then you must understand that it is very important for you to be fit both physically and mentally to tackle any kind of situation that requires your expert assistance and services.

Here are some essential points you need to keep in mind while pursuing your career as a firefighter:

Acquire the Basic Requirements

A high school diploma is a must, along with a driver's license to become a firefighter. You also need to pass drug screening and criminal background checks to ensure that you are mentally and physically fit to handle the job at hand.

Clear Ability Tests

Applicants need to take at least two exams – a written test and a Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) test to enter a training program. This will help the recruiters identify your potential as a firefighter.

Become an EMT

Most of the departments require the candidates to possess an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license. Hence you need to become an EMT to proceed with your career as a firefighter.

Enroll in a Fire Academy

Attending classroom courses and gaining hands-on work can help you get a deeper insight into what all tasks the job would bring your way.

Apart from all these, you can sign up for community services as it can give you volunteer experience and help you acquire positive references during job applications while also having a positive impact on your salary.

Also Read: How to Become a Firefighter?

Factors that Affect Firefighter Salary

As mentioned earlier, there is more than one factor that influences firefighter incomes.


The average firefighter salary in New Jersey is ~$76,380 per year.

Whereas the average firefighter salary in Arkansas is ~$34,940 per year.

This shows that geographical area plays a major role in influencing firefighter incomes.

Educational Qualification

A degree in fire science can help determine the salary package of a firefighter at the trainee or entry-level.

Whereas, a degree in public administration can help a professional in this field reach administrative positions.

In any case, obtaining a graduate degree in a relevant field can provide opportunities for higher salaries and promotions.

Gain Hands-on Experience

An experienced professional would have a higher chance of salary raises and promotions.

For instance, person A has X years of experience while person B has no experience.

Now, when it is time for appraisals, person A will be at an advantage as compared to person B.

Hence, possessing professional experience plays a significant role in determining the salary package.

Ways to Increase Firefighter Salary

To get the best you need to be the best!

If you want your job to pay you more, then you have to ensure that you can deliver more. To do that, you need to have a solid hold on your specific firefighter profile.

The firefighter ranks and positions also play a significant role in affecting the salary packages.

Your involvement in the firefighting field will play a significant role in determining a higher salary scale for you.

Here is a list of some firefighter ranks along with their average annual salaries:

Grab every opportunity to upskill and expand your potential while simultaneously gaining practical experience.

The best way to increase your firefighter salary or negotiate it with recruiters is through one of the following ways:


Gain Hands-on Experience

Gaining real-life experience is the best way to make a positive reputation in any field. And it is no different in the field of a firefighter. With more years of experience, your chances of getting promoted and negotiating a higher salary get boosted.

For instance, if someone with 5 years of experience is targeting the same job as you who only has a year of experience, then the higher salary package will go to the other person.

Likewise, a candidate with more years of experience has a higher chance of getting promoted than a candidate with no or less experience.

Therefore, you need to gain hands-on experience to keep growing in your career while increasing your firefighter salary.

Seek Promotions When Due

Opportunities for promotions will rise when it is due, and you need to seek such openings to keep growing in your career. Keep churning your skills and experience by taking up relevant courses, training, certifications, or degrees in related fields.

With enough years of practical experience and a degree in fire science, one can rise to the level of a fire inspector or investigator. Hence, it is evident that one can seek promotions with added knowledge and expertise in one's career.

Example: X has a degree in fire science while Y has none. Now when it is time for promotion, it will go to X.

The point here is that when it is time for a promotion, you can confidently put yourself up for it when you have enough proof of suitability for the promotion.

Similarly, if you have a certification or added training in the related field you will have an upper hand during appraisals or promotion.

Specialize in a Suitable Field

Your specialization can help you earn more.

There are various firefighter jobs that you can sign up for to acquire special training that can help you specialize your efficiency as a firefighter.

For example, a fighter engineer ($40,763 per year) gets paid more than a wildland firefighter ($35,380 per year).

Taking up special courses or training can validate your suitability for a particular role, and your expertise in the specific field gives you a higher chance of making more money from your job.

In simple words, the fire chief salary and EMT firefighter salary differ because professionals require different training to carry out the stated roles.

Also Read: How to Land Firefighter Jobs?

Writing a Firefighter Resume

To land a job you need to draft a firefighter resume that can help you communicate your potential to the recruiters.

While writing a firefighter resume may sound easy, deciding what to include and how to present them may get tricky.

But rest assured because we will help you get an insight into how to draft a resume that can easily help you get shortlisted by recruiters.

Some major points you need to be clear with while drafting your firefighter resume are:

Pick a Suitable Firefighter Resume Format

What is the best firefighter resume format?

Well, the answer to that lies in where you stand professionally and what details you intend to add to your firefighter resume.

Draft your resume in reverse chronological resume order by listing your latest work experience, achievements, education, etc.

This format allows the recruiters to get a clear picture of your latest involvements and identify your suitability for the targeted job profile.

In case you are a fresher seeking entry-level firefighter jobs, need to change career or to cover up career gaps then the functional resume format or the combination resume format can be used.

Include the Important Details and Relevant Work Experience

Some major information and details that you need to include in your resume are:

  • Contact: Include your contact details such as phone number, email address, current location, and link to LinkedIn or any other professional websites right below the resume header. This will help the recruiters reach out to you in case of any shortlisting or interviews.
  • Work Experience: List your professional work experience by mentioning the time frame, company, your profile, and some significant roles and responsibilities held by you. This will allow the recruiters to get an insight into your contributions and achievements.
  • Skills: List both hard and soft skills to communicate your potential as a firefighter.
  • Education & Certification: Mention your qualification details, be it the degree that you hold or certifications that you possess.

Also Read: How to Draft the Best Shortlist Worthy Firefighter Resume?

Key Takeaways

  • The salary of a firefighter is determined by various factors such as educational qualification, certifications, work experience, etc.
  • An experienced firefighter has a better chance of getting a higher salary and promotions.
  • The salary trends and policies adopted by the companies in a specific region have an impact on salary packages.
  • To apply for a firefighter job, one needs to draft and send out an impeccable firefighter resume.

You can write to for any queries related to firefighter resumes.

Or simply visit Hiration's career activator platform which 24/7 chat support to help draft the best resumes and cover letters.

Build your resume in 10 minutes
Use the power of AI & HR approved resume examples and templates to build professional, interview ready resumes
Create My Resume
out of 5 on