The role of a firefighter is not an easy one!

Because firefighters put their lives at risk every time, they respond to emergency calls to save a life, 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 qualification, certifications, adequate skill set, etc., play a significant role in defining the firefighter salary as it does in every profession.

On average a firefighter makes $48,407 per year, and the average firefighter salary per hour is $23 as of 29 November 2021, but the range typically falls between $17 and $29.

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

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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 of firefighter salary by state shows that demographic differences have a huge impact on the annual package and firefighter salary per hour.

Requirements 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.

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.

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 higher chances 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 the 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 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 to make more money from your job.

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

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

Draft your resume in reverse chronological 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 format or the combination 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.

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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.