Firefighter Salary By Experience
|Experience Level||Low Hourly||High Hourly||Low Annual||High Annual|
|20 Years +||$20.31||$46.55||$42,240.00||$96,820.00|
Firefighters are professionals who are extensively trained and equipped to protect civilians, properties and the environment from hazardous fires. Aside from extinguishing fires, firefighters are also trained to conduct rescue missions to save people from dangerous situations, including those that do not include fires. In the United States, firefighters are required to be trained in performing first aid and standard CPR for emergency situations. Firefighters also help in increasing awareness about the immediate dangers and other hazards of fires to the community through school presentations, community drills, and educational trips for children.
The origins of firefighting are left to debate, but many historians concur that the model for modern firefighting came from the Romans. It is said that the very wealthy Marcus Licinius Crassus provided the blueprint in systematically dousing burning buildings. However, Crassus would only help if he and the owners of the burning building agreed on a price. Augustus Caesar soon developed the system and introduced firefighting as a free public service.
Today, the firefighter profession has come a long way from bucket lines. Modern technology and equipment have been a great help to modern firefighters. However, firefighters also need to adapt constantly and learn firefighting approaches as complex and industrialized ways of life greatly contributed to the rise in the scale of hazards brought by fires. Simply put, modern firefighters do not just deal with burning houses. Big commercial structures such as chemical plants, power stations, and manufacturing facilities could present bigger threats if they ever caught fire.
Aside from burning structures, firefighters are qualified to contain fires brought by natural causes, such as wildfires and forest fires. These situations are very hard to contain, even with modern firefighting technology.
Firefighters are schooled to also look out for themselves and ensure their personal safety when performing their functions. While many firefighters are willing to put their lives on the line to help other people, self-preservation is a critical matter for firefighters. It instilled to them that they always ensure their safety above anything else, which is why it is standard procedure for firefighting personnel to carry self-rescue ropes and always bring standard breathing apparatus during fires to help them breathe through toxic fumes and thick smoke.
Firefighters are always on call and when the alarm goes off, they immediately respond, regardless of the weather and hour. To ensure quick reaction times from firefighters, they are required to live in fire stations while on duty, where they also sleep and eat.
In the United States, there are approximately 304,080 professional firefighters earning a median annual firefighter salary of $45,420 a year. The top 10% are making over $75,520 a year while those who are in the bottom 10% are earning $22,480 per annum or less.
Nearly all firefighters in the United States are assigned to local designations, serving in fire departments in cities and counties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 274,930 firefighters attached to local fire departments and making $48,450 fire fighter salary a year on the average. This information goes t o show that vast employment opportunities await firefighting experts at the local level. Employment prospects are relatively high in firms and agencies that offer support services, where 11,180 firefighters are currently employed and are receiving $30,950 firefighter pay a year, which is lower compared to the national average.
Firefighters are also employed in firms engaging in computer and technical services, as well as in companies involved in scientific research and development. The average firefighter wage rates from both industries are the highest in terms of employer type at $69,280 and $69,280 a year. However, employment prospects are limited and standards and qualifications are strict.
It is important to note that the every employer type has its own standards and requirements which affect a firefighter's salary grade.
In the United States, firefighter candidates are at least required to possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, most firefighters have a college degree in fire science, fire engineering, or another related field of study. Those with college education have higher chances of getting employed and start out with a more substantial firefighter salary than those who only have high school diplomas.
Qualified fire fighting candidates are usually sent to fire fighting academies for basic and advanced firefighting training courses. Classroom education and hands-on training are combined to ensure future firefighters are ready by the time they are given their assignments. In some states, fire apprenticeships are offered at the local or state level. Some of these apprenticeship programs can take for as long as four years.
Since firefighters are usually "first rescue responders" to the scene, firefighters are also trained to perform emergency medical services such as first aid, CPR, and vehicle rescue or extraction. They are also drilled to be experts in search and rescue operations and community disaster support providers. Some states require firefighters to have Emergency Medical Technician certification.
Other areas obligate firefighters to become certified paramedics before they can graduate from firefighting academies.
All firefighters in the United States are obligated to serve under Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should the need arises.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that there fire fighting profession will grow by 9% within 10 years, from 2010 to 2020. The Bureau said that this kind of occupational growth is slower than the average for all occupations.
Spurring the need for more fire fighting personnel is the growing population of the elderly, who easily figure in emergency situations. Firefighters are considered as among the very first emergency responders to any scene and their expertise in emergency medical services will prove to be helpful in such situations. The increasing population in urban areas will also call for more firefighters. In some states, members from volunteer fire brigades are often invited to fill paid positions and sometimes a whole crew is converted into fulltime workforce.
Competition for positions with substantial firefighter salaries can be very tight, due to a number of reasons. Some people enter the firefighting service because of the challenge. Others like to be part of public services. A few others opt to become firefighters because of the relatively low formal education requirements. Pensions also motivate individuals to become firefighters.
Those with postsecondary education with a degree in fire science or fire engineering have brighter prospects and have higher earning potential compared to those who only have high school diplomas.
A number of firefighters start at the local level upon graduating from firefighting academies. Rookie firefighters are teamed up with senior personnel during fire emergencies to help them become acquainted with the nature of their profession.
In the United States and many countries around the world, promotion to a higher position, such as Lieutenant or Captain, is seen as advancement, since the fire service structure is modeled after that of the military and the police.
Ranks in the firefighting service in the United States from lowest to highest are:
Advancement in the firefighting career usually comes with experience and continued training and education. A firefighter needs to at least possess an associate degree fire science, public administration, or a related field, to be considered for promotion as executive fire officer. A college degree is required to be eligible for promotion for the rank battalion chief and up.
Related occupations similar to the firefighter profession are:
Aside from their official training, fire fighters must possess an impressive set of qualities in order to do well on the job. For starters, whether male or female, a firefighter must reach a high standard of physical fitness and stamina. They must be able to move fast, carry heavy equipment, and at times work in intense situations for long durations of time. On top of this, they must have excellent analytical, communication, and teamwork skills in order to work effectively. Last but not least, courage is essential; fire fighting can be extremely dangerous, despite the best efforts of stringent occupational health and safety guidelines.
Joining the firefighting service is a noble decision. The risks involved with the position are relatively higher and more dangerous compared to other occupations. Still, it is a satisfying career, knowing that firefighters are always out there saving people's lives. People generally look at firefighters as heroes, which cannot be said about most other professions. It may not pay much but it does allow for an active and deeply satisfying career in protecting the community.