Firefighter Salary Averages: What You Can Earn in 2023

Brandi Glass
4 min read

Firefighting is one of the most respectable and challenging professions to get into, with many rewarding moments and the chance to save lives. These professionals risk their lives with every job to help put out fires or get them out of situations that are dangerous for the average person.

Although many people think about becoming one, becoming a firefighter is lengthy and has many rules. If you’re looking to get into this industry, we’re here to help. We’ll cover the basics of the job, go over the requirements, and look into the best states to get a high firefighter salary in the US.

How Much Does the Average Firefighter Make in the US?

Firefighter salaries vary by state. The average median firefighter salary is $52,500, slightly lower than the national average. The highest earners can make up to $85,000. In contrast, the lowest earners make roughly $32,000 a year.

The states that hire the most firefighters are Texas, California, Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina. However, not all of them pay the best wages. New Jersey pays the highest at $84,930, followed by California at $80,990, Washington at $76,280, New York at $72,670, and Colorado at $68,300.

Why Should Someone Consider Becoming a Firefighter?

Putting out fires is just one of many essential functions a firefighter serves. Firefighters reduce the likelihood of people losing their lives and contain the flames before things get out of hand.

They also ensure the safety of people’s property and the environment, educate the public about the importance of fire safety, and teach them CPR. Sometimes, they perform non-fire-related duties like helping people out of malfunctioning elevators or those stuck in high places.

Are There Requirements to Becoming a Firefighter?

Yes, firefighters must meet specific criteria to work in this job. Most states have an age limit for how old you can be to be a firefighter, ranging from 30 – 35. For example, you must have a valid driver’s license and be at least 18 years old.

Additionally, you must be physically healthy to take on this job’s rigorous responsibilities. If you fit these criteria, you can easily apply for this job and not face obstacles in employment.

Do You Need a Degree to Work as a Firefighter?

You do not need a college degree to start working as a firefighter. However, you will need to have a high school diploma to apply. Remember that you’ll need basic knowledge to complete the written test and evaluation, so doing your research before applying goes a long way.

Also, you’ll need to attend the firefighter academy before you start your duties as a firefighter. That training gives you the tools and skills you need to perform your job safely and successfully.

Do Aspiring Firefighters Need Exams or Licenses?

Aspiring firefighters need to take both written and physical exams to ensure they are fit for the job. The written exam has about 100 multiple choice questions that test your knowledge of mechanical reasoning, observation, logic, memory, and spatial awareness.

The physical test is called the Candidate Physical Ability Test, or CPAT test. This rigorous test allows examiners to gauge your ability to run, climb stairs, and carry heavy weight (up to 200 pounds).

What is a Fire Academy?

Fire academies train you to become a competent and professional firefighter. Usually, students must complete around 600 hours of training that lasts between 10 – 24 weeks. While in a fire academy, you’ll learn essential skills such as EMT knowledge, firefighting skills, physical conditioning, and even some light academic courses. All of these factors are necessary to become a good firefighter and help you stay safe in an emergency.

The good news is that these academies allow you to attend full-time and part-time.

If you have a lot going on in your life, a part-time option may be the best choice for you. However, opting for full-time attendance reduces your time in the academy overall. You’ll be putting in at least 40 hours a week if you opt for full-time, so weigh your options to make the best choice for your lifestyle.

What Gets Checked Before You Can Become a Firefighter?

Since you are in a position of public trust, you must have a clean record to get into the academy. Firefighters must pass multiple checks before they start training. Primarily, there is the background check. This check not only goes over whether you have a criminal record but also reviews your credit score. If you have bad credit and a pattern of irresponsible usage, you may not qualify for the job.

Applicants must also go through drug screening. This step is essential because people under the influence of substances cannot perform their jobs correctly and put themselves, their fellow firefighters, and people’s lives in danger.

If you want to become a firefighter but don’t have good credit, try to fix it before applying. The same applies if you use substances such as drugs – get clean before you apply to the position, or you will receive a hard rejection.

Is Being a Firefighter a Good Job?

Being a firefighter isn’t about the salary or the benefits. It’s a tough job that comes with daily danger. Some fires are easily extinguishable; others cost firefighters their lives. Becoming a firefighter brings out the best in people and is an honorable position.

If you like to help others, have the physical and psychological skills to take on such a position, and want to make friends for life, this position checks off the boxes.

It is not easy to become a firefighter, and the journey can be long and tiring. But the results, gratification, and appreciation you experience daily are well worth the hard work and effort.

What’s The First Step to Take to Become a firefighter?

If you have what it takes and are ready to start this career, you can apply with your local fire station. However, you’ll need a resume to get through the door. Even if you don’t have much experience, a resume can still outline your skills and give a potential employer insight into your degree of responsibility and enthusiasm for the job. However, not all resumes are the same.

You can create a professional, streamlined, and functional resume in minutes with Rocket Resume. Using our intuitive tools and easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll have a professional firefighter resume ready without the hassle of formatting it on your own.

When you generate a CV with Rocket Resume, you won’t have to worry about the document not passing through Applicant Tracking Systems. With so much going on in your life and the prep it takes to become a firefighter, Rocket Resume takes care of the details so you can focus on getting the job.

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