Academies >> Browse Articles >> career articles


Top Ten Highest Paying States for Firefighters

Top Ten Highest Paying States for Firefighters

Heroically, salary is often an afterthought for firefighters who feel called to protect and serve their communities. Realistically, however, income is a concern for every person in the department from the newest recruit to the seasoned chief. Part of being employed in any profession is being informed as to what’s going on in your field, including pay scale. Salaries and benefits can vary widely by county and especially by state.

A recent article by the San Diego Union-Tribune discussed state legislative strategy of negotiating firefighter salaries to “avoid the retention problem that has hobbled police.” “Over two years, San Diego lost 125 officers but only five firefighters to other agencies,” San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’ staff said.

This loyalty is something that firefighters often take for granted at the cost of earning what you deserve. One firefighter in San Diego said that if he were a firefighter and didn’t get a raise, he would push for one by saying, “We should get everyone to leave. We should start an attrition problem.”

Even if you’re not considering moving, knowing what’s going on with firefighting salaries in other states is information you need to know. Your local legislature has access to this information when they negotiate salaries, and so should you. If you are employed in a private service, this is key leverage information.

How does the salary in your state compare to another? To help you answer that question, we’ve put together a list of states with the highest average pay per hour along with the average number of job openings per year.

Career Resources

1) New Jersey

Median Salary: $28.41

Job Openings: 200

2) California

Median Salary: $28.19

Job Openings: 1,500

3) Washington

Median Salary: $24.71

Job Openings: 190

h4. 4) New York

Median Salary: $23.93

Job Postings: 380

5) Maryland

Median Pay: $28.06

Job Postings: 310

6) Connecticut

Median Pay: $22.94

Job Postings: 150

7) Oregon

Median Pay: $22.30

Job Postings: 150

8) Nevada

Median Salary: $21.82

Job Postings: 110

h4. 9) Pennsylvania

Median Salary: $21.65

Job Postings: 200

h4. 10) Massachusetts

Median Salary: $21.40

Job Postings: 530

States with the Highest Projected Growth in Employment Opportunity (Increase from 2004 – 2014)

California: +6,900

Florida: +6,210

Ohio: +3,210

Georgia: +2,340

Illinois: +2,310

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections; the Labor Market Information Office within the State Employment Security Agency

States not reporting data: Delaware, District of Columbia, Kansas, Texas, Vermont, Virginia.