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Fire & Rescue Salary Update

Fire & Rescue Salary Update

Sources: BLS, Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey

With the turn of a new year, more information is being generated regarding salaries and job outlooks. The following information recaps the past few years to keep you up to date with what’s going on in your career as a firefighter.

Median annual earnings of fire fighters were $41,190 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,550 and $54,120. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,660, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $66,140. Median annual earnings were $41,600 in local government, $41,070 in the Federal Government, and $37,000 in State governments.

Salary Reports for 2006
  • According to the International City-County Management Association, average salaries in 2006 for sworn full-time positions were as follows (minimum annual base salary – maximum annual base salary):

  • • Fire chief: ($73,435 – $95,271)

  • • Deputy chief: ($66,420 – $84,284)
  • • Assistant fire chief: ($61,887 – $78,914)

  • • Battalion chief: ($62,199 – $78,611)

  • • Fire captain: ($51,808 – $62,785)

  • • Fire lieutenant: ($47,469 – $56,511)

  • • Fire prevention/code inspector: ($45,951 – $58,349)

  • • Engineer: ($43,232 – $56,045)

Median annual earnings of first-line supervisors/managers of fire fighting and prevention workers were $62,900 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $50,180 and $79,060. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $97,820. First-line supervisors/managers of fire fighting and prevention workers employed in local government earned a median of about $64,070 a year.

Median annual earnings of fire inspectors and investigators were $48,050 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,960 and $61,160 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,840, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $74,930. Fire inspectors and investigators employed in local government earned a median of about $49,690 a year.

Fire fighters who average more than a certain number of work hours per week are required to be paid overtime. The hours threshold is determined by the department. Fire fighters often earn overtime for working extra shifts to maintain minimum staffing levels or during special emergencies.

Fire fighters receive benefits that usually include medical and liability insurance, vacation and sick leave, and some paid holidays. Almost all fire departments provide protective clothing (helmets, boots, and coats) and breathing apparatus, and many also provide dress uniforms. Fire fighters generally are covered by pension plans, often providing retirement at half pay after 25 years of service or if the individual is disabled in the line of duty.

Sources: BLS, Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey


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