Fire Fighters

Salary, income and Wage data of Fire Fighters. What are the ranks making in the Fire Deparment? More information about working conditions, education and the Job Outlook of a fire fighter.

First take the Salary Survey!

Fire Fighters
Median Hourly Wage
: $18.42
Highest Hourly Wage: (90th percentile): $29.21 and higher.
Lowest Hourly Wage: (10th percentile): $9.71 and lower.

Work week: 50+ hours per week

Detailed Fire Fighter Salary Info
Position                Min. annual wage    Max. annual wage

Fire chief $68,701 $89,928
Deputy chief 63,899 79,803
Assistant fire chief 57,860 73,713
Battalion chief 58,338 73,487
Fire captain 49,108 59,374
Fire lieutenant 44,963 53,179
Fire prevention/code inspector 43,297 54,712
Engineer 41,294 52,461


Don't forget to use our Salary Calculator!




Major job duties:

  • Usually the first emergency personnel at the scene of a traffic accident or medical emergency and may be called upon to put out a fire, treat injuries, or perform other vital functions
  • Must be prepared to respond immediately to a fire or any other emergency that arises
  • At fires: connect hose lines to hydrants, operate a pump to send water to high-pressure hoses, and position ladders to enable them to deliver water to the fire.
  • Rescue victims, provide emergency medical attention as needed, ventilate smoke-filled areas, and attempt to salvage the contents of buildings. Duties may change several times while the company is in action. Sometimes they remain at the site of a disaster for days at a time, rescuing trapped survivors and assisting with medical treatment.
  • Between alarms, fire fighters clean and maintain equipment, conduct practice drills and fire inspections, and participate in physical fitness activities. They also prepare written reports on fire incidents and review fire science literature to keep abreast of technological developments and changing administrative practices and policies.

Working Conditions

  • Work over 50 hours a week.
  • Usually work on nights , holidays and weekends.
  • Sometimes are on duty for 24 hours, then off for 48 hours, and receive an extra day off at intervals.
  •  Sometimes work a day shift of 10 hours for 3 or 4 days, a night shift of 14 hours for 3 or 4 nights, have 3 or 4 days off, and then repeat the cycle.
  • Risk of death or injury from sudden cave-ins of floors, toppling walls, traffic accidents when responding to calls, and exposure to flames and smoke
  • Come in contact with poisonous, flammable, or explosive gases and chemicals as well as radioactive or other hazardous materials that may have immediate or long-term effects on health.

Education and Training

  • Minimum 18 years of age and High School Diploma required.
  • Must pass a written exam; tests of strength, physical stamina, coordination, and agility; and a medical examination that includes drug screening.
  • Completion of community college courses in fire science may improve an applicant’s chances for appointment. In recent years, an increasing proportion of entrants to this occupation have had some postsecondary education.
  • Many fire departments have accredited apprenticeship programs lasting up to 4 years.
  • Apprenticeship programs combine technical instruction with on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced fire fighters.
  • Technical instruction covers subjects such as fire fighting techniques and equipment, chemical hazards associated with various combustible building materials, emergency medical procedures, and fire prevention and safety.

Job Outlook

  • There were 353,000 fire fighting jobs in 2004.
  • Employment of fire fighters is expected to grow faster than average* through the year 2014.

Learn more about becoming a fire fighter

*Means an increase 18 to 26 percent.


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Don't forget to take our Salary Survey!