The role of firefighters continues to expand as it’s not just limited to controlling fires and preventing loss of life. Firefighters are required to gain more extensive training in public safety, which includes understanding about buildings and constructions, EMT, and mechanical.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the 2022 National Fire Department Registry has registered 27,178 fire departments. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists 317,200 firefighters in the US in its 2020 employment stats. As per BLS, below are the top 5 states with the highest employment level in Firefighters in 2021.

StateEmployment 
Texas29,530
California27,730
Florida20,420
Ohio19,350
North Carolina15,410

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Since the duties of firefighters have a lot to do with saving lives and rescuing people in distress, it is very important to be properly educated and trained before getting into this field. For those of you interested in this field, firefighter salary data would also be of great interest. The following guide provides detailed information on the salaries of firefighters, along with a quick look into how to become a firefighter in US.

Firefighters in the US – A Quick Glance

As per the National Fire Protection Association report published in 2019, there were nearly 1,056,200 firefighters in the US in 2017. 35% of these were career firefighters while 65% were volunteers. There were an estimated 29,819 fire departments in the US. 21.1% of the firefighters were in the age bracket of 20-29 years, while 27.1% fell in the age bracket of 30-39.

According to the BLS, the median annual salary of firefighters in the US in 2021 was $55,290. Below are the top 5 highest paying states for this occupation in the US in 2021.

StateAnnual mean wage 
New Jersey$ 84,930
California$ 80,990
Washington$ 76,280
New York$ 72,670
Colorado$ 68,300

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics


Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

As depicted by the above chart, the salary for firefighters varies according to state. Salaries may also vary according to individual department’s policies.

To further put things into perspective, let’s take a look at how the salaries for Firefighters have grown over the years from 2016 to 2018.

YearAnnual Mean Salary
2016$50,520
2017$51,930
2018$53,240

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Outlook for Firefighters

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts an 8% growth in employment opportunities for firefighters in the US between 2020 and 2030. The employment opportunity arises when firefighters retire or replace their job with other occupations.