Firefighter Salary Guide and Career Outlook

A firefighter career is a noble and rewarding profession. In addition to fighting fires, these professionals respond to first aid calls and are CPR certified. In the United States, Canada, and Australia the firefighter salary is around $46,000. Firefighters in New Zealand and the United Kingdom make the equivalent of $30,000 US dollars.

Many factors impact the firefighter salary from the level of experience to the type of work to various certifications and training. In addition, benefits, bonuses, and job outlook will vary by country. If you are interested in being a firefighter, learn what it is like to be one in a variety of places across the world.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make per Year by Country?

The median firefighter salary for specific countries is seen in the data table below. Payscale was used to obtain the data for the table. The exception to this is New Zealand, and this information was taken from New Zealand Fire Service.

Firefighter Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Pay $14.00 C$26.00 ($19.83) E13.85* ($14.74) AU$24.00 ($18.00) NZ20.75 ($14.80) Rs 132.69* ($1.95) R58.00 ($4.29)
Annual Pay $45,807 C$60,978 ($46,501) E28,825 ($30,679) AU$66,786 ($50,092) NZ$39,808 ($28,398) Rs 276,000 ($4,051) R129,396 ($9,574)

* These amounts are estimated from the annual pay. An hourly rate was not listed.

Firefighter Salary Influencing Factors

Payscale provides data on the salary bands, impact of experience, benefits received, and gender ratio of firefighters. While the actual wage may look different with another site, the general pay and impact of various factors are consistent. The only country that had data taken from a different site was New Zealand.

 1. Location

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in the US?

The hourly rate for firefighters in the United States is $10.01 to $26.91 with an overtime rate of $14.70 to $49.09. The annual salary is $29,517 to $77,235. Additional compensation comes in the form of a bonus up to $8,082 and profit sharing of $5,087. The total take home pay is $26,058 to $75,361.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in Canada?

The firefighter salary in Canada ranges from C$44,366 to C$93,976 dollars with a bonus of C$2,300. When looking from the hourly perspective, the pay is C$17.61 to C$40.34 with overtime wages reaching C$66.89. The full salary is C$40,414 to C$93,630 dollars.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in the UK?

Firefighters in the United Kingdom will earn a salary of E19,586 to E35,854. There are no reported bonuses, profit shares, commissions and the hourly report is not reported. Therefore, the salary can be assumed to be the total pay.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in Australia?

The 10th percentile of earners in Australia make AU$48,073 to AU$97,418 for the 90th percentile of earners. These professionals earn a bonus of AU$15,000. The hourly rate is AU$16.22 to AU$33.54. The overtime rate is AU$6.04 to AU$238.39. The annual salary is AU$44,674 to AU$97,312.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in New Zealand?

The weekly firefighter salary in New Zealand is $829.34. This is the base pay, and working overtime will naturally increase this amount. In addition, employer contributions will increase the salary amount as well. Monthly, this amount equals $3,316. Training firefighters make less than this, and senior firefighters make more.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in India?

Firefighters in India see a salary range of Rs 101,367 to Rs 1,183,591. There are no bonuses or hourly wages reported to Payscale. The low end of the pay band is for the 10th percentile of earners, and the high end is for the 90th percentile. The median amount is much closer to the 10th percentile.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in South Africa?

The firefighter salary range in South Africa is R21,756 to R220,095. These professionals could earn a bonus of R979 to R17,977. The hourly rate is R8.17 to R96.74 with an overtime rate up to R209.52. The complete pay is R22,073 to R219,854.

2. Experience

In New Zealand, there are six levels of experience. These levels are recruit firefighter, firefighter, qualified firefighter, senior firefighter, station officer, and senior station officer. After they complete the necessary training and licensure that advance from firefighter to qualified firefighter.

Firefighters in Canada see a gradual growth with slight increases in the first and last 5 years of employment.

As firefighters gain experience in South Africa their pay increases from R120,000 to R190,000.

In the United Kingdom, pay increases quickly for the first 15 years and then tapers off with no significant increases.

Experienced firefighters in the United States see a sharp growth from 10-20 years of experience to more than 20 years of experience.

3. Industry

The significant difference in the industry for firefighters is whether they are paid or volunteers. While paid firefighters enjoy a salary, benefits, and increases in pay based on experience, volunteer firefighters receive no pay to a minimal stipend and work at a fire station when they can.

The largest differentiating factor between a paid or volunteer firefighter is the area where you work. In New Zealand, there can be paid and volunteers working at the same firehouse. In the United States, you will most likely work in either a paid or volunteer firefighter setting. In the main cities, firefighters are typically paid as part of the public safety branch of the city while in rural or suburban areas they are volunteers.

Schedule & Working Hours

Paid firefighters will work on a shift schedule. This normally has firefighters working for 3-4 days in a row and then having an equivalent number of days off. It does not mean that firefighters get no rest, sleep, or break. They live at the station for the days they are at work and then are at home when they are off. While they are at the station, they are on-call all the time and have to drop whatever they may be doing if they get an emergency call. When they are off, they are not on call.

Bonuses & Benefits

Firefighters have one of the greatest benefits of all in that they get to help people in their time of need. However, tangible benefits are also important. Firefighters who work for a city will receive a pension and health care benefits. They can also receive vacation, paid time off, and possible early retirement.

Another benefit of being a firefighter is that you have to work as a team to accomplish a goal. This helps people to feel valued and that they are an important part of whatever needs to be done. The table below shows the reported health care benefits by country.

Country Australia Canada India South Africa United States United Kingdom New Zealand
Medical 48 76 60 63 89 37 100
Dental 13 65 20 9 68 26 50
Vision 17 60 20 9 57 5
None 52 22 40 37 10 58

Career Outlook

Firefighters will always be needed because, unfortunately, there is always a chance of fires or accidents occurring. In the United States, their job growth is predicted to be about 5% through the year 2024. One of the reasons for them to not have an increase in available positions is because buildings have been made fire resistant and there is more knowledge of how to prevent fires.

Becoming a firefighter is a competitive process. One of the reasons for this is because the only educational requirement is a high school diploma. Firefighters who also have paramedic training will be marketable candidates. Those who work with forest fires or wildfires may see an increase in their field due to changing weather conditions.


Firefighters have a valuable job and get to work as part of a team to save lives and preserve building loss. They receive a good salary for the amount of education needed to become a firefighter. A firefighter career may be right for you if you enjoy helping people and have a commitment to public service. Or, you can look into a private investigator salary and aid making the world a better place in a different away.

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