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firefighter salary

How Much Do Firefighters Make for a Living?

Here’s How Much Firefighters Earn in Each State

If you’ve watched the news at all this year, you know that fires are worse than ever before. Firefighters work around the clock to ensure the safety of those in their community—and many of the brave souls that battle the flames are volunteers. 

But that’s not all firefighters do. When they’re not extinguishing forest fires or rescuing people from burning buildings, they work to prevent future fires, investigate the causes of fires, transport injured people to hospitals, and perform EMT duties. 

Given the breadth of firefighters’ responsibilities, we wanted to know how much firefighters get paid for their services. Do they get paid more or less than, say, accountants? Do they earn more or less than nurses? How do firefighters’ salaries shake out in each state?

To answer our burning questions, the team at Vio Security did some digging to discover how much each state pays its firefighters.

What’s the Difference Between Volunteer Firefighters and Paid Firefighters?

Registered fire departments may be staffed by salaried career firefighters, volunteer firefighters, paid-per-call firefighters, or some combination of the above. In 2019, volunteer firefighters represented 54% of all active firefighting personnel.

Even more impressive, 70% of all registered fire departments are volunteer fire departments, compared to only 9% that are entirely career-based.  


If you’re wondering why there are so many volunteer firefighters, you’re not alone. Many volunteers are simply good samaritans, but several are incarcerated as well. In California, for instance, 1,659 incarcerated individuals work as unpaid firefighters.