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  • Firefighters Salaries

    Hi,

    This is my first post. I'm thinking about a career in the fire service and have always wanted to join but am worried about salary and progression of salary with time. I'm struggling to find any really good information. There seems to be lots on nursing (like this one www.cnanursing.net) but i can't find anything for careers in the fire service.

    If anyone could point me in the right direction that would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Paul

  • #2
    I am a long retired FF from the left coast. Also a retired RN. Comparing the two, I found that firefighting was much more dangerous and physically demanding and RN work on a busy floor was possibly more exhausting. Firefighting pays better than nursing, particularly the retirement benefits.

    Registered nursing takes more education. Today you need that BS degres with perhaps more on top of that in additional certifications. Yep, firefighting works more hours, but gives you more block time off. For a single guy, being a RN was a very nice place to be. Lots of ladies. PEM if you want to. HB

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    • #3
      Originally posted by PaulGoodwin View Post
      I'm thinking about a career in the fire service and have always wanted to join but am worried about salary and progression of salary with time. I'm struggling to find any really good information. There seems to be lots on nursing (like this one www.cnanursing.net) but i can't find anything for careers in the fire service.
      Welcome to the forums!

      Unfortunately, you're going to be hard-pressed to find something like that for the fire service. Salaries vary so greatly, even within particular regions and states. For example, my department starts at around $43k, and the other two big departments the border us are in that same pay range. However, you only have to drive 25-30 minutes to our south to find departments that are starting more than $10k below that.

      On top of that, my department offers a 9.6% to 14.8% incentive for ALS providers. Our neighboring department offers only a 5% incentive for ALS, but they also give their members 5% for being on the tech rescue team and 5% for being on the hazmat team, whereas my department doesn't even though we're one of the eight regional hazmat teams in the state.

      Some departments have aggressive career development plans so you're getting "guaranteed" raises every "X" amount of months, assuming you put the required work in to qualify for your next career development step. Some departments get raises under contract, whereas right-to-work states may not have contracts and get raises at the pleasure of the local government.

      As you can see, it can be kind of complex to give a fair answer, since each department can vary so much. That being said, it's still the best damn job in the world, and you might not get rich doing it, but you will look forward to going to work everyday. Not a whole lot of people can say that...

      Originally posted by HBofCJ View Post
      Firefighting pays better than nursing, particularly the retirement benefits....Registered nursing takes more education. Today you need that BS degres with perhaps more on top of that in additional certifications.
      HB, do you think that's more of a regional/west coast thing? I ask because my ex-wife is entering her 9th year of nursing and is making the same thing I do as a captain with 15 years on the job in a relatively well-compensated FD. Granted, she's a charge nurse and is getting her shift differential, but still not bad. Furthermore, BSN is definitely not the norm over this way. Sure, you'll meet plenty of people that have their BSN, but a majority don't - they're simply RN's who've taken additional classes specific to their role in whatever field of nursing.
      Career Fire Captain
      Volunteer Chief Officer


      Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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      • #4
        I have not worked as an RN for over 5 years now. My information may be out of date. Perhaps when the total compensation package is considered, Firefighters still might make more? Out here on the left coast, I know of few or no large private houses (hospitals) that give their new hires a 2.5%@50 retirement plus all the other stuff expected to be common with Firefighting agencies with the usual Union contracts. But ... I might have it wrong also. HB

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        • #5
          Where do you live or where are you trying to get a job at?

          The salary depends on where you plan to get a job at. The most money can be made in the west coast and gets lower as you head east (cost of living is also a lot cheaper).

          Many departments in California has a starting wage of $75,000-$100,000 annually where as in Kansas the same job you could be making $40,000 - $60,000 annually.

          -Juan
          firefighterslifestyle.cim

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