New Report: Firefighter Salaries by State

Posted by , , at 3:18 pm

When fire strikes, the first responders on the scene are often a specialized group of emergency personnel who put their lives on the line to keep flames from spreading—firefighters.

These courageous humans spend their days on danger’s doorstep, stopping fire in its tracks and often risking smoke exposure and burns so you don’t have to. Seems like a pretty important job, no?

We sure think so. Inspired by firefighters’ heroics, the safety experts at Frontpoint examined government data to report on career firefighters’ salaries in each state. Check out our map below to see how your state ranks.

Career vs. Volunteer Firefighter Ratios

Nationally, about 33% of active firefighters are career firefighters, 55% are volunteer, and 12% are paid per call. Our report focuses solely on career firefighters.

What is an Adjusted Salary? 

When housing costs soar, gas fills up budgets, and restaurants eat away your paycheck in some states more than others, comparing salaries gets a bit tricky. 

That’s why the Frontpoint team opted to include firefighters’ adjusted salaries—or salaries that factor in each state’s cost of living. The adjusted salary represents the “purchasing power” a firefighter would have based off the cost of living in each state.

Methodology

To calculate each state’s average career firefighter salary and adjusted salary, the Frontpoint team first gathered firefighter data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wages report

Then we looked at Regional Price Parities (RPPs)—which measure the differences in price levels across states and metropolitan areas—from the 2017 Bureau of Economic Analysis. From there, our analysts calculated the RPP adjusted salary by dividing the annual mean salary by the price parity for each state. 

Fast Firefighter Facts

  • Firefighters bring home the most money in California, where the annual mean income clocks in at $81,580. The lowest firefighter salaries come out of Mississippi, where the annual mean income is $30,370.
  • Ohio has the highest percentage of firefighters per capita with 3.546 of every 1,000 employed residents fighting fires for a living.
  • The annual mean career firefighter salary in the US is $53,240.
  • Seems life is pretty pricey in Hawaii. The Aloha State has the largest ranking gap between actual salary (8th place) and adjusted salary (19th place).
  • Pennsylvania has the lowest percentage of firefighters at 0.795 of every 1,000 getting paid to fight fires. About 90% of Pennsylvania fire departments are fully staffed by volunteers.

Complete List of Firefighter Salaries by State

StateAnnual Average SalaryAverage Salary Rank
Annual Average Adjusted SalaryAverage Adjusted Salary Rank
Alabama$41,74033$48,14329
Alaska$51,11018$48,95625
Arizona$45,15027$46,83631
Arkansas$37,80040$43,69935
California$81,5801$71,0631
Colorado$61,16010$59,2647
Connecticut$63,6307$58,9178
Delaware$48,80022$48,75128
Florida$53,34015$53,39318
Georgia$38,06037$41,14640
Hawaii$62,6708$52,88619
Idaho$40,49034$43,53837
Illinois$56,71012$57,5749
Indiana$49,46020$55,07815
Iowa$43,97029$48,96424
Kansas$37,93039$42,14439
Kentucky$33,52048$38,13446
Louisiana$30,60049$33,96250
Maine$36,75044$37,34847
Maryland$61,7809$56,47212
Massachusetts$60,08011$55,68114
Michigan$45,44026$48,86026
Minnesota$37,69041$38,65645
Mississippi$30,37050$35,43849
Missouri$51,10019$57,09511
Montana$49,23021$52,04021
Nebraska$47,88024$53,43817
Nevada$66,8305$68,4733
New Hampshire$48,64023$45,97433
New Jersey$76,5302$67,7864
New Mexico$36,59045$39,21842
New York$73,7104$63,6536
North Carolina$35,50047$38,88344
North Dakota$42,98032$47,70330
Ohio$46,31025$52,09220
Oklahoma$43,45031$48,82027
Oregon$66,3306$66,6635
Pennsylvania$56,09013$57,29310
Rhode Island$55,24014$56,02413
South Carolina$36,30046$40,15541
South Dakota$44,71028$50,69222
Tennessee$40,28036$44,55834
Texas$52,52016$54,14416
Utah$37,96038$39,13443
Vermont$37,07042$36,16648
Virginia$51,51017$50,45123
Washington$73,8503$69,4082
West Virginia$36,82043$42,32238
Wisconsin$40,31035$43,62636
Wyoming$43,81030$46,01932

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