Fire Careers in 2012: Why it Pays to be a Firefighter

Being a firefighter is about much more than the pay. It's about the honor and courage of such amazing public service. But let's face it, it's also a job that must pay the bills. So if you're pursuing a career in firefighting, you must be wondering whether it makes sense to invest the time and effort to become a fireman. Good news! All numbers show encouraging growth in the fire service industry.
Projections show strong expected growth for the rest of the decade, with a 19% overall increase – more than 57,000 new jobs – expected by 2020. As of 2012, firefighters can earn upwards of $71,000 per year (depending on location and position); in fact, the position of Fire Chief is the highest paying public sector job in the country. To give you a better idea of why it pays to be a firefighter in 2012, we've created the following infographic. It's got a bunch of surprising data, including:

  • New Jersey firefighters are the highest paid in the country, averaging $71,810 in annual salary
  • Entry-level firefighters only make$34,000 per year, but Fire Chiefs make $89,000
  • There are over 1 million active firefighters in America, but more than 800,000 are volunteers; moonlighting as a volunteer is the best way to capture full-time employment in the industry
  • 78% of firefighters are 49 and younger, so it's definitely a young man's profession
  • For all the financial numbers associated with firefighting, we can't quantify the value of protecting our citizens from danger

Why Quality Matters

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