Firefighters are employed by governments to protect citizens from fires and other emergencies, including natural disasters or traffic accidents. Firefighter officers are those who hold in leadership positions over a group of firefighters. They are also referred to as company officers or fire captains.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for all firefighters in the United States was $45,250 as of May 2010. This included 67 percent of firefighters covered by a union contract. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,050 a year, while the top 10 percent earned more than $75,390. Many officers, particularly those in big city departments, likely made salaries closer to the high end.
Company Officer Salary:
A firehouse is comprised of a number of trained firefighters. The size of each firehouse will vary depending on the location and need. Every firehouse has a leader in charge of managing rescue operations and making decisions on behalf of the team. This person is usually known as the company officer or fire captain. According to FireScienceDegree.com, the average salary for a fire captain is $60,605 to $72,716 a year.
Education can have an impact on a firefighter's salary, as can experience and seniority. Most firefighters need only a high school diploma to meet employment qualifications. For those interested in advancing to positions of authority, a fire science degree can help boost their chances. The National Fire Academy (NFA) requires a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university for those who want to enroll in its executive fire officer program.
Employment of firefighters is expected to grow 9 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is slower than the average for all occupations. Demand will be greatest in areas which experience population growth. Since firefighter positions are very competitive, the best prospects will be physically-fit applicants with high test scores, some post-secondary firefighter education, and paramedic training.