The Average Starting Salary for Firefighters

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Firefighters respond to distress calls involving structure and property fires in addition to wilderness fires caused by natural phenomena, such as lightning strikes. Firefighting professionals attempt to control and eliminate fires through the use of high-pressured water hoses and rescue residents trapped in a burning building. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job opportunities for firefighting professionals will increase by 19 percent from 2008 through 2018.

Firefighters near truck.
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Firefighters employed for less than one year earned median salaries ranging from $29,138 to $44,583 as of May 2010, according to PayScale. Firefighters with one to four years of experience earned a median salary ranging from $30,666 to $47,333 as of May 2010, according to PayScale.

Money with W-2 forms.
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Firefighting professionals with five to nine years of experience earned median salaries ranging from $35,646 to $56,031, and firefighters with 10 to 19 years of experience earned median salaries ranging from $41,503 to $65,593 as of May 2010, according to PayScale. Firefighters with more than 20 years of experience earned median salaries ranging from $49,676 to $76,344 as of May 2010, according to PayScale.

Firefighter with helmet.
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Firefighters earned an average annual salary of $47,270 and an average hourly wage of $22.72 as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Professionals in this occupation earned a median annual salary of $45,050 and a median hourly wage of $21.66 as of May 2009.

American money.
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Firefighters working in California, New Jersey, New York, Nevada and Washington earned salaries ranging from $56,250 to $71,810 and hourly wages ranging from $27.04 to $34.53 as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Firefighters working in metropolitan areas such as the Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles and Fairfield areas in California and the Newark area in New Jersey earned salaries ranging from $73,020 to $91,890 and hourly wages ranging from $35.11 to $44.18 as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fire station in New York.
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States that had the highest job concentration of firefighters include Alaska, Massachusetts, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington. Firefighting professionals working in these states earned salaries ranging from $41,160 to $62,950 and hourly wages ranging from $19.79 to $30.27 as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Metropolitan areas that had the highest job concentration of firefighters include the Kingman area in Arizona, the Bradley area in Illinois, the Palm Coast and Port St. Lucie areas in Florida and the Bremerton area in Washington. Firefighting professionals working in these areas earned salaries ranging from $35,000 to $61,630 and hourly wages ranging from $16.83 to $29.63 as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Scenic of Alaska, a state with one of the highest concentrations of firefighters.
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