Becoming a New York City fire fighter is no easy task. First, you must pass a written exam followed by a physical test. Then you must wait for two to four years on the civil service list before being called to take a medical exam and pass psychological screening. Finally, if your background check clears and you meet the eligibility guidelines, then you are rewarded with the potential to earn six figures and a pension upon retirement.
Starting NYC Salaries
Starting pay for New York City fire fighters is competitive at a base pay of $39,370 and estimated first year fringe pay of $3,704. Fringe pay, according to the New York City Fire Department website, includes "overtime, holiday pay and other differentials." This sets a first-year fire fighter in the vicinity of $43,074 per year. After the first year is completed, base pay is raised to $41,311 while fringe pay jumps to $8,159 for a total pay of $49,470 a year.
Advanced Salaries and Opportunities
The salary for New York City fire fighters is raised every year of service. After the second year of service, total pay goes up to $53,881. After five years, total pay raises all the way to $99,104 per year. After that, there are promotional opportunities to rise up to Lieutenant, Captain or Battalion Chief for a total salary that can reach $161,281 per year.
New York State Average
The state of New York pays fire fighters an average of $59,400 per year with the median salary at $62,000 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the BLS does not provide wage information for New York City fire fighters, the BLS' New York State average is close to the median salary of New York City fire fighters provided by PayScale.com at $58,019 per year.
National Average Comparison
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the American national average salary for fire fighters in May 2009 was $47,270 per year. The median pay was $45,050 per year, 28.8 percent less than the median salary for New York City fire fighters in April 2011 reported by PayScale.com at $58,019 per year. This makes New York City a more profitable metro for fire fighters than most areas in the country.