Firefighter Salary in California

How Much do Firefighters Make in CA?

Choosing a career is a life-altering decision for any individual. To become a firefighter, aspirants need knowledge of medical procedures, endurance, and physical prowess. Since firefighters in California are in huge demand, they get lucrative salary packages, fringe benefits, and various other perks. However, several factors impact the firefighter pay such as certifications, education, employer, number of work experience, and skills set. For instance, firefighters with a technical certificate or high school diploma made between $40,242 and $46,749, while those with a bachelor’s degree earned between $41,270 and $47,605 (information source – salary.com).

California was the second paying state for fighters after New Jersey as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (as of May 2017). The fireman wages in California was $73,860 per annum and $35.51 per hour. The average annual salary of a firefighter, according to indeed.com (as of October 10, 2018) was $50,095, which was 18% above the national average. Firefighters in Los Angeles and San Jose made $114,349 and $61,881, respectively. As per the statistics of salary.com (as of September 28, 2018), the salary range of firefighters in California was between $37,627 and $62,711. Their average annual salary was $50,169.

The below table showcases the percentile wages of firefighters in California:

PercentileAnnual Salary
10th$39,960
25th$53,530
50th$72,250
75th$93,060
90th$112,250

Information Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (as of May 2017)

From this table, it can be concluded that:

  • 10% of firefighters in California earned less than $39,960 per annum, while the remaining 90% of professionals made more than it.
  • 25% of professionals made an average annual income less than $53,530, whereas the remaining 75% of professionals earned more average salary.
  • The average income of 50% of firefighters was less than $72,250 per annum, while the average annual salary of the remaining 50% of firefighters was more.
  • 75% of firefighters took home less than $93,060 per year, while the remaining earned more than $93,060 annualy.
  • 90% of firefighters were paid less than $112,250 per year, whereas the remaining 10% of firefighters were paid more than $112,250 per year.

San Diego Fire Department Salary

As of September 28, 2018, according to salary.com, the salary of firefighters in San Diego was between $37,008 and $61,679 per year, while the average annual wage was $49,343. The total compensation includes retirement benefits, health insurance, and bonus.

Firefighter Salary by Geographical Location in CA

The average firefighter salary in California varies from city to city. Firefighters are paid according to the cost of living in the city where they are working.

The below table depicts the average annual and hourly wages of firefighters in different cities of California.

Name of the CityAverage Annual SalaryAverage Hourly Wage
Anaheim$51,285$25
Antioch$52,532$25
Apple Valley$48,685$23
Bakersfield$49,289$24
Berkeley$54,383$26
Burbank$51,904$25
Carlsbad$49,067$24
Carson$51,171$25
Chico$46,839$23
Chula Vista$49,343$24
Coachella$48,724$23
Concord$51,565$25
Corona$49,033$24
Costa Mesa$51,171$25
Daly City$57,825$28
Downey$51,411$25
El Cajon$49,196$24
El Monte$51,849$25
Elk Grove$49,904$24
Escondido$49,067$24
Fairfield$51,529$25
Fontana$49,107$24
Fremont$55,879$27
Fresno$45,985$22
Fullerton$51,285$25
Garden Grove$51,285$25
Glendale$51,904$25
Hayward$54,291$26
Huntington Beach$51,171$25
Inglewood$51,904$25
Irvine$51,171$25
Lancaster$51,629$25
Lompoc$47,866$23
Long Beach$51,171$25
Los Angeles$$51,904$25
Modesto$48,738$23
Monterey$50,957$24
Moreno Valley$49,070$24
Murrieta$50,055$24
Newhall$51,254$25
Norwalk$51,219$25
Oakland$54,383$26
Oceanside$49,452$24
Ontario$49,033$24
Orange$51,171$25
Oxnard$49,207$24
Palmdale$51,560$25
Pasadena$51,904$25
Petaluma$51,630$25
Pomona$51,175$25
Rancho Cucamonga$48,862$23
Rialto$48,892$24
Richmond$54,591$26
Riverside$49,107$24
Roseville$49,849$24
Sacramento$49,977$24
Salinas$50,847$24
San Bernardino$48,892$24
San Diego$49,343$24
San Francisco$57,825$28
San Jose$55,989$27
Santa Ana$51,217$25
Santa Barbara$49,599$24
Santa Clara$55,989$27
Santa Clarita$51,168$25
Santa Cruz$51,079$25
Santa Maria$48,706$23
Santa Rosa$50,115$24
Simi Valley$50,328$24
Stockton$49,198$24
Sunnyvale$55,989$27
Temecula$49,367$24
Thousand Oaks$49,948$24
Torrance$51,171$25
Vallejo$51,675$25
Ventura$49,207$24
Victorville$48,705$23
Visalia$45,709$22
West Covina$51,175$25

Information Source: salary.com (September 28, 2018)

The average hourly salary of firefighters ranged between $22 (paid by Fresno and Visalia) and $28 (paid by Daly City and San Francisco). Firefighters in Visalia were paid the least average annual salary, i.e., $45,709. On the other hand, these professionals were paid the highest salary in Daly City and San Francisco, i.e., $57,825.

Salary by Seniority Level in CA

How much do firefighters get paid in a year and how much do they make in an hour? Well, the median annual pay of these professionals largely depends on their experience level. The salary of entry-level job firefighters was $10,000-$30,000; middle-level firefighters earned $30,000-$50,000; and upper middle level firefighters made $50,000-$80,000. Firefighters at higher positions in California earned $80,000-$100,000 (according to salary.com).

Salary of Professionals with Similar Job Titles in CA

The salary also greatly depends on the job title that you assume in the firefighting field. You may take up the role of Fire Inspector, Fire Prevention Engineer, Fire Marshall, Fire Engineer, etc.

Name of the TitleAverage Salary (per annum)
Senior Inspector$77,539
Fire Engineer$77,666
Firefighter/Paramedic$74,956
Firefighter/EMT$63,156
Fire Marshall$101,036

Information Source: indeed.com (As of October 8, 2018)

As per indeed.com, as of 8 October 2018, the highest salary was earned by Fire Marshall. These professionals were paid $101,036 per annum. Firefighter paramedic salary in California was $74,956, while Wildland firefighter salary in California was $14.32 per hour. Firefighter EMT salary was $63,156 per year.

Name of the TitleAverage Salary (per annum)
Emergency Dispatcher$40,869
Fire Captain$75,444
Fire Inspector$66,257
Fire Inspector Supervisor$83,444
Fire Prevention Engineer$61,939

Information Source: salary.com (As of September 28, 2018)

As of September 28, 2018, according to salary.com, in the state of California, the highest salary was paid to the Fire Inspector Supervisor and the least to Emergency Dispatcher. These professionals earned $83,444 and $40,869, respectively.

Other Benefits

In addition to salary, firefighters in California may get several other monetary and non-monetary benefits. Depending on your employer, you may get the following benefits:

  • Health care insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Credit union membership
  • Sick leaves
  • Reimbursement for specific tuition fees
  • Retirement benefits
  • Paid time off
  • Maternity and paternity leaves

Job Scope for Firefighters in CA

In May 2017, California had the highest employment level in firefighting in the USA. The total employment for firefighters in this state was 31,150 with employment per thousand jobs of 1.87. The demand for firefighter in California is projected to increase in the coming years. At the national level, a growth of 7% in the job openings for firefighters has been forecasted from 2012 and 2022. The primary reason for the singnificant number of job openings for these professionals is; retirement of elderly firefighters in the coming years. Further, aspirants with higher educational qualification hold a promising future in this discipline. After gaining some work experience, firefighters may assume management and leadership roles such as Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Chief, Fire Safety Instructor, etc.