For firefighters, their job is a calling, a vocation that springs from their desire to help their communities and save lives. However, as with any job, potential firefighters have to consider what salary they can expect in their career. Luckily, those in New Jersey can expect to earn the highest wages of any firefighters in the nation. Moreover, while starting-level jobs pay the least, they have the latitude to move up to other, higher-paying positions.
Average Starting Salary in New Jersey
Firefighters usually receive generous benefit and pay packages, given how dangerous, and often deadly, their jobs can be. However, those just starting out at a fire department will earn the least. In New Jersey, this means they will earn anywhere from $12 to $22 per hour, or roughly $30,000 to $45,000 per year. However, these figures are averages for the state, and an individual's salary may differ depending on his qualifications and location.
Salary Variation by Location in New Jersey
Firefighters, from entry-level to fire chiefs, will earn different salaries than their peers, depending on their location. For example, Atlantic City pays firefighters one of the lowest salaries of any major city in the state, an average of $41,000 a year. Although each town differs, those in the northern half of the state pay slightly more than those in the southern half on average.
Compared to the National Average
Although firefighters in New Jersey usually start off making less than $50,000 on average, their pay packages do increase as they further their career. In 2010, New Jersey firefighters earned an average annual salary of $71,310, the highest of any state in the country, and well above the average salary of $47,730 nationwide.
Salaries Within Fire Departments
If firefighters choose to specialize their skills, they can bring home even more money. For example, fire chiefs can make salaries in the low six figures, while deputy, battalion and assistant fire chiefs can all top out at more than $80,000 a year.