Fire Chief Salary
Around nine in ten of Fire Chiefs in the United States have been in the field for more than 10 years. Pay can fall anywhere from $47K to $120K per year, but median earnings come to around $73K annually. It's heartening to note that most people in this field love their work, finding it both fun and rewarding. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and the larger part earn dental coverage. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
Job Description for Fire Chief
Fire chiefs are responsible for providing managerial and administrative direction within a fire department. Their role is one of leadership, and their responsibilities include: planning and supervising fire operations; coordinating fire programs and action plans with a city's government; supervising building inspections for fire hazards to ensure they meet safety standards; preparing the fire department's annual budget; reviewing new and replaced equipment; and performing training drills with other firefighters. Above all, they continue to engage in firefighting and provide rescue and medical services, though this is secondary to their administrative roles.Read More...
In most cases, fire chiefs began as firefighters and rose through the ranks after many years of education, training, and experience, all of which are vital for the position's responsibilities. Fire chiefs work mostly in offices, but frequently participate in tasks that take place outdoors or elsewhere. These may range from attending meetings with city officials to administering drills and training programs or responding to real fires. Many work long shifts, though mostly during day hours.
Though many fire chiefs may have no education past a high school diploma, many departments now prefer applicants with a Bachelor's degree. In either case, fire chiefs are expected to have had many years of firefighting experience, and some are also expected to have taken courses regarding hazardous materials, fire codes, and additional training under the U.S. National Fire Academy.
Fire Chief Tasks
- Manage personnel and equipment to maintain peak performance abilities.
- Oversee medical responses as needed.
- Evaluate scale and nature of reported fires while assigning appropriate teams to strategic locations for rescue of people and extinguishing flames.
- Update, review, and report on personnel, equipment, and incidents.
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Pay by Experience Level for Fire Chief
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Fire Chiefs with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. During their first five years in the workforce, individuals in this position earn $58K on average. Survey participants with five to 10 years under their belts see an only a slightly bigger average of $62K. Fire Chiefs see a median salary of $68K after reaching one to two decades on the job. In the end, more experience does seem to mean larger paychecks; seasoned Fire Chiefs with more than 20 years of experience earn a predictably higher median salary of $76K.