Salaries are dependent upon your position title, bonuses and benefits; here are the average annual firefighter salaries at the largest U.S. departments
Chances are you wanted to help people — most of the time under the worst of conditions. But even dream jobs have pros and cons.
While a firefighting career may be satisfying, does it pay the bills to support you and your family? Here's a breakdown of the average firefighter salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at the largest departments across the nation.
1. LOS ANGELES FIRE DEPARTMENT
LAFD firefighters are among the highest paid in the United States. During academy training, according to the LAFD, recruits receive full pay. The department also gives a bilingual bonus.
Average annual salary: $76,576
2. LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT
The LACFD serves 4 million residents in a 2,300-square-mile area. The competition is tough in landing a firefighting job in both the Los Angeles County Fire Department and LAFD. For the LACFD, nearly 95 percent of applicants are turned away. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Average annual salary: $72, 744
3. FIRE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
In 2015, Forbes magazine named the Fire Department of the City of New York as the No. 1 government employer in the country. The FDNY also ranked 17th overall in the magazine's list of best employers.
Average annual salary: $72,730
4. PHILADELPHIA FIRE DEPARTMENT
The PFD is the largest department in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It also has the busiest EMS division in the U.S. – a single ambulance, according to the department, responded to almost 9,000 calls in 2013.
Average annual salary: $48,315
5. CHICAGO FIRE DEPARTMENT
Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, oh my! The Chicago Fire Department is the third largest municipal fire department in the U.S. And in case you need to know for your next department trivia game, it's also one of the oldest organized fire departments in the nation.
Average annual salary: $47,598
6. HOUSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT
Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S. And with that, comes great responsibility for the fire service. The department serves more than 2 million residents in a 617-square-mile area. The HFD is also the largest department in the state of Texas.
Average annual salary: $45,442
7. DALLAS FIRE-RESCUE
Most recently, Dallas Fire-Rescue's troubled pension plan has drawn a lot of criticism and finger-pointing among fire officials and lawmakers. Nonetheless, DFR employs 1,800 firefighters and has 58 fire stations in the city – plenty of houses to potentially work in.
Average annual salary: $44,589
8. PHOENIX FIRE DEPARTMENT
Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the U.S. The Phoenix Fire Department serves more than a million residents in a 519-square-mile area. The PFD has an annual call volume of 171,000 – 88 percent being for EMS calls.
Average annual salary: $44,499