The median annual wage of firefighters was $45,250 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,050, and the top 10 percent earned more than $75,390.
In 2010, 67 percent of firefighters were union members or covered by a union contract.
Firefighters typically work long and varied hours. Many work about 50 hours a week. Some firefighters work 24-hour shifts on duty and are off the following 48 or 72 hours. Others work 10-hour day shifts for 3 to 4 days, followed by 14-hour night shifts for 3 to 4 nights before receiving 3 to 4 days off. Additional hours may be required when responding to a fire or medical emergency.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition