Fighting raging fires and rescuing people from burning properties may make a firefighter’s job appear thrilling and attractive. While such is part of the work, trust me when I say nothing is thrilling about walking into a raging fire unless you’re an adrenaline junkie.
Rising temperatures, drought conditions, and dry vegetation contribute to California wildfires. The rising effects of climate change are also intensifying and extending the state’s fire season.
California is one of the most popular states in the United States for firefighters. Firefighter employment opportunities are expected to grow by 3.9% in California before 2028. The Highest Paid firefighters in California work in various cities around the state. Keep reading as we review some of the Highest Paid firefighters in California.
Table of contents
- Why You Should Work as a Firefighter in California
- How to Become a Firefighter in California?
- 15 Highest Paid Firefighters in California
- #1. Vacaville, California
- #2. Sacramento, California
- #3. Fremont, California
- #4. Hayward, California
- #5. Redwood City, California
- #6. Anaheim, California
- #7. Twenty-nine Palms, California
- #8. Palmdale, California
- #9. Monterey, California
- #10. Norwalk, California
- #11. Simi Valley, California
- #12. San Diego, California
- #13.Oakland, California
- #14. Merced, California
- #15.Napa, California
- Frequently asked questions
Why You Should Work as a Firefighter in California
Firefighters have occupations that require them to put themselves at risk regularly to help others in the community. The average base income for firefighters in California is $57,773 per year; however, the number might vary based on the city where you work. Firefighters in California make 11 percent more than the national average.
California firefighters also receive various benefits. Career firefighters receive medical and dental benefits for themselves and their families. Credit union memberships, disability insurance, retirement plans, sick leave, vacation accrual, and ill child care services are frequently available. The fire department also provides opportunities for growth and ongoing education.
In California, you may enhance your present entry-level pay by working additional hours at the station, staying with one department for a longer time, or working your way up to the captain, and beyond. You may also increase your average earnings by receiving more training. The more varied your education, the more valuable you will be to your department. Many agencies may pay for paramedic licenses, multilingual ability, specialized rescue or hazardous material courses, or other educational hours achieved.
Also read: 15 Highest Paid Fire Departments | 2022
How to Become a Firefighter in California?
Knowing the requirements for becoming a fireman in California may assist you in determining whether this job is a suitable fit for your talents, interests, and experiences. The following are some of the steps to becoming a California fireman.
Step 1: Basic requirements
Before you begin looking for firefighter jobs in California, make sure you satisfy the minimal standards of both the agency and the state. In general, candidates for firefighter positions in California must be at least 18 years old, have a valid state driver’s license, and be eligible to work legally in the United States through citizenship or a work visa.
You must also have a high school diploma or an equivalent, such as a GED.
In addition to high school graduation, most fire departments in California accept a California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) certificate. High school education can teach you the foundations of important firefighting abilities, including reading comprehension and safety standards.
Step 2: EMT certification
Enroll in a training program for emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Although not all fire stations in California need EMT certification, the vast majority do. After getting a job offer, you may be able to obtain your EMT certificate from various California fire stations. Check the qualification criteria for the relevant fire department in your area.
Step 3: Gain experience
Experience will make your transition to this job field easier. Consider joining a cadet, volunteer, or recruit program for firefighters to obtain experience. Participating can help you gain a variety of firefighting abilities. These seminars may also allow you to network with experts from your local fire department.
Step 4: FCA exam
Take the firefighter candidate assessment (FCA). Most California fire departments require candidates to complete this standardized exam before applying. The FCA includes a multimedia section in which applicants respond to questions about visual and audio cues presented by a computer. There is also a self-description part where applicants can discuss various aspects of their professional behavior and how they could behave in certain scenarios.
Step 5: Interview and assessments
Most fire stations need candidates to conduct one or more interviews after passing the FCA. This interview is usually held by a panel, the fire chief, or another high-ranking professional in the fire service. In some areas, an oral or written test might be a requirement in addition to or instead of a series of interviews.
Complete a physical fitness examination, such as the Biddle or Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT). California fire agencies either employ one of these approved fitness examinations or perform their own to evaluate firefighter recruits. These physical tests may test your ability to climb stairs, handle heavy equipment while moving rapidly, and navigate confined places.
Step 6: Evaluations and training for employers
Before recruiting you, most fire departments will conduct an evaluation. Background checks are popular because they assess criteria such as your job history and any pending or previous felony convictions. In many fire services, employment candidates must pass a routine physical examination. A physician analyzes several areas of your general health, such as vital signs and reflexes, during this sort of checkup.
Drug tests are commonly used to determine the presence of certain drugs in your system. Complete the training program supplied by your new company once you have completed all your subsequent evaluations. Most fire departments send newly recruited firemen to an internal fire school for training. These fire academy training sessions can run up to 24 weeks.
15 Highest Paid Firefighters in California
#1. Vacaville, California
Vacaville is a lovely community in Solano County, Northern California, part of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento Valley. It is most known as the location of the Nut Tree Airport, which displays antique aircraft from the twentieth century, and the Vacaville Premium Outlets shopping mall. The city makes up one of the Highest Paid firefighters in California. Fighters in Vacaville earn an average base pay of $82,836 per year, which is 60% higher than the national average.
#2. Sacramento, California
For firemen, Sacramento is a hidden jewel in the Central Valley. It constitutes one of the Highest Paid firefighters in California. With its breweries and top-rated eateries, the city is becoming increasingly trendy.
The Sacramento Fire Department provides employment opportunities, including benefits, various job assignments, and endless possibilities. Most provide an opportunity that does not confine you to a desk but brings you to the community to meet people and solve real-world problems. You will witness the tangible benefits of your work while developing insurmountable problem-solving abilities.
Sacramento firemen earn an average basic salary of $73,260 per year, which is 41% higher than the national average.
#3. Fremont, California
In support of the Fire Department’s overall mission, Fremont firefighters undertake fire suppression, emergency medical aid, and hazardous materials mitigation duties. Suppression troops are entitled to the following perks as a result of their service to others:
The typical yearly income for firemen in San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont is $97,240, which is in the center of the state’s range. The city offers one of the finest benefits to firefighters: Uniform Allowance of $700 per year, Education Incentive for Associate and Bachelor’s Degrees, and 12 hours of sick leave per month for 56-hour employees.
#4. Hayward, California
The Hayward Fire Department’s mission is to protect lives and property by providing superior fire suppression, and emergency medical services (EMS), which responsible regulatory and educational programs support. The typical yearly income for firemen in Oakland-Fremont-Hayward is $95,220, which is in the center of the state’s range.
In comparison, firemen in Oakland-Fremont-Hayward earn 57.9 percent (57.9 percent) more than those in the lowest-paying El Centro. Hayward makes one of the Highest Paid firefighters in California.
#5. Redwood City, California
Redwood City firefighters will work under the command of the Fire Captain, performing firefighting and fire prevention activities focused on protecting life and property, operating and maintaining firefighting equipment, and providing basic medical treatment. They also offer first responder pre-hospital emergency medical treatment and assistance, handle minor station maintenance, and engage in skill maintenance training.
Firemen in San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City earn an average yearly income of $91,800. They are one of the Top Paid firefighters in California.
#6. Anaheim, California
Anaheim has 11 fire stations to offer fire protection and life safety services to a 50-square-mile geographical region that includes residential, commercial, and wildland interface sectors. In addition to responding to fires and medical emergencies, emergency management and disaster planning, training, community risk reduction, homeland security, urban search and rescue, and hazardous material response are just a few of the crucial tasks that firefighters and paramedics perform in Anaheim.
The typical yearly income for firemen in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim is $83,710, which is the average state wage range. Anaheim makes up one of the Top Paid firefighters in California.
#7. Twenty-nine Palms, California
Firefighters in Twenty Nine Palms may earn $20.00 per hour on average. Officers who serve as supervisors and administrators get bigger wage differentials. Firefighter pay can rise due to fringe perks such as overtime, holidays, and night differentials. It might also include Vacation, insurance, medical, and dental plans. You may be entitled to a pension or disability benefits if wounded during duty. In Twentynine Palms, CA, the average annual income for a fireman is $62,212.
#8. Palmdale, California
Palmdale turns out one of the Highest Paid firefighters in California. It is a fast-growing, open-minded city of people set to become a model for how local government can create an integrated, forward-thinking community rich in possibilities for visitors, companies, and residents. Palmdale’s Fire Department seeks to save lives and safeguard property by focusing on prevention, readiness, education, and response. In Palmdale, CA, the average annual income for a fireman is $61,924, which is 19% more than the national average.
#9. Monterey, California
The Monterey Fire Department has various emergency medical and fire suppression tasks and obligations. This group of committed personnel has the following positions: Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, Division Chiefs, Captains, Engineers, and Firefighters.
The department is a hazard and risk response agency that takes pride in its ability to properly prepare for and respond to a wide range of community crises and requests for assistance. The city has six fire stations in Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel-by-the-Sea. In Monterey, CA, the average annual income for a fireman is $62,055. Monterey constitutes one of the Top Paid firefighters in California.
#10. Norwalk, California
Norwalk was also regarded as a hub for some of southern California’s largest sugar beet fields. It underwent a significant industrial expansion in the second part of the twentieth century. The firemen in Norwalk make up one of California’s highest-paid firefighters. In Norwalk, CA, the average annual income for a fireman is $60,217. This is 16% higher than the national average.
Also read: 10 Most Expensive Guns In The World
#11. Simi Valley, California
Simi Valley, California has four fire departments serving a population of 126,546 people in 42 square miles. There is one fire department for every 31,636 persons and one for every 10 square miles. Simi Valley is 984th of 1798 cities in California in terms of Fire Departments per capita, and 924th in terms of Fire Departments per square mile.
Simi Valley Fire Departments serve the Simi Valley, CA community by providing fire protection and emergency response services to prevent the loss of life and property. In Simi Valley, California, the average annual income for a fireman is $56,764. The firemen in the state are one of the Top Paid firefighters in California.
#12. San Diego, California
The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) protects the city of San Diego, California, and provides emergency medical services. The Department, which answers to about 130,000 calls each year, is the state’s second-largest municipal fire department behind Los Angeles. San Diego makes up one of the Highest Paid firefighters in California. In San Diego, CA, the average annual income for a fireman is $47,452.
The proud members of the Oakland Fire Department dedicate themselves to providing the greatest quality, polite, and timely services to Oakland citizens. To do this, comprehensive strategy and training in emergency preparedness, fire suppression, emergency medical services, risk reduction across the board, and community-based fire services are in place. The average Fire Fighter pay in Oakland, CA is $58,313 with a salary range of $43,736 to $72,893. Oakland firefighters are one of the Top Paid firefighters in California.
#14. Merced, California
The Merced Fire Department (MFD) has a long history of providing committed service to the Merced community, which continues to this day. Since its founding in 1873, the department has served the residents and guests of the City of Merced by offering fire, rescue, and emergency management services.
During the fiscal year 2021, the MFD responded to 11,579 calls for service from five strategically positioned fire stations. The typical yearly pay in Merced is $69,650, which is the center of the salary range for firemen in California.
Since its inception in 1906, the City of Napa Fire Department has proudly served the almost 80,000 citizens of Napa, California. The city has five stations strategically situated across the city to respond rapidly to any emergency. Napa makes up one of the Highest Paid firefighters in California. The typical yearly income in Napa is $67,850.
Frequently asked questions
Firefighters in California make an average of $57,767 per year.
Amarillo, Texas ranks as one of the best cities to be a firefighter.
Fire departments in San Jose, and Sacramento make up the highest paid firefighters in California.
The average base salary for a fire captain in California is $88,837.
The cost of the fire academy in California ranges between $1000 and $9000.
Firefighters make a decent living because they work hard. According to the BLS, firefighters frequently work long hours. Most firemen work 24-hour shifts and then get 48 to 72 hours off. The Highest Paid firefighters have dedicated their careers to serving and protecting the community. Most of them spend several hours in a fire station sleeping, eating, and working on equipment.
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