How Much Money Does a Lieutenant Firefighter Make?

A lieutenant firefighter splits his responsibilities between his desk and field work.

Lieutenant firefighters earn their living combing desk duties, such as filing reports regarding the suspected cause of a fire, with practical real-life rescue situations. As the first rank on the management ladder for firefighters, the lieutenant still responds with the fire truck when an urgent call to save life and property comes his way.

Average Salary

The average salary of a lieutenant firefighter is $71,890, according to a May 2010 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the report, the annual median salary was $68,240, with the middle fifty percent earning between $53,360 and $88,260. The top ten percent earned over $111,120.

Top Five Paying States

New Jersey tops the list of states with the highest average pay for a lieutenant firefighter as reported by the bureau, with an average annual salary of $103,010. Second on the list is California, with lieutenant firefighters earning an average wage of $95,400. Illinois ranked third, with an annual pay for lieutenants of $94,580. New York ranked fourth by compensating its lieutenant firefighters with an average salary of $88,490. Rounding out the list was Washington, with lieutenant firefighters earning an average $88,070 per year.


At the scene of a fire, lieutenants are directly responsible for his sublieutenants, from directing them in the rescue of people trapped in a burning structure to coordinating the extinguishing of a blaze. The lieutenant may make schedules and is often responsible for reviewing firefighters' abilities and job effectiveness.

Employment Outlook

Job growth for lieutenant firefighters is expected to grow by 13 percent during the ten-year period between 2008 and 2018, according to the Occupational Information Network. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the need for all firefighters will grow by 19 percent during the same period. Despite the predicted growth, the bureau indicates competition for firefighter jobs will continue to be fierce, as there are more people trying to become firefighters than there are available positions.