1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    North Carolina. United States

    Default Being a FF worth it?

    Alright, I am new to the forums or at least to siging up and posting My question to those of you that are experienced is, is it really worth the massive pay cut to become a Firefighter? I am currently an Explorer and have trained for a year, and love every bit of it.. I am currently a senior in High School and am contemplating becoming a FireFighter next year instead of going to the Pre-Med school that I was excepted to. I would much rather do Firefighting but I am curious as to whether it is worth it and if you can live comfortably on a FireFighter's salary. Thanks!

  2. #2
    SPFDRum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 1999
    St Paul, MN


    Only YOU can honestly answer that question. Step 1 is to be truthful to yourself- is firefighting what you really want to do, not just a passing fancy.
    For me, the pay cut was worth it and I would make the same decision today. It definately wasn't based on money.
    The fact that you have some question on which route is right may suggest some doubt. If that is the case, maybe continuing on with college is the right choice. Hopefully you can continue firefighting by getting on a local vollie company local to the school. Than if it is still a desire, than pursue a career in firefighting.
    No one can take away an education.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
    George Mason
    Co-author of the Second Amendment
    during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
    Elevator Rescue Information

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2004


    Get your college degree completed and you can always fall back on that.

    It is much harder to go back to college when you are raising a family and making just enough to get by on.

    Most Firefighters have side jobs anyway and between the that extra income and maybe the wife working too.............We all do alright !! I would not change professions for double the money because I know everything else would feel like work to me, and being a firefighter , although we do "work" , does not have you watching the clock because you cannot wait for the shift to be over like at so many other occupations.

    The Fire Service provides a satisfying career that gives many rewards , not all of them are monetary.

    To give you an idea ....... I have been in the Fire Service almost 6 years and gross around $48,000 / year from the Dept. I can also work tons on the side and can make upward of an additional $15,000 to $20,000/ year on top of F.D. Salary . My wife works too and we do get by just fine.

    We would "get by" even better had we not decided to buy expensive toys such as a Harley and a $40,000 SUV for the family wagon. ........But that is the American Way .........Spend, Spend , Spend & then run your butt off trying to work as much as you can to pay off the toys !!!!
    Last edited by bonified; 03-19-2004 at 02:33 PM.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    kghemtp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    New Hampshire


    A good friend of mine is pondering the question of paramedic versus PA right now, and your dilemma is rather similar I must say. Now, the thing of it is, what do you really WANT to do with your life? What was the pre-med heading you toward? MD, PA, something else? Well, I don't know if this is ever an option for you, but stay involved with the fire service as much as you can while continuing with your college career, and give the fire service a chance to either win you or deter you from a full-time career when the end of college gives you the choice of specializing medical or focusing on fire. Is there anything preventing you from eventually working full time in the fire service with a 24/72 rotating schedule & then fitting in some kind of flexible shift work as a PA? Otherwise, you can certainly finish the medical degree in whatever you want & still be on a call department somewhere making another $5-10k by responding to everything on your days off. Try not to let money be your deciding factor, because you'd get into something you eventually aren't happy with. Do this job because you love it, and realize that your love of the profession will make the ends meet. Good luck!
    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
    Dennis Miller

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    salem, va usa

    Default Education First

    From experience, I am currently a senior in college, graduating in just a month and a half. Get your education. It will definately help in the long run. Plus, if you go to a college with a local vollie company, join that department. That will be your determining factor to show you if it is really what you want. I never planned on being a career firefighter until coming to college, getting on the local department and learning how it is probably the best job in the world. I'm currently in the application process with 5 different cities. You'll definately discover your passions if you can balance school, work, and volunteer work. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2004


    To me being happy is more important than making a lot of money. Getting up and actually wanting to go to work means a lot.

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