Lieutenant firefighter's organize and command strategies during fire emergencies, in addition to overseeing some administrative and supervisory tasks for fire departments, including training and public relations. While ranks vary from department to department, lieutenants are customarily posted in a junior leadership position below higher-ranking officers such as captains and chiefs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies lieutenants as "First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting."
According to May 2010 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, first-line supervisors of firefighters earn an annual salary of $71,890. This equates to an hourly rate of $34.56. Lieutenants in the occupation's lowest earnings percentile, such as those in smaller departments or with less experience, average an hourly rate of $19.93 per hour, or $41,450 per year. First-line firefighter supervisors at the top of the position's earning percentile, such as those for larger departments with tenure and extensive supervisory experience, average as much as $111,120 per year, or $53.42 per hour according to BLS statistics.
Industry Salary Comparison
Lieutenant firefighters for municipal governments lead all others in terms of annual mean wage, according to BLS data. Their annual salary is $72,920, equating to an hourly rate of $35.06 per hour. Lieutenants employed by the federal government earn $66,960 per year, or $32.19 followed by state-employed lieutenant firefighters at $27.97 per hour and $58,180 annually. Municipal fire departments employ more lieutenant firefighters than any other branch of government.
Salary By State
First-line supervisors of firefighters earn more in New Jersey than in any other U.S. state. Lieutenants in that state earn $49.52 per hour, equating to an annual rate of $103,010. Firefighter lieutenants in the Chicago metropolitan area lead all other U.S. cities in earnings with an hourly wage of $49.78 per hour, which amounts to an annual salary of $103,540. States offering first-line fire department supervisors less than $53,000 per year include Louisiana, Mississippi and Maine.
Relevant Background and Skills
Firefighter lieutenants are customarily required to posses an associate's or bachelor's degree in fire science technology or emergency medical service. Since lieutenants are usually drafted from lower ranks of fire departments, experience in fire emergencies is often desired. In addition to knowledge of firefighting techniques and safety practices, lieutenants must also posses the ability to communicate effectively in a disciplined manner with their peers, placing interpersonal communication and team leadership skills at high priority.