Fire service professionals in New York serve at public, private, and emergency rescue organizations in the state. New York City alone hires over 30,000 emergency responders to serve their residents. Firefighters in the state also work for farm service districts, harbors, and wildland fire organizations. New York is home to more than 1,600 fire stations.

The higher cost of living plays a huge part in firefighters’ annual salaries, but also will depend on education and experience. The chart below summarizes the average yearly earnings of firefighters, fire inspectors and investigators, and fire service supervisors in New York at the entry, median, and advanced levels.

New York Fire Service Careers 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Firefighters $49,550 $79,260 $92,860
Fire Inspectors and Investigators $40,360 $57,440 $89,380
Fire Service Supervisors $34,320 $54,840 $86,210


New York is home to many academic institutions that offer fire science courses. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees in fire science can be earned at great schools such as SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, CUNY, and Mercy College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Many of these colleges also have specialties within the fire science field. For example, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry focuses on firefighting techniques and tactics in outdoor environments, specifically forests. However, they also teach firefighting on a more general level as well.

High school graduates wishing to get a general foundation of fire science will benefit from starting off at the associate level. Associate degrees take two years of full-time study to complete, and will give students a solid overview of what firefighting entails, the different techniques involved, and the equipment used at work, for example.

Current working firefighters wanting to move up the ladder may consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree. This degree usually takes four years of full-time learning, and will allow students to not only learn the basics of firefighting, but also learn about more specialized fields (i.e. arson investigation, fire inspection, technology, engineering) within the industry that will allow them to take on managerial or supervisory roles upon graduation. Students at both the associate and bachelor’s level will be required to also take general education classes like math, English, and history to acquire strong communication and reasoning skills required for any work environment.


New York has several academic institutions that provide fire science training. Students can also get specialized training that will prepare them for work in criminal justice agencies and public and private security sectors.


Some New York colleges and universities offer distance learning classes to allow busy students to study at their own pace, in their own place. Most of these classes are hybrid, meaning that students will learn a majority of the material on their own at their schedule; however, students will still be expected to meet on-campus to complete some projects and tasks in-person to gain the hands-on experience required as a firefighter.

Online learning is a great option for students looking to complete general education and elective classes. More often than not, these classes do not require students to complete any hands-on projects, so the material can be learned entirely online. Some elective classes include math, fine arts, language, and history, to name a few. They do not have anything to do with firefighting directly, but are designed to give students a well-rounded education prior to graduation.