Washington is home to approximately 8,000 firefighters who work out of many fire stations and departments to protect residents, land, and property from fire loss, damage, and injury. These professionals are responsible for not only fighting fires in mountain ranges, cities, and rural towns, they also work in indoor settings like hospitals to keep the state safe. They also work hard to investigate fires and devise new ways of preventing them from happening again, and medically treat patients on any fire scene as needed.

The yearly earnings for firefighters in Washington vary depending on a variety of factors, such as education, length of service, and continued training. See below to get an idea what a firefighter, fire inspector and investigator, or fire service supervisor in Washington might make on average at the entry, median, and advanced levels.

Washington Fire Service Careers 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Firefighters $22,990 $69,140 $92,230
Fire Inspectors and Investigators $52,370 $79,090 $113,830
Fire Service Supervisors $26,690 $41,720 $74,220


While a college degree is not mandatory to become an entry-level firefighter, it is highly recommended these days for students who want to thrive in the field and have room for growth and promotion after years of experience.

For those just starting out, it’s important to know that every firefighter out there must first pass a series of written and physical exams before working. This is because it’s critical for these professionals to be well-versed in what they have to do in any high-stress emergency situation. Additionally, they have to be physically fit in order to perform many of the strenuous duties of a firefighter.

Still interested in becoming a firefighter? You can begin your career by pursuing either a certificate or associate degree in fire science. The certificate level generally takes around a year to complete, while the associate degree takes an average of two years of full-time study to finish. Both these levels cover the fundamentals of fire science. Students will be exposed to topics such as history of fire science, fire chemistry, hazardous materials handling, fire investigation, and more. Associate degree students will also be required to take some general education and elective courses to graduate.

Current firefighters looking to advance their career can look into going back to school and earning their bachelor’s or master’s degree in fire science. At these levels, students will delve in a bit deeper on various topics relating to fire science, and also be given the opportunity to pick a specialization in the field within the fire science profession, such as arson investigation or emergency medical services. Students will not only grasp the basics, they’ll also get the “big picture” perspective, which is ideal for those wishing to eventually pick up administrative, supervisory, or managerial roles in the field.


Washington is home to a plethora of colleges where students can earn their fire science degree. Check out the below list of schools in the state that offer fire science education programs.


Busy students in Washington may consider online degree programs, which give them an opportunity to earn their degree in fire science online while attending to their personal obligations. Earning a degree online gives students the flexibility to craft their own schedule and study at their own pace, in their own place with reliable Internet connection.

Students taking online classes are responsible for participating in class by virtually attending lectures (usually video lectures posted by professor on a program like Blackboard), engaging in class discussions with other peers and professors online, and submitting assignments via email, for example. Strong time management skills, the ability to work well independently, and a drive to succeed is vital for anyone who wants to thrive in an online learning environment.

In addition to completing coursework online toward a degree, students are also highly encouraged to either volunteer or intern for their local fire department to gain the required hands-on experience expected of a firefighter.