As rugged as it seems, the job of a firefighter in South Africa is not very easy. However, it becomes especially more hard when the person who is about to enter the field has no idea about the salary range. Knowing the income can really help in making the right decision.
In South Africa, a firefighter earns an average of ZAR 133,241 per month. This is the average salary which can fluctuate on multiple factors, such as certification, experience, etc.
There are many things that a person should take into consideration while applying for the job of a firefighter. The article below discusses all the important aspects of the job as well as the salary of a firefighter. Read the article below to find out all of the details.
Current Firefighters’ Salary in South Africa
The average salary of a firefighter in South Africa is ZAR 133,241 per month which makes their annual earnings around ZAR 1,598,892. Those who are new to the job are offered an entry-level salary of ZAR 28,000 per month. So, their salary per year is approximately ZAR 336,000.
The individuals who have been in this job for many years earn a much h higher amount. Their salary range is ZAR 181,308 per month, which makes ZAR 2,175,696 per year income. If we go back a few years, we will see a huge difference in salary as back in 2021, the average salary of a firefighter was around ZAR 14,700 per month, which makes ZAR 176,400 their annual income.
On the other hand, if we make a quick comparison to the salary of firefighters in the USA, they earn around $82,093 per year, which converts to ZAR 1,577,806. This makes their monthly income approximately $6841 which in South African currency is ZAR 131,482.
However, experienced workers earn around $96,446 per year which makes ZAR 1,853,668, and $8037 per month which converts to ZAR 154,208. Although there is little difference in the salaries in South Africa and the USA, it is not as staggering as many other jobs.
The job of a firefighter is a very critical one, even a small mistake can have disastrous results. Therefore, it is critical to be aware of all of the professional responsibilities of this job.
The first major responsibility is that a firefighter is in charge of immediately responding to emergency calls. From fires to natural disasters and accidents, they need to respond to the person in need immediately and then reach the point of the accident to offer immediate help.
The second responsibility is quite obvious, they are in charge of extinguishing fire. No matter how big or small, they are responsible for putting out the fire using the different methods and techniques that are available at their disposal. They are also responsible for operating and controlling the fire engines and other types of equipment efficiently.
In addition to that, the list of responsibilities of a firefighter also includes rescuing those who are in help. This is not limited to humans, but they are also in charge of helping animals who are in need of rescue. Whether it is a burning vehicle, or a very tall building, bringing the distressed to safety securely is the responsibility of a firefighter.
There are also paramedics among firefighters who have taken extra certifications. They are in charge of offering first-aid to people and animals who are injured and need immediate medical attention. Apart from this, educating individuals about fire safety, prevention, and precautions also falls under the job responsibility of a firefighter.
They are also in charge of maintaining their equipment to ensure there is no faulty equipment in case of emergency. Offering training to the newly recruited firefighters is also a part of the job in South Africa.
What Does The Salary of a Firefighter Depend Upon?
Similar to other professions, the salary of every firefighter across South Africa is not the same. It fluctuates due to the presence or absence of certain factors.
The first major thing that the salary of a firefighter in the country depends upon is the location of the job. The firefighters who work in the urban areas of South Africa and the major cities such as Pretoria, Cape Town, and Johannesburg are likely to get paid a higher salary as compared to those who work in the rural areas.
The second thing that has a direct effect on the salary of a firefighter in South Africa is the work experience of the person. If a person has more than 5 years of experience, and they move to a different department, they will get paid more as compared to those who are new to the job.
The presence of extra certification also plays a role in the final earnings of a firefighter in South Africa. Those who gain extra certificates such as Hazardous materials technician and Paramedic apart from the basic Firefighter I and II will earn higher salaries. On the other hand, those who will join the force with just the basic course of firefighting will get an average salary.
What qualifications do I need to be a firefighter in South Africa?
In order to become a firefighter in South Africa, a person does not need any extensive qualification. A matriculation certificate is needed along with a valid driver’s license, and the person needs to take a firefighter course.
How much does firefighter course cost in South Africa?
There are different types of courses that a firefighter can take and the cost varies for each. However, the obligatory course takes around ZAR 4500 to ZAR 10,000 for a 4-week course.
Are there opportunities for South African firefighters to work abroad and potentially earn higher salaries?
That depends upon the experience level of the firefighter. If they have many years of experience backing them up, then they can find good job opportunities abroad, and earn higher salaries. However, with little to no experience, the chances of finding a handsome salary or even working abroad slim significantly.
How do economic conditions and government funding affect firefighter salaries in South Africa?
Both government funding and economic conditions play a huge role in the salaries of firefighters in South Africa. When the economic condition is better, there are higher chances of salary increase, but when the condition is poor, the chances decrease. Similarly, when the government funds the department generously, the firefighters receive good salaries as well as bonuses.
Are South African firefighters eligible for pension plans or retirement benefits?
Yes, firefighters in South Africa are eligible for pension plans or retirement benefits. The exact plan or benefits depend upon the location or the department, but every firefighter in the country does get access to some form of retirement plan.
Do qualifications impact the salary of a firefighter in South Africa?
No, generally, qualification has no impact on the salary of a firefighter. In order to become a firefighter in South Africa, a person needs a matriculation certificate along with the firefighting course. So, even if they have a higher level of education, their salary will be the same as those that come with a basic matriculation certificate.
Are there opportunities for career advancement that can lead to higher firefighter salaries?
Yes, similar to many other jobs in South Africa, a career in firefighting can also offer advancement to the individual that can lead to higher salaries. They can get promoted to the level of lieutenant, fire captain, station commander, etc. All of these positions have higher salaries than that of an average firefighter.
How long is a firefighting certificate valid in South Africa?
A fire fighting certificate is valid for two years if a person gets it for themselves. The certificate takes one day and costs around ZAR 750.
Are there pay differences for volunteer firefighters compared to full-time, career firefighters?
Yes, there is a major difference between volunteer firefighters as compared to those who have picked this field as a full-time career. The volunteers are not often given a fixed salary, instead, they get medals for their services or a stipend. On the other hand, those who work as full-time firefighters get paid a monthly salary.
Do firefighters receive bonuses or allowances for specific duties or certifications?
Yes, firefighters in South Africa do receive bonuses and allowances for specific duties and certifications apart from their fixed monthly salary. This includes overtime pay, hazardous duty pay, certification allowances, etc.
Many people shy away from the job of a firefighter in South Africa, due to obvious reasons. However, when you find out all of the benefits it offers, especially the average firefighter salary in the country, it will change your mind. The article above has all of the details about the income that will help you make the right decision.