Career Profile: Fire Chief
Fire Chiefs interact with various levels of local government and oversee the fire department under their jurisdiction which includes training, supervision, and budgeting.
What do Fire Chiefs Do?
Fire Chiefs are responsible for setting the policies in their department based upon the local laws and ordinances. They are automatically the commanding officer on any fire scene in their jurisdiction. Chiefs have the final say on training in the department and typically develop a training regimen with their training officers. They also develop and implement annual budgets. They tend to go between issues with the local fire union and the municipality.
Fire Chiefs are typically scheduled Monday through Friday, though they are on call for major emergencies.
Fire Chief Salary:
The average annual salary for a Fire Chief in the United States is $75,083.
20 years ago, it was common for a Fire Chief to not to have a college degree, however, times have changed. The minimum degree today is typically an Associates, although many departments require a Bachelor’s degree. For firefighters who have aspirations to become a leading candidate for the Chief position outside of their own department, a Master’s Degree, such as a Master’s in Public Administration is often the chosen route.
Check out these MPA Specializations:
A school wants to have a partnership with the local fire department. They offer a discount on tuition to the fire fighters if the Chief signs the agreement. The Chief reviews the agreement with the town administrator to ensure the agreement is in step with local policy. He also wants to make sure that there is no conflict of interest since he is also interested in earning his Master of Public Administration with a Fire and Emergency Services concentration from the school so that he can teach at the university level.