Firefighter salary and earnings in South Africa (2024)

Firefighter salary and earnings in South Africa (2024)

Becoming a firefighter is a noble profession. Although it is not as glamorous as it is portrayed in film, it is still a fulfilling career that pays substantially. How much do firefighters get paid in South Africa? Here, we discuss the standard income for a firefighter in South Africa, the level of experience you can achieve, and the academic requirements.

What is a firefighter?
A firefighter works to keep the community safe from hazardous fires or other risks to public safety. Photo: Ken Redding and Michele Westmorland (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images


There are various benefits to becoming a firefighter besides the substantial pay and morally fulfilling aspect of saving lives. The job requires you to always stay on your toes and be mentally and physically sharp. The environment also teaches you discipline and how to be a team player.

Although the profession pays reasonably, some variations determine your income, with your experience level determining how much your monthly salary will be. What is the average firefighter salary per month?

Firefighter salary in South Africa

How much do firefighters earn in South Africa? Online reports vary drastically, making it difficult to conclude. According to Indeed's website, the average monthly firefighter salary in South Africa is R16,560.

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Indeed reported that Johannesburg is the province with the highest firefighter income, followed by Cape Town and Durban. The average firefighter salary near Johannesburg is R18,559 monthly, while the average firefighter salary near Cape Town is R15,252 monthly. Durban's average monthly firefighter salary is R14,113.

Other sources

However, various online sources report the value as much higher. SASSA Loans reported that the average firefighter salary is R133,241 monthly, depending on experience, with an annual earning of R1,598,892. The entry-level income is reported as R28,000.

Payscale has reported the value as R181,940, and has reported an average firefighter income of R1,230,408 per year or R631 per hour. reported a value of R3,399 and R12,012 monthly as of 2024, while Aarcadia Finance reported a value between R8,000 and R15,000 monthly.

What firefighter jobs pay the most?

Since firefighting is a public duty job, the income is not dependent on whether the job is in the public or private sector, as it is not applicable. The varying government firefighter salary mentioned above is the most common income and depends on the experience level.

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A beginner Transnet firefighter's salary may be R336,000 annually. Photo: Trevor Williams (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

What is the lowest salary for a firefighter?

The lowest salary for a firefighter would be for those just starting in the profession. As mentioned earlier, the income values vary. However, reports that entry-level positions for a standard municipal firefighter salary in South Africa may begin at R336,000 annually, while those more experienced can make up to R2,175,696 annually.

Firefighter requirements in South Africa

According to EMCARE's website, the following requirements are needed to join the profession:

  • Applicants must be 18 years or older.
  • Applicants are required to have a minimum academic level of a matric level pass.
  • Applicants are required to have a valid driver's licence.
  • A physical test must be passed, establishing your ability to fulfil your firefighting responsibilities (the rest is subject to change, depending on where applicants will be placed.)

Apart from the above requirements, applicants cannot have acrophobia, which means an intense fear of heights. Applicants are expected to fulfil adequate training.

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What subjects are needed to become a firefighter?

Becoming a firefighter in South Africa does not require tertiary or formal further education, and personal and physical qualities are considered the most essential. However, you must have obtained a matric certificate, with Mathematics and Physical Science considered a significant bonus.

How much does it cost to become a firefighter in South Africa?

According to a post on LinkedIn, Cranes Training offers a four-week course to become a firefighter at R4,500. You are given a certificate once you have completed your training and are required to bring the following:

  • A copy of your ID or passport
  • Two ID passport photos
  • A blanket and a change of clothing
  • Money for food or a packed lunch
  • A safety kit
firefighter salary in Cape Town
The average firefighter salary in Cape Town is R15,252, and the average in Johannesburg is R18,559. Photo: Maskot (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

What the occupation entails

The profession does not only require you to attend to fire-related emergencies. Here are the various instances where firefighter services may be necessary, according to EMCARE:

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  • Attending to emergencies
  • Locating and refusing people and animals from life-threatening fires
  • Inspecting any damaged buildings following a fire
  • Participating in fitness training is essential for the job
  • Driving the fire truck or any other emergency vehicle
  • Ensuring all emergency equipment is in top condition and readily available
  • Investigating the cause of a fire for potential arson or other crimes

Although you cannot work in the private sector, you can achieve varying levels of success in the profession. All firefighters begin as juniors and become seniors with experience. You can become a leading firefighter or station officer, depending on your work ethic and determination. These potential promotions incentivise firefighters to work towards a higher title and income.

The average firefighter salary in South Africa is reported differently. However, job websites like Indeed may be reliable as these platforms constantly deal with job offerings and have some insight regarding the general salary expectation.

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DISCLAIMER: This article is not sponsored by any third party. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions. Any action you take based on the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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