Firefighters, paramedics, and nurses save and protect people's lives every day.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics program offers data on employment and wages across different occupations and industries.AdvertisementWe took a look at the average annual salaries, as reported by the BLS, for 19 medical and protective-service roles where saving lives is a part of the job.
Lifeguards tend to make a relatively low annual salary, while firefighters and police officers are well compensated on average. Surgeons are very highly paid.
Here are those occupations, ranked from lowest to highest average salary as of May 2018, the most recent period for which BLS data is available:
19. Lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers earn an average of $24,420 a year.
18. Ambulance drivers and attendants (except EMTs) earn an average of $29,010 a year.
17. Crossing guards earn an average of $31,970 a year.
16. Security guards earn an average of $32,050 a year.
15. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics earn an average of $37,760 a year.
14. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental-health counselors earn an average of $47,920 a year.
13. Forest-fire inspectors and prevention specialists earn an average of $49,610 a year.
12. Firefighters earn an average of $53,240 a year.
11. Fire inspectors and investigators earn an average of $64,140 a year.
10. Police and sheriff's patrol officers earn an average of $65,400 a year.
9. Transit and railroad police earn an average of $74,450 a year.
8. Registered nurses earn an average of $75,510 a year.
7. Epidemiologists earn an average of $75,690 a year.
6. First-line supervisors of fire-fighting and prevention workers earn an average of $80,310 a year.
5. Emergency management directors earn an average of $82,570.
4. Detectives and criminal investigators earn an average of $85,020 a year.
3. First-line supervisors of police and detectives earn an average of $93,100 a year.
2. Air-traffic controllers earn an average of $120,830 a year.