Who are America's superheroes? They are the men and women who show up when you dial 911; the ones who swore an oath to serve their country. They use their special skills and training to rescue us, fight crime and keep us safe. We appreciate them, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their superhuman acts of courage are only marginally rewarded. Most superheroes are government employees, but some are actually volunteers. Here is a list of superheroes and the salaries they earn.

IN PICTURES: 6 Hot Careers With Lots Of Jobs

State and Local Law Enforcement Officers
We depend on police officers to enforce the laws, prevent crime, solve criminal cases, chase down criminals and generally make us feel safe. Police officers serve in dangerous capacities including local beat officers, Highway Patrol officers, and Sheriff's Deputies. Work schedules can be long and often stressful. They also spend a lot of time documenting their work.

State and local law enforcement organizations require new recruits to have some college training. The demand for law enforcement workers is growing, but the economic downturn crippled state and local municipalities. Federal grants supplement budget deficits, but many police departments resorted to salary freezes and even layoffs.

  • The national average salary for police officers is $55,180.
  • Detectives and other investigators average $65,860.
  • Supervisors and managers make $78,580

Federal Law Enforcement Agents
The federal government employs law enforcement personnel in several different agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Agency and others. Federal agents have strict selection requirements. They make a decent salary, but travel often and work long hours.

As federal employees, agents are paid on the general services (GS) pay scale. For example, new FBI agents start at GS 10, $43,441. Law enforcement officers also receive a local market supplement (LMS), so salaries vary depending on location. Federal agents can earn Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) for overtime on top of their base salary and LMS; it can be up to 25% of their earnings. (Looking for a job? Check out 5 Sectors Hiring Now.)

As first responders, firefighters are on the scene for many different emergencies whether it's a blazing building, a mangled automobile accident or a kitten stuck in a drain pipe.

The brave men and women who fight fires are mostly employed by local municipalities. Fire departments have an intensive selection process and training program. In an effort to recruit local citizens, some towns offer other incentives such as reduced property taxes on homes purchased within the municipality's jurisdiction.

Many state and local fire departments have felt the sting of the recession. Though the need for firefighters is expected to increase, local revenues are down, forcing budget cuts and freezing salaries.

  • National verage salary: $47,270
  • Supervisors and managers earn an average of: $71,680

Some communities utilize volunteer firefighters. Firefighters also earn overtime pay, paid vacations and holidays. Many communities offer pensions and healthcare benefits. Unions offer members insurance and other benefits

Military Personnel
The jobs carried out by military personnel are varied from administrative work to combat, construction and managerial duties. Extensive training and dedication to service provide a network of services both domestically and abroad. Each unit of the military provides its own set of qualifications, but in general officers require college training and make more than enlisted personnel.

The base salary pay range depends on rank and length of service. Enlisted personnel make from $1300.00 a month to $62,222 per year. Officers earn $31,864 to $176,263. In addition to base pay, military personnel receive free room and board or a tax-free living allowance, free health and dental care, paid vacations, and special foreign duty allowances. Veterans of the military continue to receive medical care, are eligible for special tax incentives and education incentives.

Fish and Game Wardens
For hunters, fishermen, hikers, and other nature enthusiasts, fish and game wardens enforce laws and provide rescue services. They often cover large expanses of land or water and sometimes work in harsh weather conditions. Most are employed by state government or federal agencies to patrol publicly owned property. (For more, see 6 Surprisingly Dangerous Jobs.)

Fish and game wardens' average salary is $54,950.

Paramedics and EMT
Americans rely on emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics to provide emergency medical care. In trauma situations, they know the how to save your life and the quickest route to the hospital in rush hour traffic. They are either part of the local fire department or ambulance service. Most paramedics are employed by local municipalities. Some hospital healthcare systems operate their own ambulance services and some local governments outsource to private ambulance services.

Paramedics earn an average salary of $33,020.

The Bottom Line
Folks who run toward danger are a special breed. The country depends on their courage and service every day. They may not get rich but their dedication to their jobs is greatly appreciated. (For more, see America's 10 Most Dangerous Jobs.)

Catch up on the latest financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: More Spilled Oil, Fewer Jobs.

Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    Payroll Taxes: Picking Apart Your Paycheck

    Here's what gets deducted from your pay, what your employer pays and where your payroll taxes actually end up.
  2. Professionals

    Career Advice: Investment Banking Vs. Law

    Learn some of the most important differences between a career in investment banking and law, and figure out which career suits you better.
  3. Personal Finance

    How Salary Experts Evaluate Stay-at-Home Moms

    Thinking about staying home with your little ones? Computing the replacement cost of your domestic duties can help you make a more informed decision.
  4. Professionals

    Career Advice: Accounting Vs. Law

    Identify the key differences between working in accounting and working in law. Understand which specific skills make you better-suited for each career.
  5. Professionals

    These College Majors Often Lead to Big Salaries

    The benefits of a college degree are substantial, especially if you pick (and stick with) one of the nation's highest-paying majors.
  6. Professionals

    Want to Be High-Earner? Avoid these College Majors

    Why these college majors might offer a poor chance of paying off those student loans sooner rather than later.
  7. Personal Finance

    How to Job Search While You're Still Employed

    The best time to look for a new job is when you already have one.
  8. Active Trading

    The 5 Biggest Canadian Law Firms

    Obtain company information about some of the largest major legal firms that are headquartered and have principal operations in Canada.
  9. Entrepreneurship

    Top 10 Side Jobs You Could Start Now

    Ways to make extra cash in your spare time.
  10. Retirement

    Why are 401(k) contributions limited?

    Find out why contributions to 401(k) retirement plans are limited, including what the current contribution limits are and how limits encourage participation.
  1. Does working capital include salaries?

    A company accrues unpaid salaries on its balance sheet as part of accounts payable, which is a current liability account, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do financial advisors need to meet quotas?

    Most financial advisors are required to meet quotas, particularly if they work for firms that pay base salaries or draws ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between AGI (adjusted gross income) and gross income?

    In the United States, individuals pay taxes based on their adjusted gross income, or AGI, rather than their gross income. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How is marginal propensity to save calculated?

    Marginal propensity to save is used in Keynesian macroeconomics to quantify the relationship between changes in income and ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can minimum wages contribute to a market failure?

    The minimum wage acts like a price floor on labor, reducing the supply of jobs available to a level below the market-clearing ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does the always be closing (ABC) strategy benefit a salesperson's sales funnel?

    It is good practice in sales to always be closing, because it's common for a salesperson's sales funnel to be leaky. When ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  2. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  3. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  4. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  5. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  6. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!