Fire Inspectors: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Because fire inspectors and investigators typically have previous work experience as a firefighter, many have completed a postsecondary educational program for emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Some employers prefer candidates with a 2- or 4-year degree in fire science, engineering, or chemistry. For those candidates interested in becoming forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists, a high school diploma or equivalent typically is required.
Training Required
Training requirements vary by state, but programs usually include instruction in a classroom setting in addition to on-the-job training.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 10% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Many states have certification exams that cover standards established by the National Fire Protection Association. Many states require additional training for inspectors and investigators each year in order for them to maintain their certification.
Median pay: How much do Fire Inspectors make?
$56,130 Annual Salary
$26.98 per hour

Fire inspectors examine buildings in order to detect fire hazards and ensure that federal, state, and local fire codes are met. Fire investigators, another type of worker in this field, determine the origin and cause of fires and explosions. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists assess outdoor fire hazards in public and residential areas.

What do Fire Inspectors do?

Fire inspectors typically do the following:

  • Search for fire hazards
  • Ensure that buildings comply with fire codes
  • Test fire alarms, sprinklers, and other fire protection equipment
  • Inspect fuel storage tanks and air compressors
  • Review emergency evacuation plans
  • Conduct followup visits to make sure that infractions do not recur
  • Review building plans with developers
  • Conduct fire and safety education programs
  • Maintain fire inspection files
  • Administer burn permits and monitor controlled burns

Fire investigators typically do the following:

  • Collect and analyze evidence from scenes of fires and explosions
  • Interview witnesses
  • Reconstruct the scene of a fire or arson
  • Send evidence to laboratories to be tested for fingerprints or accelerants
  • Analyze information with chemists, engineers, and attorneys
  • Document evidence by taking photographs and creating diagrams
  • Determine the origin and cause of a fire
  • Keep detailed records and protect evidence for use in a court of law
  • Testify in civil and criminal legal proceedings
  • Exercise police powers, such as the power of arrest, and carry a weapon

Careers for Fire Inspectors

  • Arson investigators
  • CFEIs
  • Certified fire and explosion investigators
  • Certified fire investigators
  • Certified vehicle fire investigators
  • Environmental protection fire control officers
  • Fire control officers
  • Fire hazard inspectors
  • Fire investigators
  • Fire operations foresters
  • Fire prevention inspectors
  • Fire rangers
  • Fire safety inspectors
  • Forest fire control officers
  • Forest fire inspectors
  • Forest fire officers
  • Wildfire prevention specialists
  • Wildland fire operations specialists

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