What is a Fire Inspector

As a Fire Inspector, you will conduct inspections of structures and other establishments to ensure no fire safety protocols are being violated. You also need to check if these establishments comply with the fire codes and laws. You will travel a lot as a Fire Inspector and deal with a lot of documents.

Being a Fire Inspector is no easy task. You need to have specific traits and skills to do your job well. For instance, you need to be detail-oriented to commit little to no mistakes because many things will be affected if you're not careful. Next, you need to have excellent physical strength. You will lift, move, and carry objects as a Fire Inspector, so you need to be able to do those things. Lastly, communication skills are essential in this job. You need to know how to efficiently communicate with the people you're working with at all times.

You can earn around $49,979 on average per year as a Fire Inspector. There is also a job growth rate of 8%, so you know that this job will always be in demand. You can take on other roles as you learn more in this role. Starting as a Fire Inspector, you can be a Fire Chief, a Chief of Operations, a Director, and a Director of Facilities.

What Does a Fire Inspector Do

Fire inspectors examine buildings to detect fire hazards and ensure that federal, state, and local fire codes are met. Fire investigators determine the origin and cause of fires and explosions.

Learn more about what a Fire Inspector does

How To Become a Fire Inspector

Fire inspectors and investigators typically have previous work experience as a firefighter or police officer, where many have completed a postsecondary educational program for emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent.

Workers attend training academies and receive on-the-job training in inspection and investigation.

Fire inspectors and investigators usually must pass a background check, which may include a drug test. Most employers also require inspectors and investigators to have a valid driver’s license, and investigators usually need to be U.S. citizens because of their police powers.   

Education

Because fire inspectors and investigators typically have previous work experience as a firefighter or police officer, 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 education is typically required.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Most fire inspectors and investigators are required to have work experience in a related occupation, such as firefighters or police officers. Some fire departments or law enforcement agencies require investigators to have a certain number of years within the organization or to be a certain rank, such as lieutenant or captain, before they are eligible for promotion to an inspector or investigator position. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists also may need experience working in the fire service before being hired.

Training

Training requirements vary by state, but programs usually include instruction in a classroom setting in addition to on-the-job training.

Classroom training often takes place at a fire or police academy over the course of several months. A variety of topics are covered, including guidelines for conducting an inspection or investigation, legal codes, courtroom procedures, protocols for handling hazardous and explosive materials, and the proper use of equipment.

In most agencies, after inspectors and investigators have finished their classroom training, they also receive on-the-job training, during which they work with a more experienced officer.

Employers, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and organizations, such as the National Fire Academy and the International Association of Arson Investigators, offer training programs in fire investigation.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

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.

The National Fire Protection Association also offers several certifications, such as Certified Fire Inspector and Certified Fire Protection Specialist, for fire inspectors. Some jobs in the private sector require that job candidates already have these certifications.

In addition, fire investigators may choose to pursue certification from a nationally recognized professional association, such as the Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) certification from the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) or the Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) certification from the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI). The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) also offers a CFI certification, although the program is available only to ATF employees. The process of obtaining certification can teach new skills and demonstrate competency.

Fire investigators who work for private companies may have to obtain a private investigator license from their state.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Fire inspectors must clearly explain fire code violations to building and property managers. They must carefully interview witnesses as part of their factfinding mission. 

Critical-thinking skills. Fire inspectors must be able to recognize code violations and recommend a way to fix the problem. They must be able to analyze evidence from a fire and come to a reasonable conclusion.

Detail oriented. Fire inspectors must notice details when inspecting a site for code violations or investigating the cause of a fire.

Integrity. Fire inspectors must be consistent in the methods they use to enforce fire codes. They must be unbiased when conducting their research and when testifying as an expert witness in court.

Physical strength. Fire inspectors may have to move debris at the site of a fire in order to get a more accurate understanding of the scene.

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Average Salary
$49,979
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
20,088
Job Openings
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Average Salary for a Fire Inspector

Fire Inspectors in America make an average salary of $49,979 per year or $24 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $71,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Salary
$49,979
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Fire Inspector Demographics

Fire Inspector Gender Statistics

male

88.0 %

female

8.7 %

unknown

3.3 %

Fire Inspector Ethnicity Statistics

White

71.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

16.9 %

Black or African American

7.5 %

Fire Inspector Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

90.5 %

Russian

4.8 %

Swedish

4.8 %
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Fire Inspector Education

Fire Inspector Majors

13.3 %

Fire Inspector Degrees

Associate

37.3 %

Bachelors

32.4 %

High School Diploma

18.2 %

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None
High School / GED
Associate
Bachelor's
Master's
Doctorate

Top Colleges for Fire Inspectors

1. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,816
Enrollment
21,047

2. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564

3. Providence College

Providence, RI • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,528
Enrollment
4,079

4. John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,270
Enrollment
12,852

5. California State University - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,749
Enrollment
24,163

6. Worldwide Campus

Daytona Beach, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,360
Enrollment
10,254

7. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$35,814
Enrollment
5,925

8. Vermont Technical College

Randolph, VT • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,108
Enrollment
1,350

9. Lewis University

Romeoville, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$32,450
Enrollment
4,217

10. Saint Thomas University

Miami Gardens, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$31,830
Enrollment
986
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Fire Safety: Become A Fire Safety Expert
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Become an expert in Fire Safety, Fire Hazards Control, Fire Evacuation Plans, and Fire Risk Assessment...

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Fire has been a fickle companion to human societies and has acted as friend and foe throughout history arousing feelings of warmth and comfort and dread in equal measure. Fire Safety Engineering (FSE) is a broad multi-disciplinary field and often must deal with competing demands such as balancing sustainability concerns against safety. This course is designed to provide a gentle and fun introduction to the fundamentals of this complex field. The nature of fire and the scientific principles...

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Top Skills For a Fire Inspector

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 20.4% of Fire Inspectors listed Customer Service on their resume, but soft skills such as Detail oriented and Physical strength are important as well.

12 Fire Inspector RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Fire Inspector

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Fire Inspector. The best states for people in this position are California, Nevada, Connecticut, and Oregon. Fire Inspectors make the most in California with an average salary of $62,226. Whereas in Nevada and Connecticut, they would average $61,556 and $60,983, respectively. While Fire Inspectors would only make an average of $60,513 in Oregon, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Nevada

Total Fire Inspector Jobs:
108
Highest 10% Earn:
$92,000
Location Quotient:
1.51
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Oregon

Total Fire Inspector Jobs:
152
Highest 10% Earn:
$88,000
Location Quotient:
1.07
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Utah

Total Fire Inspector Jobs:
193
Highest 10% Earn:
$80,000
Location Quotient:
1.76
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Fire Inspectors

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Top Fire Inspector Employers

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Fire Inspector SalaryAverage Salary
1$76,702
2$57,166
3$56,593
4$49,979
5$49,979
6$49,979