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Average Salary
$60,514
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
5,328
Job Openings

Fire Prevention Specialist Careers

What Does a Fire Prevention Specialist 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.

Duties

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 gasoline 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 that may be used in a court of law
  • 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

Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists assess fire hazards in both public and residential areas. They look for fire code infractions and for conditions that pose a wildfire risk. They also recommend ways to reduce fire hazards. During patrols, they enforce fire regulations and report fire conditions to their central command center.

How To Become a Fire Prevention Specialist

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
$60,514
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
5,328
Job Openings

Average Salary for a Fire Prevention Specialist

Fire Prevention Specialists in America make an average salary of $60,514 per year or $29 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $76,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $48,000 per year.
Average Salary
$60,514
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Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Fire Prevention Specialist/Fire Inspector
Fire Prevention Specialist/Fire Inspector
Minnesota City Jobs
Minnesota City Jobs
07/31/2020
07/31/2020
$64,32107/31/2020
$64,321
Fire Prevention Specialist I/II
Fire Prevention Specialist I/II
City of Escondido
City of Escondido
07/14/2020
07/14/2020
$62,50807/14/2020
$62,508
Fire Prevention Specialist
Fire Prevention Specialist
Village of Skokie
Village of Skokie
08/05/2019
08/05/2019
$67,44408/05/2019
$67,444
Fire Prevention Specialist
Fire Prevention Specialist
City of Roanoke
City of Roanoke
07/27/2019
07/27/2019
$40,26407/27/2019
$40,264
Fire Prevention Specialist
Fire Prevention Specialist
City of Carlsbad
City of Carlsbad
07/15/2019
07/15/2019
$64,84807/15/2019
$64,848

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Fire Prevention Specialist Demographics

Gender

male

80.2 %

female

15.3 %

unknown

4.6 %

Ethnicity

White

77.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

10.6 %

Black or African American

7.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Carrier

50.0 %

Spanish

50.0 %
See More Demographics

Fire Prevention Specialist Education

Majors

Business
14.9 %

Degrees

Bachelors

33.8 %

Associate

28.6 %

Certificate

23.4 %

Top Colleges for Fire Prevention Specialists

1. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA • Private

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

2. University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Lincoln, NE • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,242
Enrollment
20,592

3. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

4. Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green, OH • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,105
Enrollment
13,729

5. The University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Knoxville, TN • Private

In-State Tuition
$13,006
Enrollment
22,653

6. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

7. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407

8. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

9. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

10. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Fire Prevention Specialist That You May Like

Fire Safety and Prevention Planning
udemy
4.3
(804)

Become an expert in understanding "Fire Safety" and "Prevention Planning" for your workplaces and organizations...

The Effect of Fires on People, Property and the Environment
coursera

Fires impact people, property and the environment in all countries around the world. In some cases, the resulting losses are extraordinary, causing hundreds of deaths, widespread damage to property and contents and significant impacts on the environment. More often, fires may cause a single casualty or affect a single home, though the effects are still highly significant to those affected and collectively are substantial. This course will provide an overview of the challenges posed by fire as we...

Fired Up About Energy (Grades K-12)
edX (Global)

This online workshop: “Fired up about Energy ” is based on ideas presented in Good Thinking! an original animated series developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) and FableVision Studios as a professional development resource for K-12 science educators. In this workshop, we’ll analyze a video in which Ms. Reyes is introducing her students to the concept of energy. Energy is a very important concept in science. The NGSS K-12 Science Framework identifies Energy as one of major...

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Top Skills For a Fire Prevention Specialist

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, 17.1% of fire prevention specialists listed fire prevention on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and physical strength are important as well.

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Top Fire Prevention Specialist Employers

1. ITT
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$47,133
Fire Prevention Specialists Hired: 
10+
2. Lockheed Martin
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$74,008
Fire Prevention Specialists Hired: 
5+
3. United States Army
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$52,866
Fire Prevention Specialists Hired: 
3+
4. Acadian Ambulance
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$41,041
Fire Prevention Specialists Hired: 
3+
5. Boeing
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$75,650
Fire Prevention Specialists Hired: 
3+
6. Bay Bancorp
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$53,788
Fire Prevention Specialists Hired: 
2+
Updated October 2, 2020