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Become A Prevention Specialist

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Working As A Prevention Specialist

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • $63,000

    Average Salary

What Does A 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.

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How To Become A 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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Prevention Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

60.4%

Male

28.8%

Unknown

10.8%
Ethnicity

White

61.4%

Hispanic or Latino

17.7%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

75.7%

French

5.8%

Portuguese

3.4%

German

2.9%

Italian

1.9%

Korean

1.5%

Russian

1.0%

Hindi

1.0%

Urdu

1.0%

Arabic

1.0%

Swedish

0.5%

Hawaiian

0.5%

Vietnamese

0.5%

Bosnian

0.5%

Hebrew

0.5%

Japanese

0.5%

Cherokee

0.5%

Czech

0.5%

Dakota

0.5%

Polish

0.5%
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Prevention Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.6%

Walden University

7.8%

Capella University

7.3%

Liberty University

6.3%

Grand Canyon University

5.5%

Webster University

5.1%

Arizona State University

5.0%

Florida State University

4.7%

University of North Texas

3.8%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.8%

Texas A&M University

3.8%

University of Arizona

3.7%

University of South Florida

3.5%

University of Akron

3.3%

Troy University

3.3%

Texas State University

3.3%

Western Michigan University

3.2%

Ashford University

3.0%

University of Utah

3.0%

New Mexico State University

3.0%
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Majors

Social Work

14.6%

Psychology

12.0%

Business

11.7%

Criminal Justice

9.1%

School Counseling

5.6%

Education

4.7%

Human Services

4.7%

Sociology

4.6%

Counseling Psychology

4.5%

Public Health

4.3%

Mental Health Counseling

3.3%

Nursing

2.9%

Communication

2.8%

Health Education

2.6%

Elementary Education

2.6%

Public Administration

2.2%

Human Development

2.0%

Management

2.0%

Public Relations

1.9%

Educational Leadership

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.8%

Masters

34.6%

Other

13.7%

Associate

6.3%

Certificate

3.1%

Doctorate

2.7%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$63,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$33,000
Min 10%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$120,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Arlington County
Highest Paying City
Madison, WI
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.4 years
How much does a Prevention Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Prevention Specialist in the United States is $63,946 per year or $31 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $33,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $120,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Prevention Specialist?

Have you worked as a Prevention Specialist? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Prevention Specialist.

Top Skills for A Prevention Specialist

  1. Community Outreach
  2. Substance Abuse
  3. Alcohol
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked closely with communities on engagement strategies and developing a Community Outreach Plan to raise HIV/AIDS prevention awareness within the community.
  • Provided presentations on stress management, substance abuse and codependency to employees of a private utility company.
  • Provided annual drug and alcohol awareness training through information dissemination and prevention education to all the members of the Regiment.
  • Maintained records of attendance at school-based prevention curriculum presentations and other teen group meetings on computer-based systems for statistical purposes.
  • Provide classroom presentations using generic and evidence-based prevention programs to youth during school and/or during out-of school time.

How Would You Rate Working As a Prevention Specialist?

Are you working as a Prevention Specialist? Help us rate Prevention Specialist as a Career.

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