How to Become a

Fire Inspector

The complete career guide to be a Fire Inspector: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $59,800
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 5.6%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Investigative
    Career Attribute

A fire inspector is responsible for evaluating various buildings to monitor and address potential fire hazards, and make sure that federal, state and local fire codes are adhered to. He or she also looks into the origins of fires after an incident occurs.


What is a Fire Inspector?

Duties

A fire inspector has to handle the following job duties:

  • Undertake close inspection of existing fire protection protocols, building compliance to fire safety standards, sprinklers, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency communication and smoke alarms.
  • Make certain that fire regulations, codes and laws are followed in existing and new building structures, which includes giving access to emergency vehicles and water distribution systems are fully functioning in that jurisdiction.
  • Work in confined spaces like crawling in closets and attics, or climb stairs.
  • Collaborate with a wide range of clients and departments such as project management, to be notified on the status of inspections and resolve any open work requests.

Day In The Life

The day of a fire inspector can be filled with surprises. Your morning at work may start with visiting a big pile of rubble from a fire that happened a few hours ago. It would be your job to assess the origins of the fire, and what factors resulted in spreading it such as the building’s layout. After doing sufficient research, you would provide accurate inspection reports with details on the type of inspections carried out, the fire code violations recorded, and recommendations for resolving the issue.

You may then have to attend a court hearing for one of the cases you are working on regarding neglect of compliance with fire prevention codes. In addition, educating the public is another important part of this role – you are tasked with sharing your experiences and preventative guidelines with the local community. This may also involve writing informative articles for newspaper outlets and online publications.

Work Schedule And Typical Hours

Fire inspectors usually work around 40 hours per week. Since you have to be on-call to attend to sudden occurrences of fire, you may have to work late evenings, public holidays and weekends. You may have to work in an office environment as well as on the field, depending on the workload. Site visits are necessary when a fire occurs to gain a first-hand view of the scene. This takes you to diverse buildings like government offices, residential areas, factories, warehouses and corporate offices. To perform these duties, you will need to wear suitable protective gear as a preventative measure.

Growth Of The Job

Working in this field leads to getting promoted over time, which is more likely when you build your educational credentials and gain applied experience from solving bigger projects.

According to the government, the projected demand for fire inspectors is expected to rise by 6% between 2012 and 2022, less than the national average. While the number of fires happening in the United States has been on the decline for some time, fire inspectors will still find promising work due to the problem solving nature of the job. In addition, their expertise is required to ensure that revised fire codes at the federal, state and local levels are being followed every year.

Typical Employers

Fire inspectors can gain employment with damage litigation companies, law or code enforcement agencies, construction firms, insurance firms, nationwide fire departments (i.e. county, rural or city) and government agencies that track compliance with building safety codes.


How To Become a Fire Inspector

There are many ways via which you could join the profession of a fire inspector, and many employers do not insist on you holding a graduate degree. The minimum qualification you are expected to have would be a high school diploma or GED. Depending on the state, you have to complete classroom training at a fire or police academy which can take a few months. The topics you cover consist of courtroom techniques, correct equipment use, legal codes, procedures for dismantling bombs and handling hazardous materials.

Once your classroom training is completed, you will undergo training on-the-job as well, to familiarize yourself with the type of day-to-day work you need to do. This is usually done in an apprenticeship model, under the guidance of an experienced professional. To be successful in the role, you need to be comfortable collaborating among different groups like clients, finance teams, and project management.


Fire Inspector Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$43,430

Average

$59,800

High Range

$92,120

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$21/hr

Average

$29/hr

High Range

$44/hr

How do Fire Inspector salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Fire Inspector's can make an average annual salary of $59,800, or $29 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $43,430 or $21 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #273 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Fire Inspector. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Fire Inspectors

  • 0.5%   Doctorate
  • 5.5%   Masters
  • 22.8%   Bachelors
  • 16%   Associates
  • 33.4%   College
  • 18.4%   High School
  • 3.4%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

12,400

2024 Est. Jobs

13,100

Job Growth Rate

5.6%

Est. New Jobs

700

How does Fire Inspector job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 700 jobs for a total of 13,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.6% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #397 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally


What Companies Employ The Most Fire Inspectors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 9,500 500 1%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 1,200 --- ---
Self-employed workers 400 --- ---

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