Approximately 13,000 fire inspectors and investigators are employed in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. About 85 percent of fire inspectors and investigators work for local and state government agencies. Some work at insurance companies and at other private sector employers.
Those just starting out in this field may need to gain experience as a professional firefighter before moving into the position of fire inspector. Job requirements vary by department. To become a firefighter, you must pass the local civil service exam, meet physical training requirements, and complete training at the department’s training center or academy. Those who have earned degrees, for example, in fire protection engineering, may find information on job openings through their schools’ career services centers. Jobs can also be found through organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association.
Fire inspectors can be promoted to officers or heads of fire-prevention bureaus, fire marshals, or chief building officials. Fire-inspection workers in factories can become plant fire marshals and corporate or plant risk managers.
Tips for Entry
Read National Fire Protection Association Journal (https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media) to learn more about careers in fire inspection and prevention.
Become certified in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards established by your industry.
Join professional associations such as the National Fire Protection Association and International Code Council to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.