Fire Inspector: Job & Career Info

Mar 10, 2019

Career Definition for a Fire Inspector

Fire inspectors help prevent fires by inspecting buildings and structures to ensure compliance with fire codes. Fire inspectors also work with developers and planners to approve plans for new buildings and create fire escape routes. Fire inspectors must prepare technical reports to describe their findings.

Education Varies by state; some states require as little as a high school diploma and experience in fire inspection, while other states require a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science
Job Skills In-depth knowledge of fire codes and ordinances, and the ability to recognize problems and communicate effectively to address them
Median Salary (May 2017)* $56,670
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 10%

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Education Required

Training and certification for fire inspectors varies by state. Some states require only a high school diploma and experience in fire inspection for certification, while others require a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science or a related field. Regardless of degree level, fire inspectors must take classes in subjects such as fire codes, blueprint reading, and building construction for fire service.

Job Skills Required

The vast majority of fire inspectors worked as firefighters before undergoing additional training. Fire Inspectors must have in-depth knowledge of fire codes and ordinances. They also must be able to recognize problems and communicate effectively to address them.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for fire inspectors were expected to grow 10% between 2016 and 2026, but competition will be keen. The BLS notes that candidates with the most education and training will have the best chances of finding fire inspection jobs. The BLS published the median annual salary for fire inspectors and investigators as $56,670 in May 2017.

Alternative Career Options


The median income for firefighters in 2017 was $49,080 per year. The BLS reported a 7% rise in jobs for firefighters from 2016 to 2026. A high school diploma along with fire academy training is usually required for this job. Prospective firefighters may also pursue EMT certification after completing a postsecondary EMT training program.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic

This career option must complete a formal training program and obtain national certification. EMTs are typically first responders assisting sick and injured individuals. A much-faster-than-average employment rise of 15% was estimated for EMTs and paramedics from 2016 to 2026, per the BLS. In 2017, these workers made a median salary of $33,380.

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