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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Code Inspectors in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for fire code inspectors. There are currently 620 working fire code inspectors in Illinois; this should grow by 10% to 680 working fire code inspectors in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fire code inspectors are expected to grow by about 9.3%. In general, fire code inspectors inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.

Fire code inspectors earn approximately $30 hourly or $62,570 per year on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $25 per hour or $53,030 per year. Incomes for fire code inspectors are better than in the overall category of Fire Control in Illinois, and better than the overall Fire Control category nationally. Jobs in this field include: code enforcement officer, deputy fire marshal, and fire hazard inspector.

There are ten schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a fire code inspector, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. The most common level of education for fire code inspectors is some college courses. It will take a short time to learn to be a fire code inspector if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fire Code Inspector

Fire Code Inspector video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, fire code inspectors inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.

Fire code inspectors examine buildings to identify hazardous conditions and fire code violations such as accumulations of combustible material, electrical wiring problems, and inadequate or non-functional fire exits. They also present and explain fire code requirements and fire prevention data to architects, contractors, and the general public. Equally important, fire code inspectors have to perform fire code compliance follow-ups to insure that corrective actions have been taken in cases where violations were found. They are often called upon to attend training classes to maintain current knowledge of fire prevention and firefighting procedures. They are expected to write detailed reports of fire inspections performed, fire code violations observed, and corrective recommendations offered. Finally, fire code inspectors inspect blueprints and plans for new or remodeled buildings to insure the structures meet fire safety codes.

Every day, fire code inspectors are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to solve different sorts of problems in different ways depending upon circumstances. It is also important that they piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation.

It is important for fire code inspectors to examine properties that store and use hazardous materials to insure adherence to laws and rules, and issue hazardous materials permits to facilities found in compliance. They are often called upon to design and direct fire prevention programs such as false alarm billing, fire inspection reporting, and hazardous materials management. They also examine liquefied petroleum installations and transportation and delivery systems for adherence to fire laws. They are sometimes expected to testify in court regarding fire code and fire safety issues. Somewhat less frequently, fire code inspectors are also expected to supervise staff, training them, planning their work, and evaluating their performance.

Fire code inspectors sometimes are asked to teach public education programs on fire safety and prevention. They also have to be able to search for clues as to the cause of a fire, once the fire is completely extinguished and serve court appearance summonses or condemnation notices on parties responsible for violations of fire codes and ordinances. And finally, they sometimes have to manage the replacement of faulty fire fighting equipment and for maintenance of fire alarm and sprinkler systems, making minor repairs such as servicing fire extinguishers when feasible.

Like many other jobs, fire code inspectors must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Correctional Officer. Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institution in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.
  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • Fire Fighter. Control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Forest Fire Lookout. Enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. Report forest fires and weather conditions.
  • Forest Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
  • Lifeguard. Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.
  • Police Officer. Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Private Investigator. Detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fire Code Inspector Training

Oakton Community College - Des Plaines, IL

Oakton Community College, 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268. Oakton Community College is a large college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,552 students. Oakton Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one, three, and four students respectively in 2008.

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Fire Protection and Safety Technology/Technician which graduated four and thirty-eight students respectively in 2008.

Prairie State College - Chicago Heights, IL

Prairie State College, 202 South Halsted Street, Chicago Heights, IL 60411-8226. Prairie State College is a medium sized college located in Chicago Heights, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,368 students. Prairie State College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirty-eight and five students respectively in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one and eight students respectively in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated forty-three students in 2008.

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College, 30 E Lake St, Chicago, IL 60601-2449. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,342 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated three students in 2008.

Moraine Valley Community College - Palos Hills, IL

Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, IL 60465-0937. Moraine Valley Community College is a large college located in Palos Hills, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,477 students. Moraine Valley Community College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

McHenry County College - Crystal Lake, IL

McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2761. McHenry County College is a medium sized college located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,374 students. McHenry County College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated fifty-six and eight students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Incident Safety Officer - Fire Suppression Certification: A fire department incident safety officer's mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Fire Plans Examiner: Content Outline: Administration, Occupancies, Hazardous Materials, Fire Protection, and Egress and Safety.

For more information, see the International Code Council website.

Standard Low-voltage Electrician: The International Code Council's National Contractor Trades Examination Program is an independent testing program designed to provide licensing agencies with information regarding.

For more information, see the International Code Council website.

Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator: Recognize Qualified Fire and Explosion Investigators.

For more information, see the National Association of Fire Investigators website.

Fire Inspector I Certification: The NFPA Fire Inspector I and II (CFI-I and CFI-II) and Fire Plan Examiner (CFPE) certification programs are a result of requests by fire inspectors, plan reviewers, state agencies, and national organizations to develop certifications founded on the NFPA Professional Qualification Standards and other applicable NFPA codes and standards.

For more information, see the National Fire Protection Association website.

Special Hazards Suppression Systems: This certification program is designed for engineering technicians engaged in the detailing and layout and/or installation and maintenance related to special hazards suppression systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.