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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Inspectors in Chicago, Illinois

Fire inspectors can find many career and educational opportunities in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 620 working fire inspectors in Illinois; this should grow by 10% to 680 working fire inspectors in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fire inspectors are expected to grow by about 9.3%. Fire inspectors generally conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.

Income for fire inspectors is about $30 per hour or $62,570 annually on average in Illinois. Nationally, their income is about $25 per hour or $53,030 annually. Earnings for fire inspectors are better than earnings in the general category of Fire Control in Illinois and better than general Fire Control category earnings nationally. Fire inspectors work in a variety of jobs, including: firefighter, fire chief, and arson investigator.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including ten within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a fire inspector. The most common level of education for fire inspectors is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years training to become a fire inspector if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fire Inspector

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

In general, fire inspectors conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.

Fire inspectors analyze evidence and other data to establish probable causes of fires or explosions. They also photograph damage and evidence pertaining to causes of fires or explosions to document investigation findings. Equally important, fire inspectors have to examine fire sites and collect evidence such as glass and accelerant residue for use in determining the cause of a fire. They are often called upon to package collected pieces of evidence in securely closed containers such as bags or boxes, to safeguard them. They are expected to ready and maintain reports of investigation results, and records of convicted arsonists and arson suspects. Finally, fire inspectors subpoena and interview witnesses, property owners, and building occupants to obtain data and sworn testimony.

Every day, fire inspectors are expected to be able to piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation. They need to think through problems and come up with general rules. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for fire inspectors to swear out warrants, and arrest and process suspected arsonists. They are often called upon to test sites and materials to determine facts. They also testify in court cases involving fires and false alarms. They are sometimes expected to dust evidence or portions of fire scenes for latent fingerprints. Somewhat less frequently, fire inspectors are also expected to dust evidence or portions of fire scenes for latent fingerprints.

And finally, they sometimes have to test sites and materials to determine facts.

Like many other jobs, fire inspectors must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

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.
  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Fighter. Control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.
  • 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.
  • Police Officer. Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.
  • Private Investigator. Detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.
  • 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 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.