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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Inspectors in Columbia, Maryland

If you want to be a fire inspector, the Columbia, Maryland area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. The national trend for fire inspectors sees this job pool growing by about 9.3% over the next eight years. Fire inspectors generally conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.

The income of a fire inspector is about $27 per hour or $57,820 annually on average in Maryland. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $25 per hour or $53,030 per year on average. Incomes for fire inspectors are better than in the overall category of Fire Control in Maryland, and better than the overall Fire Control category nationally. People working as fire inspectors can fill a number of jobs, such as: fire chief, bomb squad commander, and fire investigation lieutenant.

There are seven schools within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can study to be a fire inspector, among 109 schools of higher education total in the Columbia area. Fire inspectors usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years studying to be 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 Columbia 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

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Protection and Safety Technology/Technician which graduated zero and one students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-University College - Adelphi, MD

University of Maryland-University College, 3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, MD 20783-8010. University of Maryland-University College is a large university located in Adelphi, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 34,130 students. University of Maryland-University College has a two to four year program in Fire Protection and Safety Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

Anne Arundel Community College - Arnold, MD

Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Pky, Arnold, MD 21012-1895. Anne Arundel Community College is a large college located in Arnold, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,149 students. Anne Arundel Community College has an associate's degree program in Fire Protection and Safety Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

Baltimore City Community College - Baltimore, MD

Baltimore City Community College, 2901 Liberty Hts Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215-7893. Baltimore City Community College is a medium sized college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,884 students. Baltimore City Community College has a one to two year program in Fire Protection and Safety Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated four and three students respectively in 2008.

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Protection and Safety Technology/Technician which graduated zero and one students respectively in 2008.

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA

Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated five students 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: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.