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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Code Inspectors in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for fire code inspectors. Currently, 230 people work as fire code inspectors in Washington. This is expected to grow 12% to 250 people 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%. Fire code inspectors generally inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.

A person working as a fire code inspector can expect to earn about $35 hourly or $74,250 annually on average in Washington and about $25 per hour or $53,030 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Fire code inspectors earn more than people working in the category of Fire Control generally in Washington and more than people in the Fire Control category nationally. Fire code inspectors work in a variety of jobs, including: fire prevention director, code official, and fire sprinkler apparatus inspector.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including four within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a fire code inspector. Given that the most common education level for fire code inspectors is some college courses, you can expect to spend a short time training to become 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 Seattle 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.
  • 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

Bellevue College - Bellevue, WA

Bellevue College, 3000 Landerholm Cir SE, Bellevue, WA 98007-6484. Bellevue College is a large college located in Bellevue, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 11,748 students. Bellevue College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Olympic College - Bremerton, WA

Olympic College, 1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337-1699. Olympic College is a medium sized college located in Bremerton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 6,596 students. Olympic College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twenty-three and two students respectively in 2008.

Everett Community College - Everett, WA

Everett Community College, 2000 Tower Street, Everett, WA 98201. Everett Community College is a medium sized college located in Everett, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,765 students. Everett Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirteen and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

Bates Technical College - Tacoma, WA

Bates Technical College, 1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405. Bates Technical College is a medium sized college located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,807 students. Bates Technical College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirty-nine, three, and fifteen 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: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.