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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Inspectors in Seattle, Washington

If you want to be a fire inspector, the Seattle, Washington area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 230 working fire inspectors in Washington; this should grow 12% to about 250 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%. In general, fire inspectors conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.

The income of a fire inspector is about $35 per hour or $74,250 annually on average in Washington. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $25 hourly or $53,030 annually on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as fire inspectors in Washington earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. People working as fire inspectors can fill a number of jobs, such as: fire chief, arson and bomb investigator, and chief arson division.

There are four schools within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can study to be a fire inspector, among sixty-five schools of higher education total in the Seattle area. The most common level of education for fire inspectors is a Bachelor's degree. 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 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.
  • 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

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.