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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Inspectors in Vancouver, Washington

Fire inspectors can find many career and educational opportunities in the Vancouver, Washington area. Currently, 230 people work as fire 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 inspectors are expected to grow by about 9.3%. In general, fire inspectors conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.

Fire inspectors earn about $35 hourly or $74,250 per year on average in Washington and about $25 per hour or $53,030 annually on average nationally. 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 marshal, fire investigation lieutenant, and fire lieutenant.

The Vancouver area is home to forty-eight schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can get a degree 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 Vancouver 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

Portland Community College - Portland, OR

Portland Community College, 12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, OR 97219-7132. Portland Community College is a large college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,657 students. Portland Community College has an associate's degree program in Fire Protection and Safety Technology/Technician which graduated thirty-three students in 2008.

Clackamas Community College - Oregon City, OR

Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave, Oregon City, OR 97045-8980. Clackamas Community College is a medium sized college located in Oregon City, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,701 students. Clackamas Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one and three 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: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

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

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.