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Fire Investigator

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Life As a Fire Investigator

Career Description Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.

A Day in the Life of a Fire Investigator

  • Swear out warrants, and arrest and process suspected arsonists.
  • Subpoena and interview witnesses, property owners, and building occupants to obtain information and sworn testimony.
  • Testify in court cases involving fires, suspected arson, and false alarms.
  • Coordinate efforts with other organizations, such as law enforcement agencies.
  • Prepare and maintain reports of investigation results, and records of convicted arsonists and arson suspects.
  • Dust evidence or portions of fire scenes for latent fingerprints.

What a Fire Investigator Should Know

Below is a list of the skills most Fire Investigators say are important on the job.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

  • Fire Investigation Manager
  • Fire Investigator
  • Arson Division Chief
  • Arson and Bomb Investigator
  • State Fire Marshal

Fire Investigator Employment Estimates

In the United States, there were 12,300 jobs for Fire Investigator in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7.3% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 900 new jobs for Fire Investigator by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 1,400 job openings in this field each year.

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The states with the most job growth for Fire Investigator are Idaho, Vermont, and Arkansas. Watch out if you plan on working in New Jersey, Rhode Island, or North Dakota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Fire Investigators Salary

The average yearly salary of a Fire Investigator ranges between $36,400 and $95,330.

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Fire Investigators who work in California, Oregon, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.

How much do Fire Investigators make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $68,630
Arizona $64,190
Arkansas $44,310
California $103,830
Colorado $74,790
Connecticut $74,280
Delaware $58,820
District of Columbia $75,800
Florida $63,040
Georgia $52,010
Illinois $64,760
Indiana $53,670
Iowa $64,680
Kansas $53,210
Kentucky $43,640
Louisiana $50,990
Maine $54,600
Maryland $64,490
Massachusetts $66,710
Michigan $59,740
Minnesota $68,210
Missouri $44,930
New Hampshire $62,700
New Jersey $55,890
New Mexico $52,010
New York $66,580
North Carolina $52,760
North Dakota $61,850
Ohio $66,650
Oklahoma $68,080
Oregon $89,860
Pennsylvania $56,890
Rhode Island $56,130
South Carolina $53,680
Tennessee $62,660
Texas $63,540
Utah $58,000
Vermont $58,790
Virginia $55,540
Washington $81,430
West Virginia $47,190
Wisconsin $57,460

What Tools do Fire Investigators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Fire Investigators:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software

Becoming a Fire Investigator

What education or degrees do I need to become a Fire Investigator?

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Where do Fire Investigators Work?

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The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

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References:

Image Credit: Airman 1st Class Sergio A. Gamboa via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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