Home page

Fire Inspectors

At a Glance

  • Inspect buildings to find fire hazards
  • Write reports and issue permits and violations
  • Often wear a uniform
  • Have several years of related work experience
  • Work for local and state government agencies
  • Complete a formal training program

Career summary

Fire inspectors inspect buildings to detect fire hazards.

#no matching wois occupation

Fire inspectors inspect structures to prevent fires and to ensure compliance with fire codes. They usually work in the fire prevention division of fire departments.

Fire inspectors examine the inside and outside of buildings. They look for hazardous conditions or violations of fire codes. They test equipment such as fuel storage tanks. They also test fire prevention equipment such as fire extinguishers.

Fire inspectors who find violations discuss them with building representatives. They also recommend changes. They may instruct building representatives about fire safety.

Fire inspectors prepare reports of their inspections. They report code violations or recommended changes. Fire inspectors issue permits and enforce fire codes. If violations and unsafe conditions are not fixed, inspectors take legal action to require the changes. Fire inspectors also collect fees for permits and licenses.

Fire inspectors sometimes speak to public groups about ways to prevent fires. They also work with developers and planners to approve plans for new buildings.

Related careers

This career is part of the Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to fire inspectors.

Common work activities

Fire inspectors perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, fire inspectors:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Fire inspectors frequently:

It is important for fire inspectors to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for fire inspectors to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Fire inspectors need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a fire inspector, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Educational requirements vary by fire department. Many fire inspectors receive formal training as emergency medical technicians (EMTs). A number of colleges and universities offer courses in fire engineering, fire control, or fire science. Depending on the school, you can earn an associate or bachelor's degree in these areas.

Work experience

Fire inspectors typically have many years of experience as a fire fighter or police officer.

On-the-job training

New inspectors receive training in inspection techniques and procedures. Sometimes an experienced inspector or supervisor trains you. Otherwise, you attend classes at the fire academy or take college courses.

Many fire inspectors take courses at the National Fire Academy (NFA). The NFA offers courses to anyone working in fire fighting, inspection, or investigation.

Training may last up to one year.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to be environmental health and safety specialists. This occupation includes fire inspectors. Training lasts 11 to 19 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.

#no active apprenticeships at this time, there are some for firefighters listed at L&I 4/20/07 lh

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Applicants must pass a written exam, and tests of physical strength, stamina, and agility. They also must pass a medical exam that may include drug screening. Exams are generally open to people who are at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Those who receive the highest scores have the best chances of getting a job. Taking community college courses in fire science may improve an applicant's chances.

Besides high scores, employers look for applicants with courage, self-discipline, and a sense of public service. Leadership qualities are important for fire inspectors. College-level training may also be helpful.


Many states require fire inspectors to be certified. Requirements vary by state.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Fire inspectors and investigators (SOC 33-2021)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $25.85 $33.63 $37.52 $45.87 $56.84
Monthly $4,480 $5,828 $6,502 $7,949 $9,850
Yearly $53,780 $69,950 $78,040 $95,420 $118,220
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $33.25 $37.55 $42.99 $50.86 $61.93
Monthly $5,762 $6,507 $7,450 $8,814 $10,732
Yearly $69,172 $78,097 $89,406 $105,782 $128,810
    Vancouver Hourly $35.16 $41.32 $45.14 $49.42 $53.30
Monthly $6,093 $7,161 $7,823 $8,564 $9,237
Yearly $73,142 $85,964 $93,894 $102,777 $110,854
United States Hourly $17.50 $22.33 $30.05 $37.25 $45.83
Monthly $3,033 $3,870 $5,208 $6,455 $7,942
Yearly $36,400 $46,440 $62,510 $77,480 $95,330

Wages vary by area of the country and the inspector's level of experience and training.

Fire inspectors who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, health insurance, and a retirement plan. Many fire departments give payment for tuition or higher pay for completing advanced training.

National wage information is not available specifically for fire inspectors. However, they are part of the larger group of "fire inspectors and investigators."

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Fire Inspectors and Investigators (SOC 33-2021)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 156 7.7% 16.1% 18
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 40 7.5% 14.1% 4
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 10 10.0% 14.6% 1
    King County 37 8.1% 19.6% 4
    Pierce County 20 10.0% 15.2% 2
    Snohomish County 18 11.1% 12.4% 2
United States 13,000 5.4% 5.2% 1,300

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Growth in this occupation is expected to be about as fast as average. As the population grows, the demand for fire inspectors should increase. This is because there will be more buildings to inspect.

Competition for openings for fire inspectors is expected to be strong. Turnover is low and layoffs are uncommon. Most jobs open as workers retire or leave this occupation for other reasons.

Employment and outlook information is not available specifically for fire inspectors. However, they are part of the larger group of "fire inspectors and investigators."

Other resources

Board of Certified Safety Professionals (external link)
International Association of Fire Fighters (external link)
1750 New York Avenue NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Services (external link)
1707 Ibis Drive
Buffalo, MN 55313
National Fire Academy (external link)
16825 S. Seton Ave.
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
National Fire Protection Association (external link)
1 Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MA 02169
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (external link)
Society of Fire Protection Engineers (external link)
9711 Washington Boulevard, Suite 380
Gaithersburg, MD 20878


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational clusters