How to Become a Fire Protection Engineer
DUTIES OF A FIRE PROTECTION ENGINEER
Fire protection engineers are responsible for designing and implementing solutions to lower fire risks to buildings and properties. They are employed in various industries ranging from the government to research. In addition to working outdoors at various sites, fire protection engineers also spend a lot of their working hours sitting at a desk. Additionally, fire protection engineers study the causes of fires and how they can improve on architectural structures to prevent fires. Essentially, they save lives before dangerous fires take place.
HOW MUCH DO FIRE PROTECTION ENGINEERS MAKE?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, fire protection engineers make an average annual salary of $81,830. This accounts for both health and safety engineers.
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO BECOMING A FIRE PROTECTION ENGINEER
Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s Degree in an Engineering Program.
All fire protection engineers are required to have a bachelor’s degree in an engineering program, preferably specializing in fire science. The engineering degree program must be approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Subjects like protection and safety techniques, problem solving, design, and fire dynamics are taught in fire protection engineering degree programs.
Step 2: Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test.
After earning your B.A. degree, it’s recommended that you take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam before moving forward. While this exam is not mandatory, it does open up a lot more work opportunities in the field. This exam is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, and has 180 multiple-choice questions. The test is designed to take around eight hours to finish.
Step 3: Get hands-on work experience by joining a firefighting academy.
Just like any other fire-related professions, a fire protection engineer’s job entails a lot of hands-on experience. To be eligible for a professional license, aspirants have to complete a minimum of four years of work experience. Such experience can be acquired at a local firefighting academy, where you’ll work with many other peers in the same field. Most likely, you’ll be working under close supervision of a professional engineer.
Step 4: Get licensed.
While licensure is not always mandatory to be a fire protection engineer, it is highly recommended for those who are looking work independently instead of under the supervision of a Professional Engineer. The licensure requires that prospective engineers pass the PE exam as mentioned above in step 2. After passing the exam, engineers can apply for licensure from the state in which they want to work.
Step 5: Advance your career by continuing education.
Working in a field that is always changing, it’s important to adapt to and be aware of these changes. With that said, it is recommended that engineers consider continuing their education, whether it be taking new training classes or enrolling in a Master’s program to prepare for more challenging roles in the industry. Going back to school will allow students to gain new skills as well as stay up-to-date on procedures, techniques, and information vital to success in the profession.
FIRE PROTECTION ENGINEER JOB REQUIREMENTS
Aspiring fire protection engineers must meet the following requirements to be considered:
- Have a Bachelor’s Degree in engineering, preferably with specialization of fire science
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a minimum of 4 years work experience in related field (fire protection)
- Possess strong communication skills
- Professional engineering license may be required depending on the state you work in
- Must undergo on-the-job training
- Be open to working in both indoor and outdoor scenes
- Be open to research and applying work techniques accordingly
- Be fit and physically capable
- Be able to analyze and solve problems efficiently