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Fire Investigator

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Life As a Fire Investigator

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

What Do Fire Investigators Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Swear out warrants, and arrest and process suspected arsonists.
  • Teach fire investigation techniques to other firefighter personnel.
  • Package collected pieces of evidence in securely closed containers, such as bags, crates, or boxes, to protect them.
  • Testify in court cases involving fires, suspected arson, and false alarms.
  • Analyze evidence and other information to determine probable cause of fire or explosion.
  • Instruct children about the dangers of fire.

Fire Investigator Required Skills

These are the skills Fire Investigators say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

Types of Fire Investigator

  • Fire Marshal
  • State Fire Marshal
  • Canine Handler (K9 Handler)
  • Investigation Lieutenant
  • Fire Investigator

Fire Investigator Employment Estimates

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 12,300 jobs in the United States for Fire Investigator. 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. There will be an estimated 1,400 positions for Fire Investigator per year.


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.

What is the Average Salary of a Fire Investigator

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


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 & Technology 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

How to Become a Fire Investigator

Education needed to be a Fire Investigator:


What work experience do I need to become a Fire Investigator?


Where Fire Investigators Are Employed


Below are examples of industries where Fire Investigators work:



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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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