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What Does it Take to Be a Fire Investigator?

Fire Investigator Definition Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.

Life As a Fire Investigator: What Do They Do?

  • Testify in court cases involving fires, suspected arson, and false alarms.
  • Swear out warrants, and arrest and process suspected arsonists.
  • Teach fire investigation techniques to other firefighter personnel.
  • Subpoena and interview witnesses, property owners, and building occupants to obtain information and sworn testimony.
  • Photograph damage and evidence related to causes of fires or explosions to document investigation findings.
  • Analyze evidence and other information to determine probable cause of fire or explosion.

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 Investigation Lieutenant
  • Investigation Lieutenant
  • Fire and Explosion Investigator
  • Fire Investigator
  • Arson Investigator

What Kind of Fire Investigator Job Opportunities Are There?

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.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Fire Investigators in U.S.

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.

How Much Does a Fire Investigator Make?

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

Salary Ranges for Fire Investigators

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

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Fire Investigators 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

Tools & Technologies Used by Fire Investigators

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

Individuals working as a Fire Investigator have obtained the following education levels:

Fire Investigator Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Fire Investigator?

Fire Investigator Work Experience

Where Fire Investigators Are Employed

Fire Investigator Sectors

Fire Investigators work in the following industries:

Fire Investigator Industries


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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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