Fire Investigators

Fire Inspector Trains Employee to Use Extinguisher

Fire investigators analyze the cause, origin, and circumstances of fires involving loss of life and considerable property damage; interrogate witnesses and prepare investigation reports; and arrest and seek prosecution of arsonists. They also investigate explosions. They work for local fire departments, state fire marshal’s offices, and private companies. Approximately 11,370 fire investigators and inspectors are employed in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Fire Marshals
Duties Analyze the cause, origin, and circumstances of fires involving loss of life and property damage; gather information and evidence to help identify arsonists
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but are best in large, metropolitan areas
Minimum Education Level
  • Some Postsecondary Training
School Subjects
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Experience Prior experience as a fire fighter or police officer required
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Helpful
  • Scientific
  • Interpersonal
  • Math
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements Employers require a background check, drug test, and U.S. citizenship
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Fire Marshal or Fire Captain
  • Fire Investigator
  • Firefighter, or Fire Inspector, or Fire Safety Technician