How Do I Become a Fire Protection Engineer?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

It is usually necessary to attend college or university to become a fire protection engineer. Some regions also require licensure, typically by taking a test to demonstrate competency. Once educated and licensed, a fire protection engineer may need to pursue continuing education and periodic re-certification to remain qualified. The specific requirements can vary by nation and regions, as different agencies concerned with fire safety have their own standards.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

School for fire protection engineers includes a mixture of training in the physics and chemistry of fire, as well as discussions about engineering topics. Fire protection engineers design fire safety systems and contribute to the design and construction of buildings to make them safer in fires. Their work can also include forensic activities, like examining structures that fail in fires to learn more about how and why. This knowledge can be applied to the development of better safety protocols in the future to protect people, property, and the environment.

This career requires a great deal of coursework in math and science. High school students can prepare with extra courses to develop skills before they attend college. People who know they want to be fire protection engineers may want to consider applying into a BS/MS program, which offers accelerated education. Such programs typically end in five years with a master's degree. To prepare for an accelerated program, a high school student who intends to become a fire protection engineer might want to consider getting some general education classes completed, to make more room for engineering coursework in college.

Students who attend a BS program in fire protection engineering may be able to find work in this field with their degrees. Pay may be lower and opportunities can be more limited, as some employes want people with advanced engineering degrees. An MS or doctorate degree can help someone become a fire protection engineer in a competitive market, and may provide more options in terms of potential jobs with government agencies, private companies, and other entities. Professional development for engineers requires continuous learning to make sure they keep up with the latest in the field.

Once someone has become a fire protection engineer, it can be helpful to join a professional organization. This can provide access to trade publications, conferences, and other materials limited to members. Some professional organizations maintain job listings and other resources for members looking for work or wanting information on employment statistics, average wages, and other issues of interest.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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