Fire Protection Engineers are supposed to design various solutions to minimize the risks associated with fires in all sorts of buildings. They are also required to implement them efficiently. Fire protection engineers can get employed in various industries like, insurance, manufacturing, consulting and even with the US Government.

Featured Programs and Schools

Should I Become a Fire Protection Engineer?

Fire Protection Engineers may often need to visit sites while working especially if they are employed in an industrial or a commercial location. Their job requires them to design and improve fire safety systems of buildings. Not only that, they also ensure whether the safety equipment is fully functional or not and if the safety procedures are being followed in accordance with the state laws.

Degree LevelBachelor’s Degree
Degree FieldsMechanical Engineering, Fire Science and Protection, Engineering Technology, Engineering

LicensureSome states require Professional Engineering (PE) licensure
ExperienceAt least 4 years of experience in Fire Protection or related field
Key SkillsFire Safety, Building Codes, Critical Thinking & Problem Solving, Understanding of Electrical Systems, Understanding of Construction Documents, Communication, Risk Analysis, Attention to Detail

Job Outlook (2021-31)4% (Health and Safety Engineers)
Mean Annual Salary (2021)$ 99,700 (Health and Safety Engineers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021

Fire Protection Engineer Degree

To become a Fire Protection Engineer in the US, the minimum requirement is a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Science or a related field. Fire Protection Engineers are required to study in detail about mechanical engineering, fire science and protection, and engineering technology. Once you have obtained Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Science, students can also opt for Master’s in Fire Protection Engineering degree. An advanced program, it is grounded in the fundamentals of science, engineering, and mathematics. During the course students learn about

  • Basic Processes of Fire Behavior.
  • Combustion of Materials and Furnishings.
  • Fire Suppression.
  • Risk Management.
  • Industrial Fire Protection.
  • Explosion Protection.

Bachelor’s in Fire Science Degree Coursework

  • Fire Protection Systems
  • Fire Behavior and Combustion
  • Fire Protection Structures and System Design
  • Applied Learning in Fire and Safety Engineering
  • Fire Hazard and Risk Analysis
  • Fire and Life Safety Codes

Steps to Becoming a Fire Protection Engineer

If you have the aptitude for saving lives, then here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

Step 1:Completing a Bachelor’s Degree

To build a career in this profession, you need to complete at least a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Fire Science or Engineering. The degrees must be accredited by the relevant authorities. For instance, the engineering degree must be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). There are several universities in the US that offer accredited degrees in these subjects. For example, the Purdue University Global offers an online bachelor’s degree in Fire Science with 180 credit hours, accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). Whereas, the University of Georgia offers several types of accredited bachelor’s degrees in Engineering. For details on your desired program, you may visit the official website of relevant university.

Step 2:Passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam

Simply graduating with a bachelor’s degree is not enough to begin working as a Fire Protection Engineer. You must also take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam, otherwise called as the Engineer-In-Training (EIT) exam. It is conducted by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and you may take this exam before or immediately after graduating from you bachelor’s degree.

Step 3:Obtaining Relevant Field Experience

After graduating and clearing the FE/NIT exam, you can begin working in the field as either an Engineer with a Fire Department or as a Firefighter under proper supervision. Gaining at least 4 years of work experience is crucial to becoming a licensed fire protection engineer. Working in the field would teach you about local codes and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.

Step 4:Licensure

Although becoming licensed is not mandatory, it allows your job prospects to improve significantly. Not only that, having a license means you no longer need any supervision and can work independently. In addition to that, if you want to work with the US Government Agencies, you will be required to get a valid license. In case of Engineers, you can take and pass the Professional Engineering (PE) licensure exam.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Fire Protection Engineer?

To work as a fire protection engineer, it may take you anywhere between 8 to 10 years from completing the relevant education to becoming licensed with field experience. It is a time consuming process and demands patience and determination.

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Fire Protection Engineer?

Apart from completing the required education, training and licensure requirements, fire protection engineers are required to possess excellent analytical and problem solving skills. Their job demands that they figure out problems with safety procedures with a quick survey and find solutions to fix them. In addition to that, they need to be familiar with software such as AutoCAD, MicroStation and MS Office etc. because their job entails designing fire safety systems and creating reports of building surveys.

To become a Fire Protection Engineer in the US, all candidates must:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in Engineering (with courses in Fire Science) or a relevant subject i.e., Fire Science
  • Have at least 4 years of field experience in fire protection
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Get on-the-job training
  • Be physically fit
  • Have strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Candidates may be required to obtain/possess a valid state issued license.

How Much Can I Make as a Fire Protection Engineer?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Health and Safety Engineers earned an annual mean salary of $ 99,700 in 2021, which approximately amounts to $ 47.93 mean wage per hour. Furthermore, Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil was reported as the highest paying industry for this occupation by the BLS in 2021 with an annual mean salary of $ 147,880.

Below are the top paying states for Health and Safety Engineers in the US:

StateAnnual Mean Wage 
California$ 119,360
New Hampshire$ 117,940
Colorado$ 116,450
Texas$ 114,780
Massachusetts$ 111,030

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021

Below are the states with the highest employment level in Health and Safety Engineers:

New York1,530

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021