Fire Alarm Service Technician – Education, Job Duties, and Salary

Fire alarm technicians are professionals who look over the placement, installation, and servicing of fire alarm systems in buildings, homes, and offices. These trained professionals are hired by builders to keep a check on the blueprints of their new buildings and suggest the best possible location to put fire alarms, as to minimize the risk of any demographic loss in case of a fire hazard.

By working closely with the builders, fire alarm technicians come up with the optimal fire alarm system according to the electrical wiring layout mentioned in the builder’s blueprint and make sure that the electrical and fire codes of the state are followed closely. Apart from suggesting the location and type of fire alarms which should be put in, fire alarm technicians also repair faulty fire alarm systems and do maintenance work as well.

Fire Alarm Technician Jobs

A fire alarm technician maps out the placement of fire alarm systems throughout the building. By paying meticulous attention to the building’s wire mesh and architecture, they put fire alarm tech in the most vulnerable of places so that a fire in those places can be quickly detected. Before the installation process starts, a fire alarm technician goes over his client’s blueprints and presents a report of his findings which usually includes the type of fire alarms that need to be put in, their optimal locations, and an estimate of the cost. Once the client gives a thumbs-up, the fire alarm technician gets to work.

The installation part usually requires the professional to carefully drill holes in the ceilings or the walls, keeping the wiring in mind, and mount the fire alarm systems. Then, the individual does the wiring work and adjusts the alarms’ sensitivity, to make sure that they are working the way they are supposed to. Once all of this is done, the technician gives one last glance to the building’s electrical wiring, to ensure that no damage was done to it during the installation process.

Apart from installation, the technician can be called by building owners to service any faulty fire alarms and also perform regular maintenance work to make sure that the fire alarms in the buildings remain in a tip-top condition and no hazard occurs.

Fire Alarm Technicians Training and Licensing

A Fire alarm technician needs to undergo proper training and attain a particular set of skills in order to perform the job at hand in the best manner possible. That is why a fire alarm technician first needs to get an associate’s degree from a community college. There are a lot of colleges across the USA providing an associate’s degree to fire alarm technicians. Their courses are more or less the same.

The coursework includes a detailed anatomic study of fire alarms, learning fire and electrical codes of various states and gaining in-depth knowledge of electrical wirings and setups. Once you have graduated from a community college, you can appear in the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) conducted the Fire Alarm System certification exam.

Apart from going to colleges, one can also earn a similar set of skills by undertaking a training course in fire systems offered by the Electrical Security Association (ESA). These courses train individuals in all the areas which form the prime focus of the fire alarm technician associate’s degree and also, the aspirants learn to use various fire alarm technician tools along with how to read blueprints and related stuff. Once they have completed the course, individuals can appear for the ESA conducted certification exam and earn their Certified Fire Alarm Technician (CFAT) status.

While the associate’s degree or its equivalent ESA certification level is enough to bring you a job as a fire alarm technician, some states require individuals to get a license to be hired by various firms in the profession.

Top Colleges for Fire Alarm Technicians

Some of the nation’s best schools for degrees in fire alarm tech are as follows:

  1. University of Phoenix
  2. Community College of the Air Force
  3. Lincoln Technical Institute
  4. Liberty University
  5. The Academy
  6. Porter and Chester Institute
  7. Apex Technical School
  8. Tyler Junior College
  9. El Paso Community College
  10. Houston Community College
  11. Remington College
  12. Northern Virginia Community College

Fire Alarm Technician Salary

As Payscale reports, a fire alarm technician in the United States earns the average hourly wage of $20.69, but this rate can be as low as $14.64 and as high as $31.8 as well. Thus, the average salary of a fire alarm technician is $51,023 per annum, with the lower and upper threshold being $35,000 and $73,000, respectively.

Top Paying Cities for Fire Alarm Technicians

The salary in this profession is influenced by various factors; one of them is the geographic location of the job. Given below is a snapshot of the pay scale for some of the highest paying cities across the country for fire alarm technicians.

S.No.CityMedian Pay
1Phoenix$66,248
2New York$56,160
3Los Angeles$54,000
4Chicago$52,924
5Dallas$47,581
6San Diego$46,159
7Atlanta$45,186
8Tusla$44,665
9Houston$43,584
10Charlotte$41,993

The average pay for fire alarm technicians in Phoenix is 44% higher than the national average, which makes it the most desirable job location for them. Apart from Phoenix, New York, L.A., Dallas, and other such cities offer big fat paychecks to fire alarm technicians as well.

Top Paying States for Fire Alarm Technicians

If you want a broader look at the difference in pay scale for fire alarm technicians on the basis of geographical separation, then below is a list of the top paying states for fire alarm technicians.

S. No.StateEmployment (1)Employment Per Thousand JobsLocation Quotient (9)Hourly Mean WageAnnual Mean Wage (2)
1Massachusetts1,5500.440.90$28.63$59,560
2Alaska800.240.48$27.70$57,620
3Colorado1,0100.390.81$26.52$55,160
4Connecticut5200.310.64$26.37$54,850
5KansasUnknownUnknownUnknown$25.98$54,040

Source: BLS (as of May 2017)

Top Paying Firms for Fire Alarm Technicians

Another thing that has a profound effect on the pay scale for fire alarm installers is the company that hires them. It should come as no surprise to anyone that big names in the electronics industry like Siemens, which manufacture fire alarm systems for customers across the globe, give their fire alarm technicians a hefty package.

S.No.Name Average Pay
1SimplexGrinnell$44,432
2Siemens$53,920
3Cintas Corporation$49,953
4Siemens Building Technologies, Inc.$41,063
5Tyco Fire and Security$41,600
6Simplex$45,774

Fire Alarm Technician Salary Based on Experience

In most professions, with time, your pay scale improves. Such is the case for fire alarm technicians too. While a fresher with an experience of 0-5 years can expect to earn somewhere around $37,000 annually, a person in his mid-career, that is a person who has been a fire alarm technician for around 5-10 years, can expect to earn $47,000 annually. An experienced person, with 10-15 years of experience under his belt, will make close to $53,000, and a seasoned veteran with over 20 years of experience can expect to reel in a paycheck of $60,000 every year.

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