Fire inspectors are professionals who work in tandem with local, state and national safety agencies to ensure that the fire safety laws and regulations are implemented and followed appropriately. They are also responsible for detecting and inspecting the buildings and equipment to locate possible hazards and take preventive measures. By identifying violations and taking precautions, fire inspectors reduce the risk of any hazardous incident and, in turn, protect the people from fire risks.
Fire safety inspector salary depends upon a variety of factors. Some of the significant factors are experience, individual’s position, education, certifications, and other related skills. Besides base salary, fire inspectors also receive benefits to cover their personal and professional expenses. This article contains everything you need to know about the fire inspector salary and wages in the United States. You will also get to know the state-wise salaries along with the highest and lowest paying states for fire inspectors, which include industry-specific salary, salary based on skills and expertise, primary job description, job outlook and other compensation benefits offered.
How Much does a Fire Inspector Make in the United States?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median average pay of a fire inspector was $56,670 per annum as per May 2017 and the hourly pay was $27.25. Whereas, according to salary.com, the average base salary of a fire inspector in the United States falls between $47,184 and $74,024. As of October 31, 2018 data, the average total compensation was $61,742 including bonus, health, and retirement.
Moreover, according to pay scale, the average salary of a fire inspector ranges from $33,924 to $79,221. Last reported as per November 7, 2018, average pay was $51,913 per year and the average hourly wages earned was $19.52. Furthermore, the average additional compensation includes:
Profit Sharing: $8,750
State-wise Salaries of Fire Inspectors (Highest Paying & Lowest Paying States)
Many factors are taken into account in order to finalize the salary of fire inspectors, such as, location, qualification, candidate pool or skills required. Every state has its requirement that needs to be fulfilled. Depending on the type of job requirement, relevant skills set needed, and the number of candidate pool available in a state or a city defines the exact salary of a fire inspector. Therefore, different state pays different pay package, i.e., California is the highest paying state and West Virginia is the least paying state in the list. Mentioned below is the table which showcases the list of few highest paying states in the United States for the fire inspectors reported in May 2017:
|State||Annual Wage||Hourly Income|
|District of Columbia||$72,620||$34.91|
Mentioned below is the table showcasing the list of few lowest paying states in the United States for the fire inspectors:
|State||Annual Wage||Hourly Income|
Information source: Recruiter.com
Fire Inspector Salary Based on Skills/Experience
Compensation varies widely based on a variety of factors which includes educational level, certifications, an industry that one is associated with and the years of experience. The base compensation of a fire inspector ranges between $47,184 and $74,024 depending upon the education and tenure levels, and also includes bonus, overtime pay, and other benefits.
The starting salary for an entry-level fire inspector having a minimum job experience of 5 years is up to $ 38,000 quote figure based on various salary data provided by different sources. A fire inspector with an experience of 5 to 10 years can expect an average total salary of $46,000. While a mid-career fire inspector with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect the average total salary of $49,000. A fire inspector with 20 and above years of experience can earn average total compensation of $60,000.
Fire inspectors are highest paid in California with an annual wage of $ 83,990. Also, the candidate can expect wage difference as per the industry in which he/she is employed. Candidates employed in sectors such as Finance and Insurance, Manufacturing, Educational, Scientific, Professional, and Technical Services can expect the median salary ranging from $51000 to $75,890 per annum.
Industry Specific Salaries for Fire Inspectors
Fire inspectors are mostly hired by the government agencies at the local, state or federal levels. Some may be employed by private sectors, insurance companies or other specific industries, but the majority of them work for the insurance carriers or agencies on a full-time basis. The fire inspectors spend most of the time working in an office set up, but are also required to travel to different locations to inspect buildings and structures, and asses potential fire threats. The manufacturing industry is one of the highest paying sectors as compared to other industries, whereas, fire inspector practicing in private investigation and security services are supposed to be the lowest paying.
According to the BLS, in May 2017, the average salary for fire inspectors and investigators in the top 5 industries that they were employed in is as follows:
|Top Industry||Median Annual Wages|
|Investigation and security services||$51,040|
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||$60,310|
|State government, excluding education and hospitals||$57,400|
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools, state, local, and private||$51,240|
Whereas, the average median annual wages for forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists in the top two industries that they were employed in is as follows:
|Top Industry||Median Annual Wages|
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||$60,370|
|State government, excluding education and hospitals||$32,360|
Typically, a job description of a fire inspector demands the following:
- Ensure buildings and structures are well equipped with required tools and equipment to face any potential fire hazard.
- Ensure that the premises comply with the respective standards, protocols, laws, and
- Conduct fire code compliance.
- Take preventive measures in case of fire code violations.
- Write and submit reports to respective officers regarding the fire inspection conducted, violations observed, and preventive measures taken.
- Educate citizens about fire laws, regulations and exit plans.
- Maintain shreds of evidence collected.
- Install fire alarms and other precautionary methods.
- Conduct fire drills at regular intervals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in the long term, the fire inspector employment rate is expected to grow by 10% from 2016 to 2026. Although, estimated fire inspector professionals working in the United States is 14,100, as of 2016, while the expected jobs to be filled by the end of 2018 is 3,050. That means, there will be an annual increase of 12.5% over year-on-year (YoY).
The majority of fire inspectors work in the area of State and Local fire departments, and the rest are employed in insurance companies or attorney’s offices. The demand for fire inspectors will rise even more soon. They will be needed to protect and asses various newly constructed buildings and structures. And also maintain the existing facilities from potential fire threats. A report says that in every 24 seconds, U.S. fire department responds to a fire hazard somewhere in the nation.
With the ever-growing population, there is going to be an equal rise in the infrastructures and buildings. The demand for fire inspectors will eventually swell to fight the destructive fires that the United States has been experiencing. Especially in the states which employ the highest number of fire inspectors, such as California, Texas, New York and Florida.
Furthermore, the rise in employment brings more competition amongst the candidates aspiring for fire inspector jobs. There is an estimate of 15,400 vacancies for the fire inspectors in different departments/divisions by the year 2026. According to the BLS, the candidates with higher education and required physical standards secure higher chances of getting selected. They may opt to work in different career areas like as Firefighters, Forensic Science Technicians, Police and Detectives, Occupational Health and Safety Specialist or other job titles.
Employment projections data for Fire Inspectors, 2016-2026:
|Job Title||Employment, 2016||Estimated Employment, 2026|
|Fire Inspectors and investigators||12,300||13,200|
|Forest Fire inspectors and prevention specialists||1,700||2,200|
Information source: The BLS
Other Compensation Benefits
The base salary of a fire inspector increases with higher educational qualification, higher the diploma, better the base salary. Thus, a candidate possessing a master’s degree can expect more base salary than the candidate having a bachelor’s degree or, an associate degree. Along with the base salary, fire inspectors also earn other compensation benefits and incentives, which include health and dental insurance, and disability coverage to cover risk and injuries on the job.
If the fire inspector is a member of Union, he/she can receive scholarships and grants to pursue higher education that will enhance their chances of better career prospects and landing higher salary in future. Also, they are eligible to receive the pension, once they complete 25 years of service and retire after attaining 55 years of age. In order to help families of a deceased fire inspector, Unions also provide academic scholarships and grants to the dependents, children or spouses of the deceased. Lastly, fire inspectors also receive 11 paid holidays per year.
The compensation and other benefits vary with different states and industries. The most common advantages include:
- Retirement: Retirement benefits for fire inspectors vary across different states. The member gets eligible for retirement benefits after completing 55 years of age with 25 years of service.
- Paid Leave: Paid leaves generally include short-term and long-term disability, sick leave or vacation pay.
- Tuition Assistance: Tuition assistance is provided to the employees who desire to further their education.
- Well-being: Fire Inspectors are considered a valuable resource for the community. They are equipped with exceptional programs to retain their morale, productivity, and safety. Training facilities are also provided to the fire inspectors to work out and maintain their physical fitness.
- Social programs: Various Unions and departments organize social events and get together to stay connected. The most popular event is the Christmas party held every year for the members and their families.