According to the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), some of the benefits and opportunities of becoming a fire protection engineer include:

The power to make a difference

  • By becoming a fire protection engineer, you can make the buildings we live and work in safer for everyone.

High income and job security

  • Fire protection engineers have significantly higher starting salaries than do college graduates with bachelor’s degrees in many other fields. The median starting salary for a fire protection engineer is nearly $65,000.

Working with other talented people

  • Fire protection engineering is a team effort. As a fire protection engineer you may be working on projects with experts in many different fields and backgrounds, from architects to contractors to designers.

Working anywhere

  • Fire Protection Engineers work everywhere: in big and small cities, urban areas and rural communities, even remote wilderness areas. Some work in business offices or classrooms, others in factories or research labs or onsite at a building location.

In addition, SFPE conducted a benefits and salary survey in 2010 and found that fire protection engineers earned a median income of $110,500 in 2009 – a 12.5% increase over the previous study conducted in 2007. The survey also found that it is common for senior-level fire protection engineers to make over $120,000 per year.

While there are many reasons to become a fire protection consultant, there are still only a handful of colleges and universities throughout the United States that offer fire protection engineering degree programs. As a result, there is a low supply of properly educated, trained, and experienced fire protection engineers. So while the few fire protection engineers in the market have countless career opportunities to choose from, engineering firms have to compete to hire the much needed talent.

What is a firm, like Harrington Group, to do?

With such a low supply, it may not be possible to find an appropriate candidate. Just like fire protection solutions, firms need to seek out alternative paths to achieve their goals. But beyond hiring an experienced fire protection consultant from the start, there are other ways to develop the talent necessary for the job, we just have to expand our focus and see the big picture.

At Harrington Group, we’ve concluded that through investing in training, community involvement, and experience, we can develop our own fire protection consultant in-house. To fulfill a niche need within the fire protection services industry, we’ve decided that we will turn an inexperienced college graduate into a Fire and Explosion Protection Engineering Consultant. Ultimately, they will be responsible for helping us develop solutions that involve the handling, processing, and storage of flammable/combustible liquids and combustible dusts.

…and so begins the non-traditional path to becoming a fire protection engineer.

By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.