5 Reasons to Enter the Field of Fire Protection Engineering

Fire is a danger that can impact entire communities. For example, each year in the United States more than 3,000 people die, thousands are injured, and billions of dollars are lost as a result of fire. To combat these significant losses, fire protection engineers are using science and technology to make our world safer from fire.

Fire protection engineers work for an important purpose: to protect the environment, property, and most importantly, people, from the dangers of fire. This makes becoming a fire protection engineer a rewarding career choice. Here are five reasons to enter the field of fire protection engineering:

#1: Fire Protection Engineers Make a Difference

Because fire protection engineering is a unique profession that focuses on protecting people, property, and the environment from the ravages of fire, many fire protection engineers find job satisfaction knowing they are making a difference.

“The one thing that really pulled me into the field was the human element, knowing that the work that we do impacts the life safety of people in a building,” said Teresa Chung, a fire protection engineer from the San Francisco Bay Area. “I really wanted to have a positive impact on society, and so fire protection engineering drew me in.”

#2: Fire Protection Engineers are In Demand

Despite the staggering economy, fire protection engineers are in high demand and short supply. As such, employers find it difficult to recruit qualified engineers.

“The market for students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in fire protection engineering is very strong,” said Chair of the Fire Protection Engineering Department at the University of Maryland, College Park, Jim Milke. “Many of our graduates this spring had multiple offers.”

#3: Fire Protection Engineers Work on Interesting Projects

Fire protection engineers have the opportunity to work on a wide range of important projects, ranging from designing a high-profile Las Vegas casino, to protecting nuclear power plants, to designing a fire protection system for a significant part of history in a well-known museum.

“Being a fire protection engineer is very satisfying. I do something different every day, and I am continually learning and challenged by the projects,” said William Fletcher, a fire engineering consultant at Aon Fire Protection Engineering. “I get to work with a variety of people and projects in a field I really enjoy every day.”

#4: Fire Protection Engineers are Well-Paid

According to a survey conducted in 2012 by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), the median USA total compensation for fire protection engineers is $113,748. More information about this survey can be found at http://goo.gl/fkMjcd.

“Because of the overwhelming demand for fire protection engineers, they are among the highest paid engineers in the world,” said SFPE Engineering Program Manager, Chris Jelenewicz. “With a career in fire protection engineering, you receive a stable salary and the satisfaction of keeping the world and its inhabitants safer from fire.” 

#5: Fire Protection Engineers have Diverse Career Options

Fire protection engineers are employed internationally by: private consulting firms, governmental agencies, large corporations, fire departments, insurance firms, design firms, and local building code officials.

“Fire protection engineers perform a wide range of roles such as designing building systems that detect fires, control the spread of fires, control the movement of smoke, and provide a safe means for building occupants to egress a building;” said Jelenewicz. “They also conduct fire safety research and investigate fires to discover how they spread, why protective measures failed, and how those measures could have been designed more effectively.”

To find out why fire protection engineering is a rewarding career choice or to get a free copy of The SFPE Guide to Careers in Fire Protection Engineering, visit http://careers.sfpe.org.

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