How to Be a Fire Protection Engineer

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A fire protection engineer can be a satisfying career choice for certain types of people. The main responsibilities of a fire protection engineer include analyzing the causes and effects of fires, finding new ways to protect people and property from fires, designing systems to help control fires, and advising local officials about fire related issues. To be a fire protection engineer, you need excellent math, chemistry, and physics skills, as well as the ability to analyze situations and data.

  • Find a college that offers a bachelor’s degree in fire protection engineering. There are several throughout the country, including The University of California at Berkeley, Oklahoma State University, Virginia Tech, The University of Tennessee, The University of Texas at Austin, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of New Haven and University of Maryland at College Park.

  • Visit each university you’re considering. Learn more about the programs and the types of courses and practical training offered. Apply to those that you are most interested in. Apply to at least a few. Admission can be competitive.

  • Complete the bachelor’s degree program in fire protection engineering. You will be studying various subjects, including chemistry, physics, engineering, building structure, assessment methods, fire dynamics and problem solving.

  • Schedule and take the fundamentals of engineering exam or engineer in training exam. They're the same but known by different names depending on where you take it. The test is taken through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Register for the exam and find a testing center through the NCEES website.

  • Work as a fire protection engineer for four years. You must have four years of work experience before becoming licensed. Industries you can work in include government, research, insurance, and manufacturing.

  • Get your professional engineer license. This requires four years of work experience and passing an eight hour, 80-question multiple choice test. The PE license exam is administered by state.

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