Fires damaged or destroyed 480,500 structures in 2009, causing more than $10 billion in damage and taking the lives of 2,695 civilians, according to the National Fire Protection Association. State, local, and national fire codes are designed to help reduce the number and severity of fires. Many communities employ highly trained and skilled fire fighters to protect their citizens from fires. Fire prevention officers work with community, business, and educational leaders to develop procedures for preventing fires from starting.
The mean national wage for full time fire prevention officers was $71,680 as of May 2009, according to the BLS. Their mean hourly wage was $34.46. The top 10 percent of fire prevention officers earned annual wages in excess of $109,750 while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $41,680 per year. The middle 50 percent of fire prevention officers in the U.S. earned between $53,820 and $87,190 per year with a median annual income of $68,250.
Wages for fire prevention officers may vary significantly based on the state the officer works in. Fire prevention officers who worked in Illinois earned the highest median annual salaries in the country at $104,020 as of May 2009, according to the BLS. Those who worked in New Jersey also earned median incomes of more than $100,000 per year. More fire prevention officers worked in California than in any other state. California-based officers earned a median annual income of $87,790. Fire prevention officers who worked in Mississippi earned the lowest median annual wages in the country at $39,910.
Fire prevention officers are often employed by local municipalities, and wages can vary widely even within a state or region. Fire prevention officers who worked in the Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, California Metropolitan Division earned the highest median annual wages for their occupation in the country at $140,130 while their counterparts in Chico, California earned a median annual income of $55,960 as of May 2009, according to the BLS. Fire prevention officers in the Dallas-Ft. Worth region of Texas earned a median annual income of more than $70,000 while those who worked in the non-metropolitan area of Northwestern Texas earned median annual wages of less than $48,000.
Fire prevention officers are usually first-line supervisors. They may assume many of the responsibilities of a fire chief in communities that do not have their own fire departments. New job opportunities for all types of fire fighters, including fire prevention officers, should grow by 19 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the BLS. The BLS expects competition for these positions to be keen. Candidates who have previous fire fighter training and certification as a paramedic or EMT may have an advantage.