Skip navigation

Summary Report for:
33-2021.02 - Fire Investigators

Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.

Sample of reported job titles: Fire Investigator, Fire Marshal, Arson Investigator, State Fire Marshal, Fire Lieutenant, Fire Chief, Fire Captain, Investigator, Chief Arson Division, Fire and Explosion Investigator

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Examine fire sites and collect evidence such as glass, metal fragments, charred wood, and accelerant residue for use in determining the cause of a fire.
  • Photograph damage and evidence related to causes of fires or explosions to document investigation findings.
  • Analyze evidence and other information to determine probable cause of fire or explosion.
  • Package collected pieces of evidence in securely closed containers such as bags, crates, or boxes, to protect them.
  • Testify in court cases involving fires, suspected arson, and false alarms.
  • Prepare and maintain reports of investigation results, and records of convicted arsonists and arson suspects.
  • Subpoena and interview witnesses, property owners, and building occupants to obtain information and sworn testimony.
  • Coordinate efforts with other organizations such as law enforcement agencies.
  • Swear out warrants, and arrest and process suspected arsonists.
  • Test sites and materials to establish facts, such as burn patterns and flash points of materials, using test equipment.

back to top

Knowledge

Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

back to top

Skills

Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.

back to top

Abilities

Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

back to top

Work Activities

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

back to top

Work Context

Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Deal With External Customers — How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — How do the decisions an employee makes impact the results of co-workers, clients or the company?
In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?

back to top

Job Zone

Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, interviewers, and insurance sales agents.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

There are 2 recognized apprenticeable specialties associated with this occupation:
Arson and Bomb Investigator; Fire Marshall

To learn about specific apprenticeship opportunities, please consult the U.S. Department of Labor State Apprenticeship Information external site website.

For general information about apprenticeships, training, and partnerships with business, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship external site website.

back to top

Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
47   Some college, no degree
27   Associate's degree
14   High school diploma or equivalent

back to top

Interests

Interest code: IRC

Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

back to top

Work Styles

Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

back to top

Work Values

Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

back to top

Related Occupations

29-2041.00 Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook  
29-9012.00 Occupational Health and Safety Technicians   Green Occupation Green
33-1021.01 Municipal Fire Fighting and Prevention Supervisors
33-2021.01 Fire Inspectors
33-3021.01 Police Detectives
33-3021.02 Police Identification and Records Officers
33-3021.03 Criminal Investigators and Special Agents
33-3051.01 Police Patrol Officers Bright Outlook
33-3051.03 Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Bright Outlook
47-4011.00 Construction and Building Inspectors Green Occupation

back to top

Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages data collected from Fire Inspectors and Investigators.
Employment data collected from Fire Inspectors and Investigators.
Industry data collected from Fire Inspectors and Investigators.

Median wages (2012) $25.96 hourly, $53,990 annual
Employment (2012) 12,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 4,400
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

back to top

Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Fire Investigators

          mySkills myFuture

State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

back to top

Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

back to top