Fire Protection Engineer

A fire protection engineer designs and develops systems and products that prevent fire damage. They research the causes of fires, decide on the best fire protection methods, and coordinate with experts and designers. They also conduct fire investigations and produce reports, as well as facilitate fire prevention training. Their duties include developing technical criteria in fire safety design, reviewing and executing shop drawings and construction specifications, and ensuring compliance with fire codes and standards. They also assist in the development of fire suppression and detection systems for new construction.

How Long Does It Takes To Become A Fire Protection Engineer?

It typically takes 5 – 6 years to become a fire protection engineer:

Inspectors looking at fire pump
Years 1-4: Obtaining a Bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as engineering, fire science, or chemistry.
Years 5-6: Accumulating the necessary work experience in designing, implementing, and maintaining fire protection systems.

Fire Protection Engineering Info

Educational Requirements

Most Common Fire Protection Engineer Degrees

  • Bachelor's 69.6 %
  • Master's 12.1 %
  • Associate 11.4 %
  • High School Diploma 4.8 %
  • Diploma 1.1 %
  • Certificate 0.7 %
  • Doctorate 0.4%

Start To Develop Specific Fire Protection Engineer Skills

Fire protection engineers need the ability to interpret and apply city fire codes and regulations, perform on-site surveys to determine necessary design changes, and review shop drawings and construction specifications for accuracy. They also need to develop specifications for fire suppression and detection systems for new construction, and be able to analyze and verify hydraulic calculations to ensure adequate water delivery in the event of a fire condition emergency. Fire protection engineers must also be able to coordinate with electrical and HVAC teams, perform factory acceptance testing and commissioning of fire suppression systems, and provide support for international building code development and adoption of local amendments.

Complete Relevant Fire Protection Engineer Training And Internships

Accountants spend an average of 1-2 years on post-employment, on-the-job training. New fire protection engineers learn the skills and techniques required for their job and employer during this time.

Research Fire Protection Engineer Duties And Responsibilities

Fire protection engineers are responsible for conducting on-site surveys to determine necessary design changes, updating and interpreting city fire codes, and developing technical criteria for the design of facilities such as the DOE LLW Processing Facility. They review and execute shop drawings and construction specifications, check drawings for accuracy, and develop courses on hazardous materials for inspection personnel. They also prepare designs of automatic sprinkler systems for commercial buildings, acquire deep understanding of wet systems, dry systems, diesel and electric fire pumps, and work with internal teams and external vendors with construction project management, permit acquisitions, and environmental/code compliance. They conduct fire code compliance follow-ups, inspect and test fire and life safety systems, and analyze and verify hydraulic calculations to ensure adequate water delivery in the event of a fire condition emergency. They also review vendor bids, evaluate conformity to project specifications and safety codes, perform reviews of existing facilities to determine adequacy of fire safety features, and use CAD and Revit to design and set up drawings.

University Programs

California Polytechnic State University

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407;


Master of Science in Fire Protection Engineering

Cal Poly offers an online graduate program that leads to a Master of Science in Fire Protection Engineering degree. Students completing the program will possess the technical knowledge, skills and tools required to practice fire protection engineering in a variety of local, national and international settings. Upon completion of this program, students will possess the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue professional certification and licensure in the fire protection engineering discipline.

Cal Poly also offers two online graduate certificate programs. Both graduate certificate programs provide students with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to solve fire protection engineering problems and to develop fire safety design solutions in a variety of professional settings. The FPE Applications graduate certificate program is a four course sequence that help students be successful as a fire protection engineer with a focus on the code-based or prescriptive requirements. The FPE Science graduate certificate program is a four course sequence that helps students be successful as a fire protection engineer with a focus on fire science. This understanding of fire science is applied to a performance-based analysis.


Case Western Reserve University

10900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106;

Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering with Specialization in Fire Science and Engineering

Explore and learn how to apply the fundamental principles of fire protection engineering, fire behavior and dynamics, protection and suppression systems, polymeric materials structure and more.

Eastern Kentucky University

521 Lancaster Ave, Richmond, KY 40475;

Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Protection & Safety Engineering

Eastern Kentucky University is one of only a handful of colleges and universities in the nation to offer a comprehensive fire protection & safety engineering technology degree – and it’s available online. This unique program is ABET-accredited and prepares you to use your knowledge of fire prevention and suppression to design and recommend equipment to assist organizations in safeguarding life and property against fire, explosion, and related hazards.

Focused on leadership building and rooted in the latest science and technology, EKU Online’s fire protection & safety engineering technology degree provides the skills needed to understand how fire behaves, the best methods for preventing fires and how to minimize fire’s impact.


Benefits of EKU Online’s Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection & Safety Engineering Technology:
  • Accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET,
  • Nationally renowned instructors are former fire chiefs, fire marshals, engineers, and investigators, recognized for their professional achievements and success in the field
  • Free textbooks and course materials for undergraduate students beginning in Fall 2021
  • Free online tutoring and career services assistance
  • Accelerated 8-week terms
  • Courses begin multiple times per year
  • Generous credit transfer policy
  • Reduced tuition for active-duty service members
  • Dedicated advisor from application to graduation

Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, OK 74074;

The Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology (FPSET) Bachelor of Science Program

The Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology (FPSET) Bachelor of Science program began at Oklahoma State University in 1937. The FPSET curriculum prepares graduates to assess risk and reduce loss potential in a variety of applications. The demand by business and industry for risk control specialists has resulted in the evolution of the program that now places emphasis on fire protection, safety, and occupational/environmental health. The FPST program prepares students for careers including fire protection engineering, systems design, safety specialists, or authorities having jurisdiction. Students receive a world-class education that includes applied learning through hands-on laboratory activities, emphasizing theoretical principles learned in the classroom.


Master of Science program in Fire Safety and Explosion Protection

Additionally, FPSET has a Master of Science program in Fire Safety and Explosion Protection, a natural extension of the Bachelor of Science program, preparing students for research or professional practice in fields such as fire protection engineering, explosion protection, fire and explosion hazard control, and process safety. This program is designed for both those with a fire protection background or other engineering disciplines. Students have the opportunity to grow in their knowledge through either a creative component or thesis route.

University of Maryland, College Park

College Park, MD 20742;


Fast Track Your Career in the Fire Protection Engineering Industry

Trained fire protection experts are in high demand and a masters or professional certificate in fire protection engineering from the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering will prepare you to start an exciting new career or advance in your current career. Maryland Applied Graduate Engineering offers courses taught by the university’s foremost experts in fire protection engineering as well as international experts from business and industry.

Advisors work with admitted students to develop a course of study tailored to students’ professional interests. Students also choose whether to complete their coursework completely online or on campus at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. Fire protection engineering courses offered explore basic processes of fire behavior, prediction of fire development, the combustion of materials and furnishings, the effects of fire on structures and the environment, smoke management, evacuation and tenability analysis and the law.

Help fund your education with need-based loans, work-study and grants, available for citizens and permanent residents, as well as administrative graduate assistantships.


University of North Carolina at Charlotte

9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223;


Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Protection Engineering Technology

The Fire Protection Engineering Technology program at UNC Charlotte is one of a few programs in the United States that offers a curriculum that prepares students to join the workforce as a fire protection engineer or technologist. The courses offered in FPET focus on core competencies of a fire protection engineer including Fire Science, Fire Protection Systems, Fire Protection Analysis, Human Behavior and Evacuation.

Graduates of fire protection engineering programs can serve in various roles in industry due to the interdisciplinary nature of the field. These roles include but are not limited to fire consultants, fire and explosion investigators, and fire protection engineers or technologists. Also, you can find fire protection engineers or technologists working as government employees or in fire departments, fire equipment and system manufacturers, facilities managers, insurance industry representatives, research laboratories, university staff etc.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA, 01609;


M.S. / Ph.D. in Fire Protection Engineering

WPI's Fire Protection Engineering Department drives significant cutting-edge research. It develops real-world solutions to contemporary fire safety problems through its state-of-the-art fire laboratories. Its graduates are highly trained, influential, in-demand experts—are you ready to become one?

Several online and on-campus graduate programs offer flexibility for those seeking a degree in fire protection engineering.

Learn from internationally renowned faculty who are recognized for their innovative research, professional practice-oriented curriculum, and their focus on making the world safer. Tackle challenging questions about fire behavior and our response to it. Students in the campus-based programs work in advanced facilities. Online students can practice out in the field immediately applying their coursework to real-world challenges. All students work to gain and create knowledge that informs and shapes regulatory policy, building and system design, industrial processes, first responder operations, and product performance standards.

Thesis and non-thesis options are available, and global internships are available to part- and full-time students. Learn more to find the right program for you.


Potential Career Paths

Average Fire Protection Engineer Salary

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