Fire investigators are former firefighters who research the cause of fires. They collect evidence and interview witnesses in order to compile reports to determine whether a fire was caused by criminal negligence or arson. Fire investigators may be asked to testify in court or serve as expert witnesses. Fire investigators are often employed by the state, but may also serve police departments and insurance companies.
Fire investigators typically hold at least a fire science as well as a degree in engineering or law enforcement. A degree in civil, chemical, or mechanical engineering is of increasing importance.
Employment is expected to grow by 12% over the next decade making fire investigation one of the fastest growing occupations. However, there is intense competition. The best applicants will be physically fit, have high scores on required entrance exams, and hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in a related field.