Fire Protection Engineers Hold Some of Highest Paid Engineering Jobs – Expert Estimates Five Job Openings Per Graduate

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Demand is strong for fire protection engineers, with one expert estimating that there are five job openings for every new graduate. Median salary for an entry level fire protection engineer is $55,500, and can approach $100,000 with 6 - 8 years of experience and a master's degree. The Careers in Fire Protection web site offers information on college degree programs, available scholarships, and distance learning opportunities.

The current environment is extraordinarily favorable for our profession.

As the US job market continues to show signs of strength, one career in particular is thriving: fire protection engineering.

In fact, the job market for fire protection engineers has remained strong for years due to the disparity between the large number of job openings and relatively small pool of potential employees.

Fire protection engineering is a unique profession that uses science and technology to make our world safer from the destructive impacts of fire.

“Conservatively we estimate five positions are available per graduate,” says Professor Marino di Marzo, chairman of the University of Maryland’s Fire Protection Engineering Department. “Last January, we had one graduate receive seven job offers.”

The overwhelming demand for qualified fire protection engineers has meant many recent grads have received some of the highest paid engineering jobs in the country.

According to a survey conducted by the Bethesda, MD – based Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), the median income for an entry-level fire protection engineer (0-2 years of experience) is $55,500 per year. That figure jumps to $65,000 when a person with that level of experience has a master’s degree.

The median income for a mid-level fire protection engineer (6-8 years of experience) is $72,500 per year, but it can approach $100,000 per year if he or she has a master’s degree.

These numbers are impressive, especially when compared with the national average for all engineers of $63,060 per year.

Fire protection engineers with work experience upwards of 15 years earn the greatest salaries in the field. It is common for senior-level fire protection engineers to make over $120,000 per year.

Across a broad cross section of industries, from large corporations and private consulting to the fire service and all levels of government, fire protection engineers design ways to protect people and property from fire.

“There are so many opportunities for fire protection engineers to make a rewarding and lucrative living,” says Chris Jelenewicz, engineering program manager with SFPE. “The current environment is extraordinarily favorable for our profession.”

The survey conducted in 2005 by SFPE polled more than 1,200 professionals practicing in the profession of fire protection engineering. Income data is based on earnings (salary plus bonuses) in 2004. The executive summary for this survey can be found at

What is a fire protection engineer?

According to the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, a fire protection engineer applies science and engineering principles to protect people, homes, workplaces, the economy and the environment from the devastating effects of fires. Fire protection engineers analyze how buildings are used, how fires start and grow, and how fires affect people and property. They use the latest technologies to design systems to control fires, alert people to danger, and provide means for escape. Fire protection engineers also work closely with other professionals, including engineers of other disciplines, architects, state and local building officials, and local fire departments to build fire safe communities.    

About Society of Fire Protection Engineers

Organized in 1950, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers is the professional society for engineers involved in the field of fire protection engineering. The purposes of SFPE are to advance the science and practice of fire protection engineering, maintain a high ethical standing among its members and foster fire protection engineering education. SFPE’s worldwide members include engineers in private practice, in industry, and in local, regional and national government. Chapters are located in Canada, China, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and the United States.

More information about a career in fire protection engineering can be found at


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