People who wish to become a fire safety consultant can start by gaining experience in related fields, such as fire safety. Next, a fire safety certification program is typically required. After these basic fire protection consultant requirements are met, locating an entry-level job that provides experience and additional training usually completes the process.
Several different fields of study can be utilized as background work to become a fire safety consultant. Fire safety itself, through a volunteer program, fire station course, or a related curriculum is generally the most helpful. Working in insurance claims, architecture and civil engineering fields, and other mathematical backgrounds can be helpful as well. A general knowledge of building codes is required, though usually taught during a certification program.
Fire protection consultant programs are widely available. Depending on the location of the applicant, an accredited institution offering federally or state-recognized certification is often required. Prior to enrolling in such a program, applicants must usually have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Various levels of proficiency will typically be awarded throughout one's journey to become a fire safety consultant. Each level of certification will allow the student more freedom and expertise to perform certain duties while he or she continues his or her program of study. A fire investigator who obtains his or her first level of certification, for example, may be hired by a company to work once his or her second level is complete.
Students can expect extensive coursework and written exams in a classroom setting while obtaining their certification. While this schooling can provide a person who wishes to become a fire safety consultant with a steady foundation in fire knowledge, and an introduction to the nuts and bolts of fire safety prevention and inspection, it does not always provide hands-on experience. Such experiences are typically provided during a graduate's first job as a consultant. This is the reason why a strong background in similar areas is considered very helpful.
Consultants who anticipate moving on into higher pay levels should plan on attending additional classes, certification training programs, and other continuing education courses. The average person who wishes to become a fire safety consultant begins his or her work experience as a fire insurance claims adjuster. While this may not be the ultimate goal of the consultant, it is an optimal entry level position, where the consultant can increase his or her knowledge about fire safety and the inspection industry.