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Fire safety engineer

Fire safety engineers ensure that buildings are designed to keep people, property and the environment safe from the dangers of fire.

Annual Salary

£26,000 to £70,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

40 to 42 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 0.2% fewer Fire safety engineer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

Depending on your role and where you work, you could:

  • use computer modelling to predict how fires start and spread
  • make recommendations about building design and materials to prevent fires starting and spreading
  • visit construction sites to oversee works
  • give advice on fire safety systems and procedures like sprinklers and emergency exits
  • liaise with local authorities, construction professionals and architects about fire safety
  • keep up to date with new fire regulations and laws
  • inspect equipment, buildings and materials to make sure they are safe
  • write fire investigation reports

Working environment

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

You could work in an office or on a construction site.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in engineering followed by an undergraduate or postgraduate specialism in Fire Safety Engineering.

Alternatively you may be able to take a specialist undergraduate degree in Structural and Fire Safety Engineering.

Some courses offer a work placement. This will give you relevant work experience and can help you to make useful industry contacts.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

You can take a higher national certificate (HNC) or diploma (HND) course at college which may help you to find work as a trainee engineer. You'll then do further training on the job to specialise in fire safety.

Relevant college courses include:

  • Level 4 HNC in Engineering
  • Level 5 HND in Engineering

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national certificate or higher national diploma
For more information

You could complete a fire safety engineer degree apprenticeship.

Once you have successfully completed your degree apprenticeship, you may be eligible to become an associate or member of the Institute of Fire Safety Engineers (IFE).

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information

If you are already working in the fire related sector, you may be able to take an IFE professional qualification like:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Fire Engineering Science
  • Level 4 Certificate in Fire Engineering Science
  • Level 5 Diploma in Fire Engineering Design

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • have a full driving licence

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Institute of Fire Safety Engineers (IFE) for professional development and networking opportunities.

Further information

Most fire safety engineers work within the construction industry for engineering consultancies or house building companies.

There may be opportunities in the insurance industry or in local authorities to work in risk assessment or fire investigation.

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With further professional study, you could gain technician, incorporated or chartered engineering status, depending on your level of academic qualification.

You could specialise in a specific building type like commercial, residential or retail.

With experience you could become a self-employed consultant.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • knowledge of physics
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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