Thread: advancement

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    Alright, I'm kinda new to this site and I was wondering after being a firefighter is there any career advancement after that, like arson investigator or marshal. What college degrees do you need?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nitrotiger1 View Post
    Alright, I'm kinda new to this site and I was wondering after being a firefighter is there any career advancement after that, like arson investigator or marshal. What college degrees do you need?
    The answer to your first question is yes, of course there is advancement. The second question depends on the agency you work for. Using your example of a marshal, all my agency requires is the sate fire officer, investigator and inspector certifications. No degree required.
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    First, welcome to the site and welcome to the fire service.

    Yes, of course there is advancement within your department as I'm sure you are aware of. Depending on your set up in your department, county, and state, you could "specialize" in investigation. Some areas have a task force that do all the fire investigations for departments. Some departments have their own investigators, some contract to private companies or agencies. You have to find out if your department has an investigator or who/how they do investigations. Titles are different too. Some call them inspectors, some are investigators, some are fire marshals, etc.

    If you want to pursue the investigator side of the fire service, there are different ways you can do this. Your Chief can designate you as his/her department investigator which gives you power to investigate fires, depending on your state rules and regulations. Again, depending upon how you are set up, you could do the initial fire investigation but once it turns criminal, it would be turned over to your local law enforcement. Or, if you are set up like my particular department, I have the authority to investigate the fire (origin & cause) and then work side by side with my local law enforcement to investigate the criminal side by doing interviews, evidence collection, obtaining warrants, and ultimately making arrests. Again, check with your local set up on how it works in your area.

    As far as education...a good fire investigator will have good firefighting experience. Several years. Also, if this going to be your full time job, you should have a degree in something related to investigation. I would say at least a Bachelor's of something related. Also, to be a CFI (Certified Fire Investigator) Basic arson/fire investigation training, evidence collection training, interviewing/interrogation training, and basic law training are minimum.

    Depending on what you are looking for is going to determine what training is required. If you want to investigate for a private insurance company, that is a whole seperate relm that is related as well. Like I said, check with your Chief on how your department gets your fires investigated and see how you can get involved.

    George...maybe you can expand on this??
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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