1. #1
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    Question what education do i need to get for an arson investigator?

    my dream is to be an arson investigator and help prosecute the people who start the fires ( In Arizona ). im currently going for my firefighter 1 and 2 with IFSAC. what next? fire science degree or go to classes through the state or just try to get hired and them educate me? i want to do the one that will really stand out and give me a good chance to get the job. i know its going to be years before i get to do something like this but i know i need to start now. any fire investigators out there please drop me a line. thanks

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    Look into getting your degree. The University of New Haven has an excellent Bachelors Program in Fire/Arson Investigation that requires a minor in Criminal Justice. There are also a number of other great programs out there that you can look into. I don't know what the requirements in Arizona are to become an Arson Investigator so I can't help you there. I would get in contact with your Local or State Fire Marshal's Offices and find out what they recommend. I hope this helps

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    Default FI Education

    Education is a great thing, but I suggest you do all you can to get experience. This may mean finding an investigator who will let you tag along to observe. And even in your role as a firefighter, start looking around, listening, and learning what you can. Join your states IAAI chapter and read Kirks, 921, and the IAAI magazine. My opinion, but while education is nice, experience is a terrific learning opportunity.

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    Start here:

    www.cfitrainer.net

    Free, web-based training, sponsored by the IAAI. Credit towards CFI exam application. It is absolutely the best fire investigation training site on the web.

    Your goal should not be focued on education or experience. Your goal should be on putting together a well-rounded package of education, training and practical experience leading to CERTIFICATION.

    http://www.firearson.com/cfi/index.asp

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    My point wasn't that education was all important. It is my opinion that having an understanding of what fire is, how it behaves, etc., is important rather than jumping into cause and origin. For example, when I was taking my course for fire investigation, those students who didn't have an understanding of basic fire science and behavior, had a difficult time understanding what was being discussed in the various classes dealing with fire behavior. I agree with George that a "well-rounded package of education, training and practical experience" is essential, but you need to start somewhere, and having that basic understanding is necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrossBro1 View Post
    My point wasn't that education was all important. It is my opinion that having an understanding of what fire is, how it behaves, etc., is important rather than jumping into cause and origin. For example, when I was taking my course for fire investigation, those students who didn't have an understanding of basic fire science and behavior, had a difficult time understanding what was being discussed in the various classes dealing with fire behavior. I agree with George that a "well-rounded package of education, training and practical experience" is essential, but you need to start somewhere, and having that basic understanding is necessary.
    Of course it is. But having an understanding of fire science does not make you a fire investigator. Focusing on fire science will not make you a fire investigator. In the fire investigation class you took, you should have discussed a wide range of topics from building construction to legal concepts. A good knowledge of all of them are essential to becoming a fire investigator. Finishing all the classes on www.cfitrainer.net should give you a good idea of the numerous areas of expertise a fire investigator must have.

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    Once you are on the job, got to the State Fire School (held each year in Mesa), and take the Basic Arson Investigator class. (Check with the State Fire Marshall's Office.) I took it this year, it looks like a great way to get started.

    But then, I came to the fire service after 27 years as a Federal Agent (with no arson investigations on my resume).

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    Default other options

    Your department may be willing to send you to the national fire accademy which has several diferent investigation classes available. The advanced fire/arson investigation course is now a joint effort between the NFA and ATF.

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