Salaries Remain High for Fire Protection Engineers

Despite the lethargic economic rebound, salaries in one industry are still holding strong. The median USA total compensation for fire protection engineers is now $110,500, a 12.5% increase since the previous survey was conducted in 2007. Fire protection engineering uses science and technology to make the world safer from the destructive impacts of fire.

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 (0-6 years of experience) with a bachelor’s degree is $68,700 per year. That figure jumps to $78,000 when a person with that level of experience has a master’s degree.

The median income for a mid-level fire protection engineer (6-10 years of experience) is $82,000 per year, but it reaches $100,000 per year if he or she has a master’s degree. 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,” says Chris Jelenewicz, engineering program manager with SFPE. “There are so many opportunities for fire protection engineers to make a rewarding and lucrative living.”

The 2010 SFPE Compensation Survey results indicate approximately 4.2% annual compounded growth rate in total compensation over the past three years. This rate is above U.S. national averages reported by The Total Rewards Association—World at Work for years: 2008 at 3.9%, 2009 at 2.2%, and an estimated 2010 at 2.8% (based on the association’s annual salary budget survey for responses for exempt positions).

The survey polled 658 professionals practicing in the profession of fire protection engineering worldwide. Income data is based on earnings (salary plus bonuses) in 2009. The full report for this survey can be found at the SFPE website.


  1. Interesting data for sure. The fire protection field has always been a good and stable career path and obviously a FPE is at the top of the food chain in that industry, with the exception of senior management from fire protection contractors.

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