Fire Alarm Careers?

I was talking to my dad about career choices a few days ago. I had done some research, and I found out that to become a fire alarm technician, I would have to take the two-year electrical course at a college nearby. My dad says the first year is general electronics, and the second year is where you branch off into your specialty.

Then, I learned that in Canada, an average salary for a fire alarm technician is between 30,000 and 35,000 dollars - nowhere near enough.

My dad told me that Red River College allows graduates to transfer to a university in Thunder Bay for a two-year course to become an electrical engineer. My dad (an electrical technologist) told me that a career I should pursue is becoming a field engineer.

Is there such a title in the fire alarm industry? If not, are there any other high-paying jobs in the industry that have a lot of in-the-field, hands-on work?

tl;dr version: Are there any high-paying, hands-on jobs in the fire alarm industry?

Depending on whether or not a salary as a Fire Alarm Technician is sufficient enough for you, as salaries do vary depending on the city and state/province, there is always an option of becoming an electrician an eventually specializing in fire alarms. Now in some places an electrical engineer can greatly benefit you in the electrical world; for example in my state, Virginia, anyone with a degree in electrical engineering only needs one year of on-the-job electrical work in order to become a Journeyman electrician afterwards, one can apply for a Master’s License. I point this out because having a master electrician license allows for flexibility in the electrical field to which one can specialize in a specific aspect related to electricity, in this case fire alarms. I am not familiar with what a field engineer so I can’t offer my two cents. Perhaps someone else will provide a better answer as this is my almost intended plan after finishing college in about three years, I can’t give a thorough analysis as I haven’t had a job in this field yet but. Simply put, yes there are higher paying jobs in the Fire related industry, but look at broader options in the electrical industry and determine what you can and would enjoy doing, keep looking into the electrical engineering degree program, and remember that moving somewhere else after college is always an option, because the jobs are out there, they just aren’t always as many opportunities in smaller cities.

Yes those jobs exist but you need to work for a major fire alarm installer or for the fire alarm manufacture. In my company, they are called Application Specialist (entry-level which is what you should look for) then moving to Application Engineer or Systems Engineer. These positions require a electronic or electrical engineering degree. They split their time in the field and back in the office. You can specialize in certain product lines (we have a E3 Series expert) or installation (we have a fire alarm programming expert).

Pay in a entry level (this is you) will start in the mid $40k then grow to $80k after 10 years of experience. If you love your career, pay shouldn’t be a factor.

These positions are ALWAYS in demand as fire alarm systems get more complicated and bring in new technologies (fiber optics, IP, computer workstations, etc)

Have a look at this topic – we had a similar discussion a while back.

<URL url="Recommended High School/College Paths for Fire Alarms text=“viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6315”>Recommended High School/College Paths for Fire Alarms

If you are interested in working for a manufacturer, you already have a major advantage. Knowledge of the products. There are very few (almost none) applicants that have any knowledge what-so-ever of fire alarm systems. Companies always have to factor in the time to “train” new hires, no matter the level of experience they have in their background (hardware / software / marketing / etc). I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve been part of where the applicant has absolutely no knowledge of the industry.

So you see, your knowledge and interest in fire alarm systems already gives you an advantage.

Next, figure out what interests you most: Hardware, Software, Sales, etc…

Focus your studies on that aspect.

If you are interested in the technical / engineering field. Find out about UL268 and UL864. These are the standards the industry uses for Smoke Detectors (268) and Fire Alarm Control Panels (864). Being familiar with the standards (not necessarily an expert mind you), again tells your employer that you are serious about this field. This is yet another bit of knowledge that companies have to train their employees. With at least the knowledge of what these standards mean, you get yet another big advantage.

Depending on where your interest lies and what role you wish to take and what company you work for, the salary range can vary quite a bit.

For the real salary numbers, check out the manufacturers websites for job postings. Many times they will list a salary range (not always).

Also, during your college breaks, consider working as an intern for any of the manufacterers. the pay isn’t always the greatest, but the bullet on your resume will help bigtime after graduation.

Check out these sites for what is out there…




You could go many ways that has been stated here on the forum but one way is to go solo and start your own business. This may sound scary but my friends and I are in the process and it is a very good idea for a fire alarm enthusiast and a business man. My current small “company” it’s not a real company yet but we call it that. We offer to repair fire alarm systems in small bldgs. I have certification from a local fire alarm company that trained me. We also remove old systems and sell the parts. We also have installed small systems in homes and have helped many people in the community out as well. It is a work in progress but it is fun and if you love to do it then do it!

Outside of being factory trained on a specific system you were working on, you’d need a few years of experience in the industry to get the appropriate NICET certs you’d need for this. Or hire a guy with them already. You really need about 5 years with a fire alarm company before you can break off on your own without a massive amount of liability.

Yes correct I in no way am a professional I do small work for freinds of mine I hope to work my way up and then break off onto my own