Help With Starting a Career in the Fire Alarm Field

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Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:53 am

Hey Folks,

So I am currently at a dead end when it comes to figuring out how to get started with a job in the fire alarm field. I currently am finishing up my Senior year of high school, and am preparing to go off to college. There are basically two questions I would like to ask here. First of all, while I am in college, I would like to start working as a fire alarm technician. However, after doing a bit of research, I found out that most if not all of companies require at some type of prior experience in the field. I don’t have any experience in the field yet, so my question is what would I have to do to gain experience in the field before I become a technician? Would I have to train with a technician, and if so, how long would the training process take? In other words, what are the steps that I would have to take to become a technician, and how much time does that take?

My second question is that I would absolutely love to work with fire alarm systems for a career. My ideal career is designing either fire alarm systems for buildings or the components for these systems. I know that a job like this requires some sort of engineering degree, but I’m confused as to what specific degree I need for a job like this. (I would assume either mechanical or electrical engineering, but I’m not 100% sure). If anyone would be able to help me figure this out, that would be much appreciated. Thanks guys!
-Nick B.
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Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:32 am

Best thing to do is get your electrician license, and then go to a smaller company, and work your way up to the bigger companies like Simplex or Chubb Edwards
Life is like a free box of fire alarm parts, you never know what you are going to get
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Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:56 pm

Think bigger picture always. If you think a degree in Electrical Engineering is within your capabilities, go for it. It is such a wide field and you will gain such a variety of experience throughout the program that your potential career paths are limitless. If fire alarms don't work out - or who knows, you may discover something else you like - you would be well equipped to hold other positions.

When I started my EE degree, I imagined working in the design field of higher voltage systems. Now I am starting a position as an embedded firmware designer and analyst - embedded systems have become my thing. It's something I would have never considered right when I got into college, but it quickly grew on my - leave your mindset open for those other industries you may not even have considered yet.
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Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:10 pm

To add onto what Nick said: If you plan on pursuing an electrical/computer engineering degree (computer engineering is not the same as computer science) you HAVE to brush up on your calculus skills. Calculus is an integral part of engineering. If you didn't take AP Calc in high school you should consider taking some sort of summer class or other program where you can improve.

While digital logic and embedded systems classes may not require much calculus, your circuit theory and physics classes will demand it. Especially when you get into your later years and take signal processing classes involving Matlab scripts.

I know that this information isn't necessarily applicable to trade/technician work. However, if you plan on designing systems at a major fire alarm manufacturer, you should go down this path. Especially embedded systems.
nightfly287 -- Director of Sarcasm
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