The last 3 decades have seen an increasing number of jobs requiring college degrees. To make matters worse for job seekers, many entry level positions are asking for prior experience. Education and experience are important but passing over great job candidates lacking in those two areas is shortsighted. Fortunately, the fire protection industry doesn’t force unnecessary degrees on job candidates. Here’s a list of jobs that don’t require degrees in our industry.
- Fire Safety Inspector – Certification. Yes. Degree. No. If you’re willing to learn government and NFPA codes and standards then this is a great entry level job in fire protection. Training can range from fire extinguishers to fire sprinklers and suppression systems to fire alarms. It simply depends on how far you want to go in the business and what interests you. Do you like mechanical work? Then you probably want to work in fire extinguishers, kitchen hood systems, or even fire sprinklers. If you like troubleshooting electronics then fire alarms and low-voltage electronics is a solid career option.
- Kitchen Hood Cleaner – Some restaurants work up a ton of grease in their hood vents in a short amount of time which means frequent cleaning and sometimes a system flush. Even during the 2020 pandemic, restaurants kept busy with online orders keeping hood cleaners busy too.
- Fire & Safety Manager Track:
- Service Manager – Again, training in NFPA codes is the key for this job along with knowledge in multiple fire safety disciplines. If you’re good with routing and organizing schedules for yourself and others then you could do this job just fine.
- Branch Manager – Managing your own time is one thing but managing a whole branch takes skills—but these can be learned outside the classroom. Management classes are beneficial, but we find simply building and practicing good communication skills works wonders.
- Regional Vice President – Taking branch management to the next level requires not only juggling of personalities but also multiple state requirements if you’re overseeing a region.
- Sales Estimator – If you enjoy sales and are good with job costing then you can quote complex estimates to customers. Requests for Quotes might include designs for kitchen systems, special hazard fire suppression, and sprinklers. You need solid code and technical knowledge, such as what’s required in sprinkler design, but on-the-job training can take care of that.
Choosing a job in the fire protection industry has many of the elements the modern job seeker is looking for.
- It saves lives!
- It’s fairly stable employment, weathering recessions better than other industries.
- It’s full of transferable skills.
- It doesn’t require a degree.