What is an Arson Investigator?
Fire is such a destructive force. It is hard to make sense of anything from a pile of charcoal. This knowledge is what leads some people to commit fire arson.
This is where arson investigators come in. While the fire
investigator is figuring out what caused the fire, the arson
investigator’s job is to figure out who’s done it. In the course of
doing an investigation, the arson investigator will perform the
1. Interview the accuser to determine why the accuser feels arson has been committed
2. Interview witnesses, including firefighters, to gather facts
3. Dig through the debris to gather evidence
4. Reconstruct and document the fire scene
5. Consult with insurance companies to help determine motives
6. Consult with experts
7. Prepare report of his or her findings
8. Assist in the prosecution of offenders by testifying in court
Arson investigators must follow federal, state, and local laws when conducting their investigation. Violations of these laws could make their evidence inadmissible in court. Needless to say, this could lead to an arsonist being set free.
How to Become an Arson Investigator:
Proving arson is difficult at best. This is why it is hard to hire somebody off the street to become an arson investigator. Most arson investigators start out from the law enforcement and firefighting fields.
Most organizations that hire arson investigators advise that you start out by volunteering at your local fire department as a firefighter. This way you can begin to understand the dynamics of fire. While doing this, you can start taking arson investigation courses. These courses will help you get certification as an arson investigator.
There are two organizations that can certify you as an arson investigator. One of them is the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI). The other is the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI).
ATF is one of the organizations that hire arson investigators. They require that their agents have at least a bachelor’s degree. They will hire you with this degree and then send you to their arson training academy.
Arson Investigator Salary:
Arson investigators have one of the highest average salaries we have ever seen. Figures from Indeed.com show their average pay per year is $82,000. The highly experienced ones make over $100,000 per year.
The reason for the above high average salary is understandable. In most cases, you have to be experienced in other careers to get the arson investigator job. Like we said above, the preferred careers are law enforcement or firefighting.
If you are interested in a law enforcement career to eventually become an arson investigator, you may want to consider joining the ATF agency. This will require your getting a bachelor degree. You should consider getting your degree in criminal justice, policing, or law enforcement.
There are online schools that will help you get a bachelor’s degree in policing, law enforcement, or criminal justice without putting a hold to your current life. One of the schools is Colorado Technical University. Follow this link to get their free no obligation information.
Criminal Justice Careers