Fire protection engineers are in hot demand all over the world. Fire protection engineers must test and understand every building, vehicle and industrial or consumer product to guarantee human and environmental safety. Everyone needs fire protection engineering, but most people don’t know it exists.

There are typically two open positions for every student who graduates from the University of Maryland’s fire protection engineering program, said Jim Milke, chair of the fire protection engineering department.

“The market for students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in fire protection engineering is very strong,” Milke said. “Many of our graduates last spring had multiple job offers.”

The need for fire protection engineering drives a high demand for many job opportunities. With such a high demand and the current low supply, fire protection engineers make a median salary of $133,748. Upon graduation, students with a fire protection engineering degree have a median income of $70,000.

Do you get to set things on fire? Yes. And in addition to working in an exciting profession, fire protection engineers design fire protection systems. Not only do they get to create and take advantage of new technologies, they make a lasting impact protecting people in the world around them.

The fire protection engineering major covers fascinating topics such as smoke, soot and gases; fire-resistant materials; fire dynamics and behavior; and computer modeling of fire, smoke, suppression and evacuation. Students even have the opportunity to specialize in wildland fires, explosion investigation and advanced systems design.

Fire protection engineers have more diverse career options than people think. They have the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects, from protecting nuclear power plants to designing a fire protection system in a popular museum. They can find jobs with consulting firms, government agencies and large corporations. For fire protection engineers, every day is different.

In a small department within a big university, students have numerous advantages including developing close relationships with faculty, receiving more personal advising and getting close to other students in the major.

Fire protection engineering ignites the future of innovation. Now that the field is growing exponentially, it’s a great time for students to pursue the major.

Brooke Spallino is a senior communications major. She can be reached at