Student Outreach

SFPE develops materials and provides resources that can be used to help students learn about fire protection engineering. SFPE and our members volunteer with student outreach programs such as the annual Future City Competition (as team mentors and/or competition judges) and exhibit at the annual USA Engineering and Science Festival. Materials and resources for these programs are gathered and disseminated to middle school, high school, and college students.

Fire protection engineering (FPE) is one of engineering's best-kept secrets. For those who have never heard of FPE, it is the application of science and engineering principles to protect people and the environment from the dangers of fire. FPE is one of the hottest career choices available for students interested in engineering and making the world a safer place. It's a rewarding and fulfilling career and we need more students entering the field to meet the global demand. We work everywhere: in big and small cities, urban areas and rural communities, even remote wilderness areas. Some FPEs work in business offices or classrooms, others in factories or research labs, and still others at onsite locations. 

It's can also be a lucrative career. FPEs enjoy high salaries and great job security, as there is a high demand for their expertise. Fire protection engineers have significantly higher starting salaries than college graduates with bachelor’s degrees in many other fields. The latest SFPE report reports that the median salary for a FPE is $118,800 in base salary and $127,200 in total compensation.  

STEM Resource Guides:

Created by the members of the Student Outreach Subcommittee, these downloadable PowerPoint presentations are intended to be used by SFPE members when sharing information about fire protection engineering with students of various ages.

Future City Competition

The Future City Competition starts with the question — how can we make the world a better place? To answer it, 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future that showcase their solution to a citywide sustainability issue. Past featured themes have included storm water management, urban agriculture, public spaces, and green energy.

Participants complete four deliverables: a 1,500-word city essay; a scale model built from recycled materials; a project plan, and a presentation to judges at regional competitions in January. Winners represent their region at the finals in Washington, DC in February. After completing Future City, student participants are not only prepared to be citizens of today’s complex and technical world but also poised to become the drivers of tomorrow.

This flexible, cross-curricular educational program gives students an opportunity to do the things that engineers do—identify problems; brainstorm ideas; design solutions; test, retest and build; and share their results. This process is called the engineering design process. With this at its center, Future City is an engaging way to build students’ 21st-century skills. Students participating in Future City:

  • Apply math and science concepts to real-world issues
  • Develop writing, public speaking, problem-solving, and time management skills
  • Research and propose solutions to engineering challenges
  • Discover different types of engineering and explore careers options
  • Learn how their communities work and become better citizens
  • Develop strong time management and project management skills

USA Science and Engineering Festival

From climate change to pandemics to a competitive global economy, the children of the United States are facing an uphill battle, and SFPE is here to help them create a better world for the future. In 2010, serial entrepreneur Larry Bock had a vision. Bock knew that the US was struggling to fill the STEM talent gap and that students were scoring poorly in science and math. He was also keenly aware that students and teachers in under-served areas lack the resources to help them succeed.  The USA Science & Engineering Festival was created to reinvigorate the interest of STEM in our nation’s youth.


With exciting hands-on activities from hundreds of organizations, such as SFPE, companies, universities, and government agencies; diverse STEM role models; and science stage show presentations; students can see and experience firsthand the vast and exciting world of the STEM fields. Through this program, SFPE helps provide free and engaging STEM content for these students.

Additional Resources

Pathways to Becoming a Fire Protection Engineer (2012 Careers Issue, Fire Protection Engineering Magazine)

What is a Fire Protection Engineer

 FPEs Have Diverse Career Options(2014 Careers Issue, Fire Protection Engineering Magazine)