I am a life scientist that is looking to make a career change. I am intrigued by fire sprinkler design because I have done quite a few installation jobs with my dad as a laborer (he owns a small sprinkler company). My brother is getting into the trade as well and perhaps we could start something together in the future. I'm out of work due to the pandemic and have a lot of time on my hands so I am just wondering if anyone could guide me into the most efficient way to get started in sprinkler design, in a nutshell. My grandfather designed systems by hand for many years, and it seems like most designers use software now, otherwise I would ask him.
For the NFPA designer certification:
I see that 5 years with water based systems experience is required. Is that hands on installation experience? Or five years of design experience? I can't find any entry level or on the job training design jobs so I am wondering how you get this experience. Do you take the NFPA course and start designing systems when you feel ready or is this certification required to make your own designs?
I have a few non-engineering STEM degrees and am used to self study, so I think I could purchase the manuals and begin to make designs for some of my dad's projects-- if he let's me,and that is legal, of course. Perhaps I could make plans in parallel to an actual designer as practice?