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Find Your Perfect Fire Science Degree Program

Fire safety engineering is a comparatively new discipline. The requirement for qualified fire protection engineers worldwide has increased exponentially during the past few decades. To address this, several universities are offering a comprehensive set of courses that focus on the various facets of fire safety engineering. These training and firefighter degree programs are being offered by the schools for associate’s as well as bachelor’s degree levels. Courses and training programs under these enable an in-depth understanding of the firefighting career and necessary procedures associated with it.

With associate degree programs, students can benefit through a deep understanding of fire prevention planning techniques along with the application of detection equipment, building codes, and fire investigation procedures. Graduates can apply for the position of entry-level fire investigators or fire safety specialists, after the completion of this program. On the other hand, the bachelor’s degree program in the fire science includes introductory courses for the students who are newly introduced to the career and explains to them what is fire science and various aspects related to it. The scope these courses extend up to is advanced research components besides managerial and administrative coursework.

Salary and Benefits

Working hours, incentives, and salary structures are some of the benefits of being a firefighter. The average firefighter salary in the United States is whopping $49,080 per year (1). The other incentives also include perks like health insurance.

Public Service

Even though firefighting training is aimed at making smart decisions in the times of fire emergencies and prepare for them, there is no denying the fact that they are themselves subjected to the risk of injuries that also extend to loss of their lives. The willingness to stake one’s own life to save someone else requires a brave heart and demonstrates someone’s true spirit of community love.

Job Security and Retirement

Being a firefighter gives you great relief on the job security front. This is one of the jobs that are always on demand, making it the reason for being a job with minimum layoffs. Not only this, but it also has numerous other benefits even when you have attained the age of retirement. It offers competitive pension plans, thus helping you plan a secure future.

Flexible Schedule

Another reason that makes firefighting a perfect choice for people is its time flexibility. Many people choose this career to stay free from the 9 to 5 job schedule. They can simply work for long hours and take long breaks too. For example, some firefighters work for 24 hours straight and then take a break that is as long as 48 hours. Fire stations generally offer sleeping and living quarters, along with kitchens and showers, in addition to areas specifically for meals, rest, and relaxation when the firefighters are not handling a fire breakout. This flexibility allows the firefighters to have an easy schedule that can accommodate the second job for an extra income if needed.

Why Should You Choose a Career in Fire Science?

Firefighting is a brave career choice that requires courage. Besides this, a firefighter should be able to conduct a swift analysis of the situation and demonstrate exceptional physical strength. Firefighters can lead a comfortable lifestyle, thanks to the handsome salary. However, for most of them, the primary reason for choosing a career in fire science is the public service. In addition to earning a firefighting certification at a vocation-training institute, some of the firefighters can also hold the position of certified emergency medical technicians. This, in turn, allows them to create job opportunities through firefighter EMT credentials. Here are some other reasons that encourage people to take a career in the fire science.

Answer: Fire science majors aim at providing the students with a detailed insight into the study of fire and the tools used to control the hazards associated with it. It covers the facets of fire science like laws, building codes and other measures that are vital to mitigate the fire-related threats and dangers. The professionals who have fire science degree hold specialization in urban or structural fires along with the forest fire investigation, prevention, and suppression. The educational fire science degree requirements for an applicant to vary according to the organizations and positions. Some positions do not need a college degree. However, the professionals aspiring to choose their career in this particular domain, or are exploring the career prospects, can increase their skills by pursuing a fire science degree or firefighter training program.

Answer: The cost of firefighter program is 15,000$ to 30,000$ that includes tuition fee, lab fees, state fees, physical, bunker gear rental, uniform, personal protective gears, books, and other supplies.

Answer: Students can apply for the fire science program in the month of October for the Spring Session, in March for Summer Program, and in June for the Fall Program.

Answer: The degree coursework mainly includes classroom and hands-on training, along with internships. The motive of the courseware is to introduce the students to fighting equipment and educate them on how to maintain those. The field training typically focuses on the facets like hands-on firefighting experience, albeit controlled, fires, and working alongside the professionals in a fire station.
The typical course includes the following besides general educational classes:

  • Fire behaviors and combustion
  • Rescue procedures
  • Basics of fire extinguishing
  • EMT basics
  • Chemistry of fire science
  • Fire codes and laws

In addition to this, the fire science majors at the bachelor’s levels may also comprise of classroom study along with the field training and internship. It helps the students understand the facets of the fire service profession like the behavior of fire, fire extinguishment, rescue procedures, and environmental policies. The courseware covers the following:

  • Fire prevention
  • Emergency management
  • Fire investigation
  • Fire control
  • Fire chemistry and physics
  • Hazardous material management
  • Disaster and fire defense planning

Answer: Here are the various positions that you can choose from if you are pursuing a degree in fire science:

Firefighter: Firefighters are the ones who respond to multiple emergency calls, including, but not limited to, the car crashes, building fires, and emergency rescue operations. These professionals must equip themselves with the skills required for firefighting and emergency medical training. Firefighters also conduct the informative sessions for the schools and childcare facilities to educate students on the relevant facets of fire safety. This particular position has excellent scope for advancement and promotions.

Forest Fire Inspector and Prevention Specialist: This position is the type of firefighter who is trained to work in the national forests and parks. They keep a vigilant eye on the fires from their watchtowers and report the sightings to the central station. They do not just take care of the firefighting, but also have responsibilities regarding fire prevention. The requirements for becoming a fire inspector and prevention specialist are same as that of a firefighter. They are liable for promotions and advancements based on the educational level.

Fire Inspector: Fire inspectors are the ones who are taking care of the interior and exterior of buildings and structures for fire hazards. They make sure that the buildings follow the fire codes and help the builders and owners to make required changes whenever needed. They are also responsible for collecting fees to be paid for the license and permits. Fire inspectors are also the ones who ensure that the types of equipment like fire extinguishers are operating the way they are needed to so that untimely hazards can be avoided. They typically hold extensive field experience.

Fire Investigator: Fire investigators provide their services to the fire breakout locations where the fire has broken out due to the arson-related to criminal negligence activities. Their primary aim is to analyze the site of the cause and origin of the fire. They capture photographs to perform a thorough examination and collect the required evidence. People holding these positions typically work as firefighters before becoming fire inspectors.

EMTs and Paramedics: The people employed as EMTs and paramedics are the ones who respond to emergency situations especially in the areas where human lives are at stake. They are explicitly trained to apply CPR, first aid and other life-saving technique to the people injured during the fire breakout. EMTs and paramedics are also responsible for providing transportation for the medical patients requiring further medical attention and maintain the track record of the patients they have assisted.

Answer: Fire science programs prepare you for a wide array of entry-level as well as managerial positions, whether you want to put the fires out, help fellow citizens to prevent or conduct analysis to identify the source of the fire.

Answer: The fire science programs can be completed within one semester, that is, six months, be it individual or cumulative. However, a specific certificate or degree program will take multiple semesters to be completed. As, in this case, the completion will depend on the course load.

Answer: Firefighter salaries can vary across the United States of America. While some of the firefighting professionals work in a small department that has a limited budget, others work in the urban areas with much higher financial options. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the median pay for the firefighters is $46,870.

Answer: The work of firefighters is absolutely integral to the safety and security of the community. Consequently, these professionals are always high on demand. Employment of firefighters is expected to grow by 5% in the years 2014 to 2024.

Answer: There are multiple benefits to the associate’s degree in fire protection technology. There are several fire departments in various states that provide a stipend to the firefighters for the AAS degree or higher. Graduates can only qualify for the firefighter certificate once they meet a certain level of experience. An AAS enables the fire service personnel to become more competitive for promotions. Besides this, an AAS degree in fire protection technology can help them fulfill many requirements that are mandatory for the bachelor’s level.

Answer: Pursuing a successful career in the field of fire science requires in-depth domain expertise and exploring the connections that can guide you well. Professional organizations serve you as a great aid to learn about the essential facets of the chosen field through modes like online training, host networking events, job boards, and a plethora of services tailored for the career-ready graduates. Here are some of the options that you can choose from:

  • International Association of Fire Fighters: Helping students through the resources like job listings, video tutorials, and library, this organization is home to the community of 300,000 plus firefighters and paramedics operational in the location like the US and Canada.
  • International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Services: International Association of Women Fire and Emergency Services is an interactive network of fire service women providing them the needed educational resources, support, and advocacy. These benefits come in the shape of exclusive offers on the conference fees, trustee, and mentorship opportunities, and free access to the organization’s online magazine. This organization has been standing as an endeavor being supported by more than 110,000 women firefighters and fire personnel in the United States since its inception in the year 1982.
  • US Fire Administration: US Fire Administration works towards helping the fire science professionals to advance the status and explore the realms of their career. They benefit the users through training and educational programs that prepare the audience to prevent and respond to fires and other hazards.

How to Get a Fire Science Degree?

There are no specific set of guidelines to get a fire science degree. Each hiring organization has its particular training requirements. However, all of them aim to provide the students deep insight on how to:

  • suppress and extinguish fires using hoses, pumps, and other equipment,
  • conduct evacuation of fire structures and treat the victim
  • drive and operate emergency vehicles and pump engines and maintain firefighting equipment, and
  • participate in public education.

Some of the steps that students across the globe follow to pursue a career in fire science include the following:

Enroll yourself for the specific degree that you want to opt for. The colleges offering fire science degree programs deliver a wide array of courseware through online mode. Some of the most common choices are listed below:

  • The certificate program in fire science
  • Associate degree program in fire science
  • Bachelor’s degree program in fire science

Join a Firefighting agency for hands-on experience and training. Education in combination with an experience paves ways for more opportunities. Hence, joining an agency for training will give an extra edge to your career and will acquaint you with the industry trends and knowledge in a better way.

Get your license

Voluntary professional registration can help you explore horizons of success in the field of fire science. Having said that, they cannot replace the importance of licensing. You can take up the licensing exams that are most relevant to your career aims and goals, and pursue accordingly.

Take tests and start working

Last but not the least; ensure to start working by taking the tests based on which the organizations check your knowledge and skills.

What are the Vital Fire Science Degree Requirements?

General prerequisites for a firefighter degree:

  • The applicant must be above 18 years of age.
  • Applicant should not use any tobacco products like cigarettes, snuff, tobacco, etc. at least for one year prior to applying for any firefighter online degree program.
  • The application must not be convicted of the misdemeanor relating to certification, or to perjury or false statement, or a punishable crime by imprisonment for one year or more.
  • The candidate must have a high school diploma or a GED.
  • The applicant must not have been dishonorably discharged from any of the Armed Forces.
  • The candidate must satisfy all the state-mandated guidelines that include a background check, physical examination, and other departmental forms.
  • The applicant must have completed physical skills assessment before the program acceptance.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Fire Science Degree?

The duration of fire science degree programs varies and is also decided according to specific parameters. For instance, the entry-level firefighters, who may or may not have a degree must necessarily complete about 600 hours of training over a course duration that ranges from 12 to 14 weeks. This training can be conducted by a fire academy, which has been assigned to them by the respective fire department they work for. For various other options, here is the required timeframe:

Certificate Degree

These are short-term courses that take less than a year’s time to complete. The coursework is divided into practical training and theory classes. Read more here

Associate Degree

These programs prepare you for entry-level firefighting positions and generally require two years of full-time study for successfully completing it. Read more here

Bachelor’s Degree

Fire science bachelor’s degree takes four years of full-time study to complete and is sought by the experienced firefighters for advancing their knowledge. Read more here..

Master’s Degree

This is the most advanced degree that you can opt for. It requires two years of full-time study to complete. You can also pursue it on the part-time basis.

What are the Types of Fire Science Degree Programs Offered by Institutions?

Fire science degrees can be either specific or general to the fire science specialty. That is, they can be aimed at fire prevention, fire suppressions, or fire services leadership. They can be made according to the entry-level positions of the firefighter or tailored for those who want to progress in their career.

Fire science certificates and undergraduate degrees are often sought by the newcomers or the junior firefighters who are looking for a desk job that only needs field knowledge. On the other hand, the advanced degree programs are explicitly sought by the experienced firefighters or related professionals who are aiming to attain policy-making roles in fire protection.

Various options include:

Certificate Courses:

Certificate programs do not offer you any degree, but instead are a type of credential that establishes that you have gained training in a particular area like fire inspection, arson investigation, etc. They are generally short courses and take less than a year’s time to complete. High school graduates are also eligible to enroll for these programs.

Associate Degree Programs:

These are long-term programs that take two years of full-time study to complete. The community colleges offer associate degree programs. It is mandatory for the applicant to hold a high school diploma to enroll for the
associate degree programs. These programs prepare students for the positions such as entry-level firefighters.

Coursework of this degree program mainly includes fire behavior, rescue procedures, and the basics of fire extinguishing. It also includes general education classes such as subject-specific courses like emergency medical technician (EMT) introductory level, the chemistry of fire science, and the uniform fire code. The mode of teaching mainly includes hands-on experience and an internship. These undergraduate certification programs offer outstanding educational opportunities for both, firefighting professionals and the students seeking entry-level fire service positions.

Bachelor’s Degree:

A bachelor’s degree in fire science requires four years of full-time study. These degree programs are tailor-made for the firefighters seeking advancement or the ones who are finding the entry-level positions. This helps them gain a competitive advantage while being hired.

A major in fire science often needs hands-on experience along with an internship that is optional. The online course, however, solely focus on the administrative and policy-related topics or may help the applicants to arrange field experience locally. Courses that are common to the bachelor’s degree in fire science comprise of fire prevention, emergency management, and fire investigation.

Master’s Degree:

Master’s degree is more considered as terminal degrees. In other words, it is the highest degree that you can get in the domain of fire science. This degree requires you two years of full-time teaching, but can also be pursued on a part-time basis. Firefighters looking to grab the higher positions like chiefs and other leadership designations consider going for Master’s degree programs.

It is vital to note that a fire science certificate or degree does not replace the importance of additional training required by the municipal fire departments. An entry-level firefighter, regardless of the fact that he holds a degree or not, needs to necessarily complete 600 hours of training over the duration of 12 to 14 weeks at fire academy designated by their hiring fire department.

Online fire science degree programs generally focus on the disaster planning and response along with long-term policy making and general administration. They are helpful for the students, especially the working fire service professionals who do not need field training. These programs highly benefit the firefighters who live in remote locations and do not have access to campus schools.

Which are the Top 10 Fire Science Degree Schools and Colleges?

Colorado State University – Fort Collins

The BS in fire and emergency services administration course from Colorado State is offered by the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship. It is tailor-made for the students who have completed 60 credit hours at the community college level or hold an associate degree already. It is required for the applicant to keep experience in fire and emergency services to enroll in the course.
The bachelor’s in fire science only degree is built upon technical training and emergency services knowledge to give them thorough insights in the skills required by the people aiming to pursue administrative and leadership roles in fire protection, prevention, and emergency services. The emergency services mainly include fire chiefs, public administrators, fire marshals, and educators. Students can complete this course within a span of three to four years, thanks to the elective seminars and independent studies. However, this program can also be completed in two years.

Address: 102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523-0100

Key Highlights: The degrees offered by this school help you gain in-depth knowledge of the administration. It equips the students with the knowledge to pursue careers in management. Some of the designations that students can earn include fire chief, public administrator, fire marshal, etc.

The University of North Carolina – Charlotte

UNC Charlotte’s BS degree in fire science safety engineering technology emphasizes profoundly on the technical as well as the non-technical elements of fire safety. It helps the students prepare for careers in fire services and fire-protection industries. The courses offered by this institute are designed for the applicants looking to grab the leadership and management roles. It spans an extensive range of topics starting from industrial hazards and electricity risk management, engineering economics, major disasters, and organizational psychology. Coursework is entirely available online and is delivered to the students via Moodle or Saba Meeting.

The University of North Carolina offers a 2+2 transfer options to the applicants who already hold an associate of applied science (AAS) in the fire protection/fire science. It is mandatory for the students to complete all the prerequisite courses or must ensure so within the first year at UNC.

Address: 9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001

Key Highlights: The program offers the students with an engineering degree and also gives the option for getting enrolled in the master’s in Fire Protection Administration program after completing the graduation.

University of Cincinnati – Main Campus

The University of Cincinnati, in collaboration with the National Fire Academy‘s Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education Program, offers a flexible and convenient source for the students to enroll for a 14-week long BS in fire and safety engineering technology. It is mainly suitable for the people who are currently working as firefighters and are looking for advancing their knowledge.
This fire science bachelor degree online program comes with optional accelerated residencies wherein the students can complete three-credit courses in five days while taking help from other fire professionals. It is required for the students to earn 40 credit hours to receive the degree. Also, some of the certifications such as BLUE CARD, HAZMAT tech, fire inspector, BERT Technician, FF II, etc. satisfy some of the course requirements.

Address: 2624 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0063

Key Highlights: School offers the students to avail scholarships active from the year 2018 by filling up the form. They can choose from the options including Barbara Barkley Memorial Scholarship and the Chief William Flamm Memorial Scholarship.

The University of Nebraska – Omaha

With a record-breaking number of 15000 students, the metropolitan campus of the University of Nebraska offers online fire science degree that helps the students earn an education that is up to the high standards laid by National Fire Academy and the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education Network.

University helps the students with bachelors in multidisciplinary studies that comprises of online fire science degree. Students are required to ace 120 total credits that incorporate 40 in UNO’s general education core. The fire science degree program offered here includes 30 credits in areas like personnel management, budgeting finances, and resources, risk management, and best practices in emergency fire response.

Open to the firefighters and EMS professionals; this program prepares them for the super visionary roles. Students can choose from secondary fields and electives coursework for which is primarily delivered through asynchronous mode.

Address: 6001 Dodge St, Omaha, NE 68182-0225

Key Highlights: Students looking for the hands-on experience in the field can avail it through the internship program known as an emergency service program. They can gradually expand the scope to the graduation duration and benefit from it.

University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh

The fire science degree program offered by UW is the first one to receive accreditation from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. UW’s online bachelor’s in applied science in the fire, and emergency response management is custom designed for the fire safety and emergency professionals. It offers one of the best choices to the ones who are looking for Accredited Online Fire Science Programs. The coursework comprises of budgeting, emergency planning, administrative law, and leadership and management of emergency services. It equips the students for holding various positions like chiefs, officers, inspectors, firefighters, and paramedics.

Participants are free to transfer up to 90 credits from eligible associate degrees, military credits, National Fire Academy, FEMA, and American Council on Education. Most of the courses are made available to the students in the form of accelerated, seven-week sessions delivered through Desire2learn. Online students can also benefit from the campus resources that are offered regarding the writing center, library, and academic advisers.

Address: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, 800 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh, WI 54901

Key Highlights: Ranked among the most cost-effective online programs, it is available to the students only for the tuition fee of $360 per credit in addition to the veterans’ benefits and employer reimbursement.

Fayetteville State University

Students seeking fire science degree can also take advantage of online BS in fire and emergency services administration offered by Fayetteville State’s Department of Government and History. Aimed at bringing women and minorities to fire services, this program is primarily conducted in conjunction with the Fayetteville Fire Department, Fayetteville Technical Community College, and Cumberland County Schools. Participants can enroll for this program after completing their AAS in fire protection technology from any of the state’s community. However, students can also register for dual degree courses to fulfill the lower-level course requirements. This program is directly delivered on online mode and is designed according to the curriculum of National Fire Academy’s Fire and Emergency Services higher education.

Address: Fayetteville State University, 1200 Murchison Road, Fayetteville, NC 28301

Key Highlights: Offers multiplied benefits because the programs are designed to meet the standards of the National Fire Academy curriculum. Students also have the choice of availing master’s in courses like Public Administration after the graduation.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide

With its headquarters in Daytona Beach, Florida, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University helps the student to avail the online BS in emergency services through a 120-hour program. The best of this institution is the fact that graduating students also receive a National Fire Academy certificate. The curriculum offered by the university has earned a certificate of recognition from Fire Emergency Services. It equips the participants on various facets of fire science technology including fire, investigation, aircraft rescue and firefighting, and wildland firefighting.

Students can opt from one of the two specializations, that is, aviation emergency management that emphasizes on aircraft accident investigation, airport emergency management, aviation safety, and leadership in emergency response organization; or fire emergency services that focus on the emergency response administration and leadership, community risk management, and operational issues in emergency services.

Address: 600 South Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114-3900

Key Highlights: College offers the students to complete the research projects with the help of organizations like Dallas/Fort Worth Fire Training Research Center (DFW FTRC) and the Aircraft Fire Fighting (ARFF) Working Group.

Siena Heights University

Siena Heights University is a Catholic, coeducational institution that benefits students through its BAS in public safety professions. The courseware is designed according to the students who are inclined towards public safety studies, fire science technology, correlations and law enforcement, hazardous materials, and homeland security. Participants can transfer at the max 90 credits from AAS program, approved technical, trade, and hospital schools, college equivalent military, apprenticeships, corporate, or professional training, or CLEP and DANTES exams.

The BAS degree offered by SHU comes in the form of fully customizable courses that can be modified by the students to suit their professional and educational aims. The coursework is delivered through online mode via eCollege.

Address: Siena Heights University Main Campus, 1247 E. Siena Heights Dr. Adrian, MI 49221

Key Highlights: The fire science program offered by Sienna Heights University is ranked #8 in Michigan. Graduates of this program also receive additional training in liberal arts and other domains to advance their skills.

Eastern Oregon University

BS in fire service administration offered by Eastern Oregon is made for the fire service professionals who want to equip themselves with the education required to pursue a career as the supervisor, operations manager, executive directors, and dispatchers. Designed around the National Fire Academy‘s Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education Curriculum, the coursework mostly covers the aspects like fire protection hydraulics and water supply, strategy and tactics, and fire investigation and analysis. It is delivered to the students through online mode via Canvas, which is an online e-tutoring portal.

Address: One University Blvd, La Grande, OR 97850

Key Highlights: The online fire services program of Eastern Oregon University gets a place among the best online programs in the nation listed by Best Colleges. Besides this, Online U and the SR Education Group list it among the most cost-effective programs.

State-wise Firefighting Careers in the United States

Get detailed information on how to become a firefighter in various states of the US