What are the Career Options after having a Fire Science Degree?

An individual can serve in the field of public administrative services as well after getting a fire science graduate degree. You can apply for several posts including, but not limited to, Fire Inspector, Firefighter, Fire Marshal, and Fire Chief. In addition to these, you can hold several other positions like Arson and Fire Investigator, Wildland Firefighter, Fire Protection Engineer, Hotshot Firefighter, and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Paramedic.

The fire science graduates can also work in some of the most common public service areas from the education and non-profit sectors in both the government and non-government organizations, which include Forestry, Forensics, Emergency Management, Homeland and Cyber Security, Police and Detectives, and Criminal Justice.

Why Choose Firefighting as a Career?

Firefighting is a noble profession and has various career options in the public sector as well. It is believed that a fireman needs to put his life at stake during fire prevention and control, but various government handled organizations like the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also work towards the protection of these individuals working for the country.

USFA and FEMA have issued the information on causes of fires in the country along with the deaths, injuries and financial loss caused due to it. The step has been taken so that the individuals working in the field and the general public can keep a check and reduce the destruction of both life and property.

Fire Casualties and Financial Loss in the US (2008-2017)

Source: USFA & FEMA

Fire Departments in the US

Along with the government-administered organizations, fire personnel can also be hired by private fire companies and volunteer departments. Their type of work also varies from place to place based on the population of the area. The diverse nature of fire departments, both large and small, only allows them to hire individuals as per requirement. Every fire department does not have the capacity to hire on the posts of a fire engineer, inspectors and investigators, and other fire-related jobs.

Generally, large sized or urban fire departments often pay a higher salary to its employees. Here are the wages of firemen for distinguished designations:

Fire Personnel Annual Salary in the US

PositionMinimum Salary ($)Maximum Salary ($)Median Pay ($)
Fire Chief47,402127,25174,434
Deputy Fire Chief58,664131,18990,968
Fire Battalion Chief46,892125,98880,511
Assistant Fire Chief42,841117,83772,058
Fire Captain42,784104,32666,546
Fire Lieutenant39,39097,12957,792
Fire Engineer58,00073,00065,985
Firefighter30,16380,68646,752
Other Fire-related Jobs
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Paramedic30,66568,89546,119
Fire Marshal40,33193,55058,754
Fire Inspector/Investigator43,42378,38557,421
Wildland Firefighter21,95883,14945,232

Fire-related Jobs and Job Descriptions

1. Fire Chief

Being a Fire Chief is an administrative job which demands to head a fire department and lead the planning of fire operations in the area. Not just that, a Fire Chief is responsible for each and everything in an organization including maintaining the equipment, budget, performing training drills, building supervision to maintain safety from fire hazards, create and supervise action plans, etc. Mostly, a fire chief starts his career as a firefighter and climbs up the hierarchy after working continuously for several years.More

2. Deputy Fire Chief

Deputy Fire Chief is the most challenging and responsible position in the field of Fire Science, and hence the salary for the post is high. A Deputy Fire Chief needs to handle everything from emergency medical services and firefighting to disaster response and various administrative tasks of the fire department. As the designation suggests, the position holder assists the Fire Chief but also acts as the head in his absence. Impressive management skills are among the significant requirements for this job role.More…

3. Fire Lieutenant

The position of Fire Lieutenant demands great convincing and communication skills to handle issues within the employees of a fire department. A Fire Lieutenant is also an acting head in the absence of the Fire Chief. Hiring and scheduling working of firefighters are also a part of this job, so handling office work is among the necessary requirements. A person who has previous experience as a firefighter is most suitable for the post. More…

4. Fire Captain

The role of Fire Captains varies according to the need of the organization they are working for. They can either work as a firefighter or perform a part of administrative tasks by reporting to the Fire Chief. From safety check to training the firemen, a Fire Captain can be given any such responsibility. A Fire Captain should remain updated with the use of latest equipment and tools in fire science. More…

5. Firefighter

The most common and prestigious position of a fire science career is being a Firefighter as it is the stepping stone to achieve further success. The main aim of being a firefighter is saving lives and property from emergencies by putting off the fires. To become a firefighter, you need to be physically fit and mentally healthy with a quick responding ability. Some other basic office skills add to the strength to become a worthy firefighter. The firefighters are available for service 24/7. More…

6. Fire Marshal

A Fire Marshal has to ensure that the organization they work for follows all the rules and regulations. The fireman can also be termed as a source of contact between different fire departments of the region and the organization he works for. Regular firefighters are the ones who get a chance to become Fire Marshals via promotion. A Fire Marshal needs exceptional interaction and convincing skills with vast knowledge about the fire science niche. More

7. Assistant Fire Chief

An Assistant Fire Chief has the responsibilities of managing the equipment and look after the policies of the department along with being a source of contact between other groups or departments. More…

8. Fire Protection Engineer

Fire Engineers are hired mostly by private businesses like construction firms which require fire safety. For this job, the aspirants must hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering and have relevant experience in this field of work. More

9. Wildland Firefighters

A Wildland Firefighter is a fireman who fulfills the duties in forest areas or wild lands. These firemen are responsible for keeping fires under control in remote areas. These professionals are extremely fit physically, and fulfill their responsibilities of making the locals aware of the causes of fire. The inspection and patrolling of forests are a part of their routine. More

10. Hotshot Firefighters

Hotshot Firefighters are an elite force of 20 Wildland Firefighters, which is trained specially to deal with fires in the remote areas like forests and regions having minimal backup or support. To be a part of this elite group, one has to prove his physical fitness and mental abilities first. During the fire season, the shift of these firemen sometimes extends up to 64 hours. More

Other Jobs with a Fire Science Degree

1. Fire Inspector and Investigator

Fire Inspectors/Investigators are responsible for investigating the causes of fires and work towards preventing the city structures from them. They also look after the implementation of safety guidelines and evacuation arrangements by examining all the buildings and mark the areas that can cause a fire. Before becoming a Fire Inspector, you need to hold a degree related to the field.

2. EMT or Paramedic

Emergency Medical Technicians or Paramedics are the primary responders to medical emergencies during fires in the area. The arrangement of an ambulance, hospitals and providing primary medical care to the injured makes the role of an EMT critical and challenging. To become an EMT, one needs to have a CPR certification along with a high school diploma.

3. Police and Detectives

A fire science degree holder can also work as a Police Officer or Detective, as both of these jobs are equally demanding and challenging as firefighting. You must have three years of experience in the field before you can apply for the positions of Police and Detective.

4. Forensic Sciences

A Fire Inspector/Investigator can also be posted at a Forensic Science post or as a Forensic Scientist. To proceed further in the field and hold the position of Lab Director, you need to get higher degrees and training.

Enhance your Career with a Fire Science Degree

Job satisfaction is the primary need of a growing career and having a basic fire science bachelor’s degree can get you through all the jobs mentioned above. But, in order to provide pace to your career, you can opt for a master’s degree in the field as well. After you hold an additional degree to your name, it is more likely that you will get more opportunities for jobs regarding administrative and managerial-level work.

This profession adds a cherry to the cake as you get to save lives in addition to serving for the nation and its population. Moreover, the perks of the fire science jobs are no less for the efforts put in by these individuals. Sometimes, firefighters have to work for extra hours at the time of emergencies due to a shortage of staff, but they get paid extra for overtime.

Where working in an urban area provides you with a better package and increased opportunities to grow, being deployed in the rural areas during the initial years of the service also help your cause. Having an ocean of opportunities in front of you, your fire science career graph is always expected to grow upwards.