To most people, the concept of fire science is somewhat confusing. Surely, being a fire-fighter means knowing how to put out a fire? How hard can that be?
If you consider further, however, you will see that being a fire fighter requires a wide range of skills and the modern fire fighter needs extensive knowledge in order to carry out the job successfully and safely. This knowledge is frequently gained by studying for a fire science degree.
Fire science degrees are available at Associate, Bachelors and Masters Degree level and you can do them online or faculty based.
If you choose to obtain an Associate degree in Fire Science, expect to study the following subjects:
It is typical to find that fire fighters are expected to have advanced medical care skills and many have an EMT or paramedic certificate in addition to their fire fighting qualifications. The advantages of this are obvious. If they are first on scene then they can administer medical aid without waiting for paramedics to arrive and this could mean the difference between life and death.
A typical Bachelors degree in fire science teaches the basic foundations of administration and leadership in the fire service. The courses are comprehensive and cover fire prevention and fire protection, the management of organizations, equipment and apparatus, and also the legal framework of public safety in a fire incident scenario. A typical bachelor’s degree requires you to complete 60 credits of core courses including math, English composition, history and the arts. It is also not unusual to find that an online program mandates a short internship at a fire establishment to ensure that the student understands the application of the training and not just the theory.
If you are already employed in fire safety you may want to develop your career further and achieve a key leadership position, maybe as a fire chief or other senior management position. If this is the case then the Masters degree in Fire Science may be the right course for you. This qualification concentrates on the development of management and leadership training including legal frameworks, administrative policies, human resources and senior management in organizations. If you choose to pursue a master’s degree in fire science then you will also find that it is the most advanced qualification in this subject that you can do online.
A further point to consider is to ensure that the course in which you are interested is accredited by a nationally recognized institution. If you are studying online then most schools hold accreditation from the Distance Learning and Training Council, which is a nationally recognized accrediting agency. The advantage of such accreditation is that they meet a minimum standard of learning in their curriculum and also if you wish to transfer between schools then you will have no problem transferring credits. This is very difficult, if not impossible, if the school is not accredited.
Once you have qualified you will find that your studies have been well worthwhile, entry level salaries are around $45,000 per annum and if you aspire to be a fire chief then salaries average close to $100,000 per annum!