ULTIMATE FIRE SCIENCE DEGREE GUIDE
Insane tips, information, and steps
You're considering getting a fire science degree.
Good for you!
But, like most of us, you've got a bunch of questions about firefighter school.
- What is fire science?
- What education is needed to be a firefighter?
- What degree do you need to be a firefighter?
- Are there colleges for firefighters?
- How many years of college to be a firefighter?
- Are there classes to become a firefighter?
- Are there fire science degree requirements?
- Which fire science degree major is the best?
- How to pick the best fire science colleges?
- What can you do with a degree in fire science?
- How much does a fire science degree cost?
Look, I've been there too.
When I earned my fire science degree, I had some of these same questions before I started.
These unanswered questions linger, causing fear and confusion.
You don't know where to start.
You're having trouble finding a firefighting school that's right for you.
You're trying to find out the firefighter school cost.
And so on.
Can you imagine if you had all these questions answered?
And a ton more information so you'll know exactly if fire college is right for you?
Here's the deal...
I'm going to go into unbelievable detail about fire science degrees without any of those sales shenanigans.
Fire Science Overview
Let me answer a common question...
What is fire science?
What is a Fire Science Degree?
The fire science definition according to Wikipedia is the study and practice of mitigating the unwanted effects of potentially destructive fires.
It's also known as fire protection.
In layman terms, it's a firefighter degree specifically for the fire service.
Okay, let's move to another important question...
Do you really need a fire science degrees?
Firefighter Career Path
It all comes down to your expected firefighter career path.
Some fire departments require a college degree to get hired.
Don't confuse the fire academy with a degree requirement.
To learn insane details about the fire academy, you gotta read this.
It's becoming more and more common to need at least an associate degree in fire science.
Very competitive departments may require a bachelors in fire science. It's not that common, but probably in ten years or so it will be.
Once you're hired and have a desire to promote up the ranks, getting that fire science technology degree is more valuable.
To qualify for a promotion to the fire line supervisor (Lieutenant or Captain), fire degrees are required.
To reach the lower level of Chief Officers, it's very common to have at least a bachelor degree in fire science.
To move even higher, a masters degree in fire science is needed.
So, as you move higher up the ranks, the more valuable firefighter education is.
The next common question we get is "what can I do with a fire science degree?"
Firefighter Science Degree Jobs
There are other job choices besides being a firefighter with a degree in fire science.
Fire science degree jobs include being a professor at fire science colleges.
Of course you'd be teaching firefighter classes.
You can also get hired with testing laboratories. These ensure products and services meet various fire safety regulations.
Other fire science jobs include working for large non-profit fire service related organizations such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Firefighter Science Salary
Okay, there is another benefit of having a fire science technology degree...
Those firefighters and fire service related individuals who've earned a fire degree earn more money than those who have not.
Not only are you more likely to get hired, but you'll make more money too.
Let's move on, shall we?
Are there any firefighter college requirements?
Firefighter Education Requirements
I'm going to get right to it.
There are firefighter education requirements.
Here's the deal...
It's just like any other college entrance requirements:
- High School Diploma or GED
- Apply to university
- Copies of transcripts
- Pay application fee
- Entrance exams - SAT or ACT
Pretty straight forward, no need for further explanation.
Okay, what will I learn at firefighter college you ask?
Your firefighter education will consist learning about...
- Fire chemistry
- Fire behavior
- Human resources
- Quality Management
- Strategic Planning
- Incident Command
- Fire prevention practices
- Fire operations
- Emergency Medical Services
These fire classes will help prepare you to move beyond being an entry-level firefighter.
As you can see, it's not just firefighter classes.
It's also about being a manager and everything else that goes with it.
What's the bottom line?
The firefighter education and training will prepare you for a well-balanced firefighter career.
The days of just needing a high school education are a thing of the past for the fire service.
Firefighter classes are designed to instill confidence in public officials as well as the community you serve.
Alright, what's next?
Firefighter Degree Requirements
An associates degree (AA) as well as a bachelor degree will require core classes.
These are courses like math, English, humanities, and science.
An AA in fire science will have about 30 credits in these areas. The other 30 credits will be in fire science courses.
A bachelor degree in fire science will have about 60 credits in these core areas. The other 60 credits will be in fire courses.
A master degree in fire science will have another 36 to 40 credits in advanced fire science classes.
Fire Science Colleges
There are a ton of universities that offer fire science degrees.
I must instill that there is one critical thing you must check on the university.
When evaluating fire science colleges, make sure they're accredited.
What's this you ask?
It's a non-governmental process that gives public recognition to institutions that meet established quality standards.
The type that you are looking for is regionally accreditation. This is a gold standard and is a must.
There are colleges that offer fire science degree and are not regionally accredited.
Don't get a degree from them!
It'll be worthless when the fire department checks it.
When you're checking out the firefighter college, ask them if they are regionally accredited. You can even check for them here at the U.S. Department of Education.
Fire Science Degrees
What type of fire science degree should I get?
How long does it take to get a fire science degree?
Do you need a degree to be a firefighter?
This is crazy...
It depends on what you want to accomplish.
A firefighter degree can be obtained either full time or part time.
It's up to your schedule.
So which degree should I get?
- An associates in fire science?
- Bachelor degree in fire science?
- Or a masters fire science?
Okay, that answer was vague.
Let me break it down this way.
I'll review the degrees in fire science individually.
Fire Science Associate Degree
A fire science associate degree is sometimes referred to as a fire technology degree.
This is a two year degree.
They are offered at community colleges.
The benefits for an associates degree in fire science is that it's less expensive than a bachelors degree.
Not a bad option if the firefighter education cost is a concern for you.
If you're not big on education, this will at least give you a leg up on the competition when you're trying to get hired.
If you need more information on how to become a firefighter, check out this awesome post.
Bachelor in Fire Science
A fire science bachelor degree will open up more doors for you.
This would be a four year degree in fire science.
A cost saving measure would be earning your Associates of Arts from a community college and then transferring to a four year university.
Essentially, you would take your entire core curriculum during your first two years and then all your firefighter courses the next two years.
The cost of tuition at a community college is a lot less than at a university.
A bachelors is a good option not only to help you get hired, but also to promote up.
Fire Science Master Degree
A fire science master degree is really needed for those that are Chief Officers.
It's more of a fire administration degree, not for anyone just trying to get a job as a firefighter.
The types of courses are more like public policy, strategic planning, and quality management.
These are designed specifically for the fire service.
Typically, it's 36 credits in addition to already holding a bachelors.
The fire and emergency services master degree is becoming more common at administrative levels of the fire service.
This is still new to the fire service.
While other public safety careers already have an established doctorate degree, the fire science one is still new.
A few universities offer them, but they are growing slowly.
This degree is needed if you are seeking a Chief position commonly at a medium to large department.
Okay, we've talked about what fire science degree is for and what it can do for you.
So, what's next?
Fire Science Programs
What classes to take to be a firefighter?
Another good question!
Generally speaking, any firefighter class is good.
But want to know the best part?
There are several fire science degree programs.
Fire Science Programs
Generally speaking again, each university will have a slightly different fire science program.
While the major is the same, the minors or specialties may differ.
I highly recommend if you already work for a fire department is to seek advice from high ranking Officers and public officials as to what specialty is preferred.
A specific minor may also increase your value to your organization.
Here is a brief list of various firefighter college programs:
- Fire Prevention
- Emergency Management
- Operational / Suppresion
- Fire Investigation
- Emergency Medical Services
- Training (Course Development)
- Fire and Emergency Services
When you start exploring universities that offer fire science degrees, look at their curriculum.
You will be able to see a list of their required classes. This will tell you what specialty areas they're concentrating on.
Also, they may actually offer minors in a specialty like human resources.
Others have a good mix of classes to make it well rounded.
Here's the bottom line...
This is probably the second most important thing to look at when deciding which college to attend.
Make sure the concentration of classes is what you are looking for.
Related Degree Programs
If you're already in the fire service and are looking to broaden your horizons, you don't have to get a degree in fire science.
Some related degree programs that are acceptable in fire departments are:
- Public Administration
- Homeland Security
- Emergency Management
- Criminal Justice
- Human Resources
These are directly related and most are accepted by fire departments.
It also provides a backup firefighter career path plan. All it takes is getting disabled at a job and your career and livelihood is at stake.
It's a nice safety net.
Another point that should be mentioned is that if you're thinking of retiring but want to get another job related to the fire service, these are some good options.
Online Fire Science Degree
Online Fire Classes
You can get a fire science degree online.
Yup, you read that right.
There are fire science degree online colleges too.
You can earn the following fire science degrees online:
- Online fire science associates degree
- Online fire science bachelors degree
- Fire science masters degree online
- Doctorate in fire science online
An online fire science degree is a good choice for those that have families and other time commitment hardships.
For the most part, you get to work at your own pace.
Fire classes online are the same as a classroom.
Except there is no classroom nor class start time.
You can attend virtually from home or from the fire station.
It's gaining in popularity and acceptance.
As a result, more and more universities are offering online fire science programs.
Some colleges will actually give you credit for job experience.
It's up to you if you want to take this job experience route or not.
I never opted for these colleges, as I truly wanted to learn and not just get a degree.
Again, it's your choice.
But here's the kicker...
As a graduate of online universities myself, I will make a crucial point to consider.
You gotta be self motivated. There is no one there to make sure you log in, read through the teaching material, and complete the assignments.
Self motivation and drive is essential.
If you don't have it, I strongly recommend a traditional classroom learning environment.
Fire Science Degree Recap
College for Firefighters
We've covered firefighter college requirements, fire courses, degrees in fire science, fire science programs, which firefighter college major you should choose, and online fire science degrees.
Is a fire science degree worth it?
In a nutshell, absolutely.
If I had to recommend which one to get, I'd go with a fire science bachelor degree.
This fits well to get hired and promote up if you desire in the future.
There are plenty of colleges that offer fire science degrees.
As I said already, just make sure they have regional accreditation.
There are some top fire science colleges out there, but I'm not going to endorse a college that I did not attend.
I did attend two different colleges.
One for my bachelors in fire and emergency services from UF.
The second was for my masters in public administration from APU.
I will reaffirm that I am very happy with the education that I received from these two universities, but it's up to you to make your selection.
I highly recommend to make sure when selecting a college is to first confirm they are accredited.
After that, I would take a look at what their concentration of course are.
Third, I would compare the cost of tuition and the ability to attend online or not.
Getting an online firefighter degree is a convenient option.
You're gonna have to figure out yourself if the online route is worth it or not.
Whichever decision you make, getting a fire science degree is highly recommended!
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