The fire safety management programs are suitable for firefighters who are interested in advancing their careers by becoming safety managers or fire chiefs. Two-year associate's degree programs in fire science are open to high school graduates who have no particular training or experience in the field. Online fire safety degree programs are available. In addition to offering courses in fire management and fire technology, associate's degree programs in fire science often require students to complete general education courses.
Associate in Fire Safety Management
Most associate's degree programs in fire science comprise didactic classroom lectures covering theoretical principles of fire prevention and fire safety management. They are designed to provide firefighters with an educational background as opposed to practical, hands-on training. Students learn how to differentiate between types of fire, recognize the scientific principles of fire and manage and execute fire safety regulations within a fire department. Some examples of course topics include the following:
- Fire prevention principles and systems
- Fire behavior and conducting fire investigations
- Ethical and legal issues in fire service
- Fire protection in building construction
- Firefighting strategy and tactics
- Fire department administration
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Several positions exist for firefighters who earn a degree in fire safety management or fire technology. Such individuals can advance to the positions of fire captain, fire chief, deputy fire chief or fire lieutenant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), first-line supervisors of firefighting and prevention workers held 58,110 jobs in 2015 (www.bls.gov), and firefighters are expected to have a 5% increase in employment opportunities from 2014 to 2024. The median annual salary for first-line supervisors of firefighting and fire prevention workers was $72,230 in May 2015.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
Fire safety managers and other fire technology supervisors are not required to gain certification. Individuals who are interested in advancing even further in their careers might consider enrolling in a bachelor's degree program related to fire science. They might also consider gaining certification as emergency medical technicians or paramedics.
An associate degree in fire safety management prepares firefighters to advance in their careers through academic lessons in fire control and unit supervision. Graduates also have a variety of opportunities for further professional growth and education.