Fire leadership training programs may bolster your employment potential and greatly enhance your knowledge base. If you're interested in acquiring higher education credentials, you might pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in fire service administration. Coursework will highlight such topics as fire investigation, fire prevention systems and emergency personnel management. Associate's programs will take two years to complete while bachelor's degrees will take four years. Most schools that offer such degrees will require previous experience in the fire and emergency services field. Some bachelor's degree program will require you earn an associate's degree first.
Associate's Degree Programs in Fire Service Leadership
An associate's degree program in fire service leadership includes training beyond tactical firefighting techniques. You'll be provided with the opportunity to acquire management and planning skills needed to become future administrators. Such programs could allow you to apply credit from your firefighter training toward degree requirements.
You must complete a combination of general education requirements and professional coursework to earn an associate's degree in fire service leadership. You'll learn to identify and handle flammable, hazardous and combustible materials. Leadership skills are taught through administration, instructor, and incident command courses. Specific course topics might include:
- Building fire codes
- Volunteer program coordination
- Wildfire management
- Suppression and detection systems
- Field communications
- Fire and arson investigation
Bachelor's Degree Programs in Fire Service Leadership
Bachelor's degree programs in fire service administration cover foundational skills in operations and leadership. Many completion programs are offered in distance learning formats and are tailored for currently working professionals. You'll be prepared to apply academic theory to real-life emergency service situations.
After graduating from a baccalaureate program in fire services administration, you'll also be prepared for managerial positions through training in personnel administration, program development, finance, and general emergency service management. Some core and elective course topics of the major include:
- Fire and critical services operations
- Fire behavior
- Public fire protection
- Fire prevention management
- Fire protection systems
- Fire and arson investigation
Popular Career Options
In addition to working as a firefighter, there are several other career options once you graduate from a fire service leadership program. Specific roles could include:
- Fire officer
- Fire chief
- Fire inspector
- Fire investigator
- Forest fire inspector
- Fire prevention specialist
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for firefighters as of May 2015 was $46,870. That same year, supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers median pay was $72,230. The BLS reports that job growth between 2014 and 2024 for both firefighters and first-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers will be 5%, as fast as the average job growth rate for all jobs.
The BLS stated that strong competition was expected for all firefighter jobs, and those with education and emergency medical training or certification were expected to have the best job prospects.
While not required to work in the fire service industry, pursuing a degree in fire service leadership is a good idea for individuals who wish to expand their skill set and knowledge base, as well as for those who wish to work in more specialized or advanced positions.