There are a few certificate options for students interested in fire services. Fire service technology programs focus on containing and preventing fires. Students learn hands-on fire control and rescue procedures. Fire service administration programs teach students to become administrators who make planning and financial decisions. Students of undergraduate certificate fire science programs learn about fire chemistry and physics, as well as fire investigation. Courses are commonly available online.
In addition to a high school diploma, prospective applicants may require industry-specific credentials to be considered for admission. Other fire service technology requirements include proof of a recent physical exam and an up-to-date immunization record.
Graduates can pursue certification as firefighters, fire inspectors or fire investigators through state and national credentialing agencies.
Certificate of Achievement in Fire Service Technology
Some schools require prospective fire service technology students to hold EMT-B (Emergency Medical Technician-Basic) or EMT-P (Paramedic) and CPR certification. Fire service technology is offered with three areas of specialization, including fire officer, fire inspector and fire investigator. Future firefighters learn how to utilize firefighting equipment and materials, operate firehouse vehicles and rescue victims. Coursework includes topics like fire protection systems, leadership skills and life safety. Other typical classes include:
- Fire protection equipment
- Fire control
- Fire rescue
- Incident management
Certificate of Achievement in Fire Service Administration
The curriculum in these programs explore theories and methods for recruiting, staffing and training employees, as well as providing a safe and disciplined work environment. Students also study arson detection, building construction, fire protection planning and public education, in addition to emergency preparedness. Other topics of discussion might include budgeting, financial systems and media damage control. Other courses include:
- Business law
- Human resource management
- Personnel relations
- Fire instructor I
- Emergency operations
Undergraduate Certificate in Fire Science
Designed for both non-firefighters and firefighters who are looking to increase their understanding of the field, the fire science certificate program prepares students to work as firefighters and emergency response personnel. The curriculum includes studies in fire behavior and protection systems, firefighting materials and fire administration. Topics of discussion include fire phases, code enforcement and the history of fire services in the United States. Students get an introduction to fire causes, emergency response tactics and hydraulic theories. Other subjects in the program include:
- Physical fitness for firefighters
- Water supply
- Building construction and design
- Fire investigation
Popular Career Options
Graduates go on to careers in a variety of settings, including local fire stations, industrial sites, chemical plants, airports and military bases. Popular career options include:
- Fire investigator
- Fire inspector
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that firefighters held 318,790 jobs in the U.S. in 2015, and the number of jobs in this field is projected to grow by 5% between the years 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The annual median salary for a firefighter in May 2015 was $46,870.
Also according to the BLS, first-line supervisors and managers of firefighting and prevention workers held 58,110 jobs in the U.S. in May 2015, with most of these positions being held in local government (www.bls.gov). The median salary for these professionals was $72,230 at that time.
Continuing Education Information
Individual states have different requirements and procedures for issuing firefighter or fire officer certification, although most states require firefighters to hold EMT-B or EMT-P certification. Graduates can complete the National Association of Fire Investigators exam to become a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator.
Graduates looking for further education can enroll in a variety of associate's degree programs, including fire science, fire technology and fire protection technician. Graduates should check state requirements for firefighter certification. Bachelor's degree options include programs in fire and emergency services administration, fire science and fire administration.
Aspiring fire service workers have a number of educational options. Fire service technology certificate programs offer 3 areas of specialization, those in fire service administration prepare graduates for leadership roles, and undergraduate certificate programs provide units in unique concepts, like hydraulic theory.