There are several options for individuals wanting to enter the firefighting profession or already working in the fire services industry. Programs are available at the certificate, associate degree, bachelor's degree and master's degree levels.
10 Schools with Fire Science Programs
The following schools offer fire science programs:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*|
|Oklahoma State University||Stillwater, OK||4-year, Public|| Bachelor's
| $7,778 In-state
|Eastern Kentucky University||Richmond, KY||4-year, Public||Bachelor's|| $8,150 In-state
|University of Akron||Akron, OH||4-year, Public||Associate's|| $10,509 In-state
|CUNY-John Jay College of Criminal Justice||New York, NY||4-year, Public||Bachelor's|| $6,810 In-state
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||4-year, Public|| Certificate
| $6,381 In-state
|University of North Carolina-Charlotte||Charlotte, NC||4-year, Public|| Bachelor's
| $6,532 In-state
|Idaho State University||Pocatello, ID||4-year, Public|| Associate's
| $6,784 In-state
|University of Cincinnati||Cincinnati, OH||4-year, Public|| Associate's
| $11,000 In-state
|University of New Haven||West Haven, CT||4-year, Private not-for-profit|| Certificate
|Utah Valley University||Orem, UT||4-year, Public|| Certificate
| $5,386 In-state
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
The following considerations should be noted when choosing a fire science school:
- When selecting a firefighting school, students should be clear about their career and educational goals. Some programs have concentrations in different sub-fields to choose from, while others prepare students for only one specialty.
- A certificate program may help students start their careers in the firefighting profession or current firefighting employees obtain a promotion.
- Some programs require that students be of a certain age or have EMT training before enrolling.
- Prospective students may want to look for schools that have state-of-the-art equipment and 'burn buildings' for training.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs in fire science and closely related fields offer aspiring firefighters a general overview of the field, providing introductory courses in fire safety, fire behavior, fire prevention and structure protection. They may also include Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training. Prior to graduation from one of these two-year programs, students must fulfill general education requirements.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Bachelor's degree programs in fire science or fire safety provide a comprehensive overview of the emergency field. In addition to the basic coursework included in associate's degree programs, students have the chance to take advanced electives, and they may be able to specialize in a particular topic of interest, such as fire administration or fire investigation. Some programs also include training for state certification exams, such as the paramedic and fire inspector certifications.
Master's Degree Programs
There are only a few schools in the United States that offer a master's degree in fire science. In these programs, students take advanced courses in fire chemistry and dynamics, and those who are particularly interested in fire safety may have the chance to declare a concentration in public safety management. Depending on the school, students may be able to choose between thesis and non-thesis tracks. Thesis programs require students to conduct a research project in a particular area of interest, while non-thesis students may be required to complete an internship in the field.
The content of certificate programs varies depending on the school. Some offer coursework similar to associate's degree programs, but without general education courses. Others include a series of fire safety coursework for experienced emergency service professionals who have already earned an associate's degree in a related field. While some certificates include only theoretical coursework and can be completed entirely online, others include real-world training within the curriculum.
Fire safety programs are available at the certificate, associate's degree, bachelor's degree and master's degree levels. These programs emphasize the fundamentals of fire science, arson investigation, disaster management and public safety.