Master's degree programs in fire service leadership teach the planning and management techniques necessary to organize and lead fire prevention units, fire departments, search and rescue squads, fire inspectors and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). Specialization options include leadership and finance. These degrees go by several names, including Master of Science (M.S.) in Fire and Emergency Management Administration or Master of Science (M.S.) in Safety, Security and Emergency Management. Most programs can be completed in 1-2 years and many are available online to accommodate working students.
Applicants are required to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college with an acceptable finishing grade point average. They must also submit undergraduate transcripts. For some programs, the bachelor's degree must specifically be in fire or emergency management and the student must have experience in the field, such as an internship.
Master of Science in Executive Fire Service Leadership
Curriculum often covers strategic analysis, management ethics, safety practices, organization skills and principles, counter-terrorism, disaster management and policy matters. In addition to fire science and organizational and team management courses, these programs offer instruction on:
- Emergency management
- Disaster readiness
- Public safety legal issues
- Security management
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual salary for a firefighter was $49,330 as of May 2015, whereas first-line supervisors of firefighting and prevention workers earned a mean annual salary of $74,970.
Graduates of a master's degree program can go on to earn Ph.D.s in fire and emergency management administration. Doctoral candidates study both practical and theoretical aspects of fire and emergency management. Individuals can also broaden their knowledge by completing the Executive Fire Officer Program of the United States Fire Administration/National Fire Academy. Open only to senior leaders and officers, this 4-year program includes 4 courses and a research project.
Students looking to hold managerial positions within the firefighting field can benefit from advanced studies in a MS in Executive Fire Service Leadership program as well as other emergency-related graduate programs.