Students interested in preventing fires by designing better protective technology and safer structures might consider a program such as a Master of Science or Master of Engineering in Fire Protection Engineering. Students in these programs are trained to research fire-resistant construction materials, assess risks in various structures, and create plans for safer buildings and vehicles. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree in a field of science or engineering. They must also submit letters of recommendation, a personal statement of goals, and a resume.
Master's Degree in Fire Technology
Through a master's degree program in fire protection engineering, students develop advanced skills and training in all facets of fire science, prevention, and risk assessment. The curriculum covers how fires start and spread, and learners often use computer simulations to predict fire behavior in various types of rooms and buildings. Students also study control systems, such as sprinklers, and warning systems like alarms and smoke detectors. Common course titles include:
- Mechanics of flame propagation
- Risk analysis
- Fire dynamics
- Building safety
- Fire modeling
- Structural fire protection
Popular Career Options
After graduating with a master's degree in fire protection engineering, students are prepared for jobs in fire research, structure design, emergency planning, and even forensics. Possible job titles include the following:
- Arson investigator
- Building inspector
- Fire safety researcher
- Industrial safety specialist
- Fire protection engineer
- Fire control system designer
Continuing Education and Licensure Information
To become a fire protection engineer, graduates need to obtain a professional engineer (PE) license, which is required for engineers working directly with the public. The licensure process involves accumulating four years of work experience and passing a two-part exam, on top of earning an accredited degree. The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (www.sfpe.org) offers resources to help candidates prepare for the PE exam. This organization also hosts conferences and other events through which attendees can earn continuing education credits, which are necessary for PE license renewal in some states.
Ph.D. programs in fire protection engineering are available and are typically pursued by graduates who wish to become university professors or focus their careers on research. Some graduates of master's degree programs in fire protection engineering choose to pursue supplementary post-graduate degrees or certificates in areas like public safety administration or another engineering specialty, such as chemical or electrical engineering.
Although master's degree programs in fire technology are not readily available, students can earn a master's degree in fire protection engineering to learn the theoretical and practical skills they need for careers as arson investigators, fire safety researchers and other positions related to fire protective services.