Schools for Aspiring Fire Engineers: How to Choose

Dec 11, 2019

Students studying to be fire engineers learn to design and implement both passive and active fire suppression systems, such as sprinklers and fire alarms. Associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs are available across the U.S. for aspiring fire safety and protection personnel.

Aspiring fire engineers take courses in a variety of subjects all revolving around fire prevention, suppression, and general safety. Fire engineering programs can be found at technical schools, community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities.

Schools with Fire Engineer Programs

These schools offer programs related to fire engineering, and may include labwork and training in designing, constructing, and installing fire protection systems.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition 2018-2019*
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $3,492 in-state, $10,371 out-of-state
Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 4-year, Public Bachelor's $9,666 in-state, $19,444 out-of-state
Miami Dade College Miami, FL 4-year, Public Associate's $2,838 in-state, $9,661 out-of-state
University of Akron Main Campus Akron, OH 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $11,463 in-state, $15,500 out-of-state
Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK 4-year, Public Bachelor's $9,019 in-state, $24,539 out-of-state
Vincennes University Vincennes, IN 4-year, Public Associate's $5,902 in-state, $13,959 out-of-state
University of New Haven West Haven, CT 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $39,270

Source: *NCES College Navigator

School Selection Criteria

Students may want to consider the following when choosing a school:

  • Certificates and associate's degrees take less time and cost less money than bachelor's programs.
  • An associate's degree may help graduates to pursue entry level positions; however higher level positions often require a more advanced degree.
  • Students may want to enroll in programs with up-to-date fire labs designed to give students realistic experience observing live fires and learning various methods of fire suppression.
  • Some programs may offer internships or courses geared towards state licensure requirements.

Associate Degree in Fire Protection Engineering Technology

Associate degree programs in fire protection engineering may take 2-3 years to complete. General education classes are commonly required, as are basic science classes, such as chemistry and physics. Students may be required to complete a technical research project. Commonly offered courses include:

  • Fire codes and hazards
  • Water supply systems
  • Building construction
  • Sprinklers
  • Alarm systems

Bachelor's Degree in Fire Protection Engineering

Bachelor's degree programs in fire protection engineering include general education courses, as well as basic math and science classes, such as calculus, physics and chemistry. Hands-on experience in lab and real-world settings is reinforced in upper-level coursework. Students take courses in:

  • Fire modeling
  • Risk management
  • Water-based suppression
  • Alarm system design
  • Hazardous materials

Master's Degree in Fire Protection Engineering

Master's degree programs can be completed in two years and qualify students for advanced positions as fire protection engineers. A research project or thesis may be required, and internship opportunities may be available. Coursework might include:

  • Fire dynamics
  • Response to human behavior
  • Principles of various fuel types
  • Structural integrity

Many schools offer fire protection engineering programs at different levels, and may include hands-on training and experience. Students may wish to choose a program that offers internships or prepares students for state licensure.

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