Schools with Fire Engineering Degrees: How to Choose

Firefighters and people interested in fire protection can pursue studies in fire protection and safety engineering. Fire engineering is a constantly developing field of study that involves fire suppression, fire protection, and the reduction of safety risks. Programs in fire engineering are available on-campus and online at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

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Fire engineering programs are offered at a variety of public and private universities. They are available at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels.

10 Fire Engineering Schools

The following schools offer fire engineering programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,150 (in-state), $17,640 (out-of-state)
Lawrence Technological University Southfield, MI 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Graduate Certificate $19,500
University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $9,996 (in-state, undergrad,) $12,896 (in-state, grad)
California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, CA 4-year, Public Master's, Graduate Certificate $10,267 (in-state), $19,195 (out-of-state)
Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $7,778 (in-state, undergrad), $7,230 (in-state, grad)
University of New Haven West Haven, CT 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $35,650
Worcester Polytechnic University Worcester, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate $24,648
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's $11,000 (in-state), $26,334 (out-of-state)
Sinclair Community College Dayton, OH 2-year, Public Associate's $2,476 (in-district), $3,604 (in-state), $6,868 (out-of-state)
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $41,169

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Programs in fire engineering are usually found at 4-year schools. There are many considerations for a student in search of a fire engineering program, including the following:

  • Prospective students with scheduling commitments may want to look for online programs with asynchronous learning; these are commonly available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels.
  • It can be helpful to find out about the school's facilities when looking for programs. Some schools have state-of-the-art fire simulation labs.
  • Prospective graduate students who are considering research-focused programs should look for schools where there are faculty members with whom they share research interests, as they may act as faculty advisors.
  • Students may want to look for programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), or the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC).

Associate's Degree Programs

A few schools offer associate's degree programs in fire engineering technology. These programs introduce students to the basics of fire protection systems design, investigation and administration. Students may also be required to complete an internship, and they must fulfill general education requirements before they can graduate. Upon completion, graduates are prepared for entry-level fire engineering technician positions, or they may advance to a bachelor's degree program in fire engineering.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree programs in fire engineering provide a comprehensive overview of the field, covering topics such as fire prevention, fire suppression, fire protection, and safety measures. Some programs prepare students for relevant industry certification exams, such as the Paramedic or Fire Inspector exam. Most programs take four years to complete, but some are offered online in accelerated formats.

Master's Degree Programs

Master's degree programs in fire engineering give students the chance to pursue advanced studies in this highly interdisciplinary field. They include both theoretical and practical courses in topics such as structural behavior and material testing methods. Depending on the school, students may be able to choose between thesis- and non-thesis options.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Individuals who want to conduct advanced research in the field of fire engineering can find a few schools that offer PhD programs in the field. In these programs, students undertake high-level research in a particular area of interest, such as fire suppression, building fire safety, fire detection, explosion protection or fire dynamics. PhD programs culminate in a doctoral dissertation.

Graduate Certificate Programs

Experienced engineers who want to pursue advanced studies in fire engineering without committing to a full master's degree programs may earn a graduate certificate in the field. Some certificate programs focus more heavily on the scientific aspects of fire engineering, while others emphasize the real-world applications of studies in the field.

Fire engineering programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. Students should consider the school's facilities and their career goals when choosing between programs.

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