Fire Fighter School and College Program Options

Individuals interested in becoming firefighters may choose from certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree programs. When making a decision about a program, they may consider items like the course offerings of a program and the requirements of the state they wish to work in.

Fire science programs can be found at fire academies, community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities. Both in-person and online options are available.

Schools Offering Degrees in Firefighting/Fire Science

These schools offer fire science programs at varying levels and in different formats.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2015-2016*
Utah Valley University Orem, UT 4-year, public Certificate $5,386 in-state, $15,202 out-of-state
Idaho State University Pocatello, ID 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $6,784 in-state, $20,182 out-of-state
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,381 in-state, $28,659 out-of-state
Lake Superior State University Sault Ste Marie, MI 4-year, public Bachelor's $10,580 in-state, $15,788 out-of-state
New Jersey City University Jersey City, NJ 4-year, public Certificate, Bachelor's $11,180 in-state, $20,009 out-of-state
Lewis-Clark State College Lewiston, ID 4-year, public Associate's $7,224 in-state, $18,224 out-of-state
Southwestern Illinois College Belleville, IL 2-year, public Certificate, Associate's $3,420 in-district, $12,120 in-state, $15,750 out-of-state
Walla Walla Community College Walla Walla, WA 2-year, public Certificate, Associate's $4,203 in-state, $5,670 out-of-state

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

School and College Selection Criteria

Students may want to take the following considerations under advisement when selecting fire science programs:

  • Students may want to consider the different areas of training offered, such as emergency medical technician (EMT) certification and courses in leadership, management and fire prevention.
  • Since different fire departments have different standards, students may want to consult with the fire department they wish to work with to find out which qualifications would be most beneficial, such as paramedic training and certification.
  • Students may consider whether or not a program has distance learning options, and verify that the online program is accredited.
  • Some fire departments want workers who have at least an associate's degree, and higher levels may be required for further advancement.

Certificate Program in Fire Science

Certificate programs offered at community colleges and vocational schools may be completed in a few months. More advanced certificates exist for individuals with prior experience working or volunteering in a fire department.

Associate's Degree in Fire Science

Associate's degree programs cover similar topics to those in certificate programs, but they also include general education requirements in English, science and mathematics. These programs are typically completed in two years.

Bachelor's Degree in Fire Science

Bachelor's degree programs cover all areas of fire safety and fire code enforcement. Specialization may be available in areas like fire science engineering and hazardous materials. Students may be required to complete an internship.

Students who wish to become firefighters should look for programs that offer different areas of training, depending on where they wish to work. Students who complete these programs may also complete training in other areas of emergency response, such as EMT courses.


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