Fire Fighting Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

While no formal education is required to apply for a fire fighter position, fire departments do offer extensive training to employees. Earning a certificate or degree in fire science or technology can provide students with an edge over the competition and prepare them for management or command positions in fire services.

Fire science, fire technology and related programs are available at the certificate, associate's degree, bachelor's degree and master's degree levels. Both traditional and distance learning formats may be available.

10 Schools with Fire Science Programs

These programs prepare students to be firefighters or to earn a promotion and may include hands-on training.

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,778 in-state, $20,978 out-of-state
Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's $8,150 in-state, $17,640 out-of-state
University of Akron Akron, OH 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $10,509 in-state, $19,040 out-of-state
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,810 in-state, $13,920 out-of-state
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,381 in-state, $28,659 out-of-state
University of North Carolina - Charlotte Charlotte, NC 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,532 in-state, $19,703 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 Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $11,000 in-state, $26,334 out-of-state
University of New Haven West Haven, CT 4-year, Private Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's $35,650
Utah Valley University Orem, UT 4-year, Private Certificate $5,386 in-state, $15,202 out-of-state

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

The following considerations should be noted when choosing a fire science school:

  • Students should choose a program based on their ultimate career goals. A certificate program may help students start their careers in the fire fighting profession, while an associate's or bachelor's degree might prepare them for management positions.
  • Students might want to consider programs that offer concentrations in their area of interest, such as fire administration, fire investigation/arson and fire technology.
  • Some programs require that students be of a certain age or have EMT training before enrolling.
  • Students should look for schools that have state of the art equipment and 'burn buildings' for training.

Fire Fighting Certificates

Certificates are available in fire science, wild land fire control and arson investigation. Graduates of a certificate program learn about the fundamentals of fire behavior, fire safety and prevention, rescue tactics and equipment education.

Fire Fighting Associate's Degrees

An associate's degree helps prepare students for entry into fire service and for management and command positions, such as a fire administrator, arson investigator or safety director. Schools offer Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Science or Associate of Art degrees in fire science, fire technology, fire officer, fire investigation, fire prevention and wild land fire management.

Fire Fighting Bachelor's Degrees

Students can also earn a bachelor's degree in fire science technology or fire protection systems. Students study multi-agency command, catastrophic rescue, community disaster management and emergency medical services management.

Fire Fighting Master's Degrees

A master's degree in fire science prepares students for leadership roles in the public and private sectors of fire protection services. Students investigate the chemistry of fires and explosions, strategic fire service planning, public safety management, public fire protection, arson analysis, terrorism, fire and building codes and fire scene reconstruction.

Students who are looking for a fire science program should consider what position they want to obtain as well as what facilities a school offers. Some programs also offer concentrations in different areas related to firefighting.

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