There is perhaps no more dangerous job in the world than that of firefigher. These brave men and women are willing to risk their lives daily to save other’s lives and property. For those students seeking a career in firefighting many schools offer online degrees in fire science. These degrees are available at the Associate’s and Bachelor’s levels and prepare students for work as firefighters with local fire departments and other organizations.
Fire Science Associate’s Degree
An Associate’s degree in fire science trains students in firefighting and fire investigation. Students can choose from an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science though both curriculums are very similar. Students wishing to enroll in these programs should be very good in science because classes in these programs focus on chemistry and engineering to explain fire science concepts. Architecture and law are also emphasized when looking at strategies to fight fires and fire behavior.
Most programs only require a high school diploma for admission though some prefer students who are currently working in firefighting or are volunteering with a local department. Students who obtain an Associate of Science degree can usually transfer most if not all credits toward a Bachelor’s degree. Most coursework in these programs is theoretical in nature and lecture-driven despite firefighting being a very hands-on job. The practical training of physically fighting fires is often done on-site at local departments or with other organizations.
Fire Science Associate’s Degree Requirements
These degrees taken online can be completed in 2-3 years depending on how many classes are taken per semester. Students access materials through a college’s website and must have a computer with internet access and e-mail. Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader are also needed to complete assignments.
Fire Science Associate’s Degree Courses
In addition to general education classes students also learn about fire prevention, fire codes and the history of firefighting. Courses taken include:
- Fire behavior
- Building construction for fire safety
- Fire protection
Students learn about the chemistry and physics of fires, how buildings react to fires and fire prevention technology.
Fire Science Associate’s Degree Careers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 19% annual job growth through 2018. The jobs are physically demanding with long and erratic hours. Firefighters earn average yearly salaries of $45,000 with supervisors earning $68,000.
Fire Science Bachelor’s Degree
Online Bachelor’s degrees in Fire Science are for those seeking advancement to leadership positions and exceed most entry-level requirements of fire departments. These programs explore theories and practices of firefighting as well as administrative duties within organizations. Students learn policy plannning, material management, legalities of fire services and applications of specialized firefighting equipment. Admission to these programs requires previous experience as a firefighter.
Fire Science Bachelor’s Degree Requirements
These degrees are completed entirely online using online forums, e-mail and telephone. All assignments and tests are obtained and completed online. The degree can be earned in two years if a student transfers an Associate’s degree or four years if not. A computer with high-speed internet and word processing software is needed to complete assignments and interact with classmates.
Fire Science Bachelor’s Degree Courses
General education classes in math, humanities and social sciences are taken in addition to fire science courses such as:
- Fire dynamics
- Fire investigation
- Fire prevention
- Hazardous materials management
Fire Science Bachelor’s Degree Careers
An online degree prepares graduates to become fire inspectors, fire investigators or advance to administrative positions within departments. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs for fire inspectors will increase by 9% through 2018. Average annual salaries for fire inspectors and investigators are $44,000.