Bachelors Degree in Fire Science: Program Information
Individuals who are interested in advancing to positions of leadership within fire service organizations might consider pursuing an education beyond an associate's degree. One degree program available for fire service professionals leads to a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science.
Bachelor of Science in Fire Science
The majority of fire fighters gain their education and training through 2-year associate's degree programs and on-the-job instruction. However, some universities and community colleges offer 4-year bachelor's degree programs in fire science for those individuals who are interested in earning positions of management and leadership in the fire service industry.
In addition to gaining advanced instruction in both new and time-tested methods of fire prevention and fire protection, students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in fire science also gain the operational and leadership skills necessary to run a crew of fire fighters. They learn to design and implement organizational policies, oversee human resources and training, manage a group of employees and lead entire organizations through dangerous situations. They also gain a more in-depth understanding of local and state fire codes, legal aspects of fire protection, safety measures and hazardous materials management procedures.
The requirements for fire science majors vary from school to school, but the majority of them require that incoming students hold at least a high school diploma. Some request that students have some amount of professional experience working within a fire service organization or similar public safety agency.
The courses in bachelor's degree programs in fire science provide students with a more advanced understanding of fire safety techniques as well as a basic understanding of management principles. Some examples of course topics include:
- Fire protection
- Advanced fire administration
- Fire prevention organization and management
- Fire analysis and investigation
- Legal aspects of fire protection
- Fire department safety
- Principles of fire behavior
- Leadership skills
- Fire science hydraulics
- Hazardous materials management
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), firefighters will have an expected 9% job growth for the years 2010 through 2020. Firefighters earned a median annual wage of $45,250 in 2012, according to the BLS. In the same year, supervisors of firefighting and prevention workers earned $68,210 as a median annual wage.
Continuing Education Information
Master's degree programs in fire science are uncommon, but there are a few available. The bachelor's degree is the more typical terminal degree for the field. In addition to school programs, fire fighters may participate in continuing education through advanced training sessions sponsored by their departments or by professional organizations like the U.S. National Fire Academy.
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