Sometimes we joke about those who enjoy playing with fire, calling them "pyros" and keeping our distance from them. But we have to confess that while we take the heat, light, and power of fire for granted, there are those who train themselves to tame this all-important element. Fire provides us the heat to cook our food and keep us warm, the light to ward off darkness, and the power to move locomotives and destroy in moments what took years to build. If you find yourself drawn towards both mastering fire and protecting society from its potential dangers, then achieving an Associate's Degree in fire science is the right path for you to pursue.
Many industries and careers rely on talented, knowledgeable individuals to appropriately allocate the power of fire. Many argue that fire itself is alive, citing that it seemingly reproduces itself, breathes oxygen, and responds to its environments. A degree enables you to completely understand this mysterious force, and to apply your understanding toward keeping society safer and stronger.
Fire science is, at its heart, a scientific study. A complete Associate's Degree in fire science examines fire prevention and fire protection. But in addition to learning about fire's properties and ways to deal with it, a fire science degree also trains individuals on management skills as well. Fires don't put themselves out and always require a team of trained individuals to work cohesively to deal with its destructive force. This is why policy integration, management, and human resources are also packaged into such a study program. Training on how to handle fire begins with understanding fire itself, but ends with specialized education on equipment and personnel related to fire safety.
The majority of individuals who earn an Associate's Degree in fire science intend on becoming a firefighter in their future. A firefighter is a prestigious job within any community, as it represents a brave and knowledgeable individual who is equipped with the instruments and training necessary to protect the public. Firefighters are often hired directly by community fire departments, although employment opportunities also exist in governmental offices and educational facilities. Fire fighters most commonly spend time either limiting the destructive effects of fires or spend time educating the public on fire prevention and safety.
Although many firefighters begin and end their careers as firefighters, many others seek to improve their employment by working towards promotion. A firehouse operates much like a police department or military organization and has a detailed hierarchy of responsibility. Individuals who possess a fire science degree are educationally qualified to work towards becoming a fire captain or even a fire chief once enough experience is acquired.
It can often seem like what one generation masters, the next generation forgets, and this can be true when it comes to fire safety. Instead of working on the streets as a fire fighter, many individuals who possess a fire science degree work in educational institutions. There, they instruct a wide array of individuals including firefighters, contractors, materials engineers, and others on the best techniques for fire prevention and safety.
While many of us might write off playing with fire as dangerous or silly, you have always understood that this is a powerful force that demands knowledge and respect. Now, with an Associate's Degree in fire science, you will have the fundamental scientific training necessary to make positive contributions to the way our communities interact with this dangerous entity. Whether working in a community as a firefighter or chief, or training others at educational institutions about fire prevention and safety, you will possess the knowledge that puts you into the career that allows you to work with fire every day.
- Introduction to Fire Science
- Water Principles
- Fire Prevention
- Fire Extinguishing Techniques
- Fire Codes and Local Laws
Forestry and Forest Ranger - For your Associate’s degree in Fire Science you’ll need 60 credit hours to earn your degree. You’ll take courses in wildlife, forestry and botany. If you love working outdoors then this could be the perfect career for you. You’ll be responsible for land restoration, water conservation and urban forestry. You’ll work with the other ranges to promote safety at National Forests.
Emergency Management – In an emergency management role this can include homeland security, disaster management or a supporting office role. You’ll work with local emergency personnel regarding urban planning and safety.
Fire Inspector – In this role you’ll be responsible for conducting safety inspections on both commercial and even residential structures. Keep up-to-date on hazardous materials as well as all state and federal regulations. Get certified by the National Association of Fire Investigators NAFI. On average nationwide this position has a salary of $56,550 per year plus benefits.
Firefighter – Get your EMT training and try out to become a firefighter. Your Associate’s degree in fire science will be a great additional to the work and experience you’ll gain in a firefighting role. Most firefighters work at the local level but some are state-wide or work within a region.
Arson Investigator – Work for ATF at the local or even nationwide level as an arson instigator
We recently interviewed a 10 year firefighter veteran and wanted to learn more about not only how he first started but what a typical day was in the life of a city firefighter.
Question: When did you first apply to become a firefighter
Answer: I first wanted to become a firefighter when I was 18 but didn’t actually get serious about it until I was 23. I obtained my EMT license and wanted to see if I liked the industry first so my first job was actually as a first responder. I did that for 3 years then really wanted to become a firefighter.
Question: What type of education do you have?
Answer: I currently have my Associate’s degree in Fire Science as well as an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and going to school online to earn my Bachelor’s degree in both.
Question: Do you have a typical day?
Answer: No, but I sure wish I did. I live in the city so every day is different.
Question: How often do you fight fires?
Answer: Oddly enough most of the time we aren’t fighting fires but assisting other departments with accidents. We are called to a scene to help in the event it requires us to go into a building and help. I would say most of our calls are car or pedestrian accidents. I live in a state that has lot of snow so we are always assisting motorists and pulling people out of cars.
Question: Do you love your job?
Answer: Yes, I don’t know of anyone in the industry that hates it. One thing however that I did once I received my AA degree in fire science is I’ve been taking online courses during my downtime. I’m going to so I can not only get a promotion but I realize that I’m probably not going to want to fight fires in my 50’s and I’d love to become an arson investigator later in life. I think it is a great idea for everyone to continue on with their education.