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Job Opportunities for Students Majoring in Fire Science

Career News March 11, 2015

Graduates of the fire science program are prepared to work only in firefighting, but there are various occupational titles and jobs in that field. Fire science majors gain the training and education they will need for leadership jobs in the profession of fire service.

Fire Science Major

Students who complete fire science programs can seek entry-level careers in firefighting. They may aim for job titles such as volunteer firefighter, first-line supervisor, deputy chief, lieutenant, assistant chief, fire chief, captain, engineer, battalion chief, smoke jumper, fire investigator, fire inspector, and fire marshal.

Job Responsibilities and Work Settings

Job responsibilities of firefighters vary according to their area of specialty. For instance, fire marshals and inspectors busy themselves by preventing fires, conducting building inspections, enforcing fire protection laws, and imparting fire safety training to kids.

Fire investigators’ work involves talking to witnesses and gathering evidence aimed at discovering the source of fires. Smoke jumpers put out forest fires. Firefighters can seek employment in various environments, such as factories, forests, and airports. Local government agencies also employ firefighters.

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth of seven percent has been predicted for firefighters over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Employers that convert volunteer positions into paid positions, in addition to a burgeoning of migration by people to cities, drives this growth.

In March 2014, firefighters brought home an average annual wage of $43,589, while fire inspector/investigators, fire chiefs, and first-line supervisor/managers of fire fighting and prevention workers earned respective annual wages of $51,142, $72,848, and $63,541.

Educational Requirements

While admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, some employers expect candidates to hold an associate’s degree in fire science; alternatively, a job seeker should have attended community college and completed courses therein. Two-year and four-year degree programs in fire engineering, among other related fields, are offered at some larger universities and colleges.

Fire science majors can expect to become adept at handling essential tools such as fire extinguishers and chain saws, rescuing victims, dealing with different types of fires, handling hazardous materials, and working in a team environment. College courses typically include firefighting basics, fire behavior, combustion, building construction, hazardous materials, first aid, investigation methods, and fire prevention.

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