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Associate Degree Program in Fire Protection Technology

Majors Overview April 20, 2013

Fire investigator, fire code inspectors, and firefighters protect property and lives through their understanding of fire control and prevention. Prospective fire protection professionals should consider an associate degree in fire protection technology that will help them learn why and how fires occur, along with how to extinguish them safely.

Fire Protection Technology Associate Degree Program

Active or prospective firefighters who have earned a general education development (GED) certificate or a high school diploma may enroll in an associate degree program in fire protection technology, usually awarded as an Associate of Technical Studies or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. These degree programs provide training in fire protection and prevention methods, with an emphasis on decision-making, analytical thinking, and technical knowledge of fire detection systems, building construction, and flammable materials.

Students will learn leadership and communication skills that they can apply in practical training in emergency response and firefighting methods. Depending on the degree programs, it may include cooperative work arrangements or internships with local fire departments to provide students with real-world experience and training in firefighting and associated duties.

Program Course Topics

Fire protection technology associate degree program concentrates on the practical skills and knowledge needed to safely and effectively prevent, investigate, and fight fires. Courses in writing, computer science, math, and chemistry support the skills and concepts learned in discipline-specific courses. The following courses are included in the fire protection technology curriculum:

•Fire service administration
•OSHA standards
•Fire protection law
•Fire codes
•Fire inspection and detection
•Firefighting strategies
•Hazardous materials

Career Options

The practical skills and knowledge base taught in fire protection programs will pave the way to various careers in firefighting or fire inspection, protection, and prevention, although official training requirements vary from one municipality to the next. Fire protection professionals may find careers in transportation facilities, private corporations, and government agencies. Some career options in this field may include:

•Fire investigator
•Fire prevention specialist
•Fire safety inspector
•Municipal firefighter

Information on Continuing Education

Advancement in the fire prevention and protection fields are usually dependent upon continuing education, advanced training, and seniority, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov). Typically, fire departments require aspiring firefighters to undertake academy training. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly all fire departments expect recruits to receive emergency medical technician certification and training ranging from Emergency Medical Technical Basic to paramedic.

If a firefighter wants to improve his or her knowledge and pursue roles with greater responsibility, an undergraduate degree in fire protection or a related field might be a suitable option. Course topics covered may include fire services administration, community fire prevention, elements of building design and construction, and industrial fire safety. Additionally, voluntary professional certifications in fire inspection and protection for industry professionals who want to showcase their knowledge, as measured by nationally recognized standards are offered by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA – www.nfpa.org).

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