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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Fire Technology

Majors Overview October 29, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in fire technology and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and licensure and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs in Fire Technology

Few schools, if any, offer master’s degree programs as ‘fire technology’. Those seeking education about prevention of fires through the design of safer structures and better protective technology would benefit from enrolling in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Fire Protection Engineering. Fire protection engineers involve themselves in assessing risks in various structures, researching fire-resistant construction materials, and creating plans for safer vehicles and buildings.

Enrollees in a master’s degree program in fire protection engineering concern themselves with the protection of both property and people from smoke and fire damage. They accomplish this through improvements in the design of fire control technology and structures. Schools also offer education in this field through a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) program.

Program coursework covers the origin and spread of fires, computer simulations often help in predicting fire behavior in a variety of types of buildings and rooms. The studies also cover warning systems, such as smoke detectors and alarms, in addition to control systems, such as sprinklers. Coursework examines materials for building more fire-resistant structures. All this knowledge is combined to teach students about designing structures aimed at minimizing the risks of fire damage and providing residents with efficient evacuation routes.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree, preferably in the fields of engineering or science. They must also submit several letters of recommendation, undergraduate transcripts, and, in certain instances, a personal statement of goals. Submission of a copy of their resume is an expectation for those currently employed in a fire safety or science field.

Coursework

Coursework in a master’s degree program in fire protection engineering is devised to help the development of advanced skills and training in every facet of fire science, risk assessment, and prevention. Core coursework covers topic areas such as:

•Evacuation planning
•Structural fire protection
•Fire modeling
•Burning rate theory
•Fire dynamics
•Risk analysis
•Mechanics of flame propagation
•Smoke detection and management
•Fire Forensics

Career Choices

Program graduates can seek careers in structure design, fire research, forensics, and emergency planning. They may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Property account engineer
•Industrial safety specialist
•Building Inspector
•Arson investigator
•Fire control system designer
•Fire safety researcher
•Fire protection engineer

Licensure and Continuing Education Choices

Before a program graduate can become a fire protection engineer, he or she may have to obtain licensure as a professional engineer (PE), a mandatory requirement for engineers working directly with the public. They can obtain licensure through passage of a 2-part exam, in addition to having four years of work experience and an accredited degree. Candidates can prepare for the PE exam by using resources offered by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SPFE). Continuing education credits may be earned by attending conferences and other events hosted by the SFPE, a requirement to renew PE licenses in some states.

Schools also offer Ph.D. programs in Fire Protection Engineering for graduates who seek careers in academia or research. Some program graduates seeking continuing education may opt for supplementary certificates or post-graduate degrees in engineering specialty areas such as electrical or chemical engineering or public safety administration.

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