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Overview of Fire Science Associate Degree Programs

Majors Overview March 7, 2014

Students enrolled in the associate’s degree program in fire science are trained to seek entry-level occupations in the fire department. CPR training may be included in the program, while CPR certification may be required as a prerequisite before admission to other programs. Entry-level firefighting skills are taught to students along with the modes of response to various emergencies. General education coursework is also usually included in the associate’s degree program.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. However, only a limited number of high school students are accepted by some programs.

Coursework

Typically, coursework in an associate’s degree in fire science is offered in the various areas involved in emergency response and firefighting. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Hydraulics and water supplies
•Fire prevention basics
•Basic and advanced skills for firefighters
•Responding to emergencies
•Investigating fires

Job and Wage Outlook

A relatively low job growth rate of 7% has been projected for firefighters during the decade from 2012 to 2022 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). The best prospects are expected to be enjoyed by individuals with excellent physical fitness, high test scores, and firefighting and paramedic education. In May 2012, firefighters took home an average annual wage of $45,250 (BLS).

Continuing Education

Many high school diploma holders seek entry-level careers as firefighters (BLS). In-house training academies may be run by municipal fire departments wherein trainees are tested on their knowledge and skills. Basic emergency medical technician training may be the minimum requirement for aspiring firefighters; although those aspiring to join larger departments may need to have advanced paramedic training (BLS).

Taking courses in building construction, writing, public speaking, management, budgeting procedures and public relations may help firefighters advance in their careers. Those who seek administrative roles, such as chief or deputy chief, are generally required to earn a bachelor’s degree in fire science, public administration, or a related area.

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