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Degree Overview: Master of Science (M.S.) Degree in Fire Service Leadership

Majors Overview September 30, 2015

This article talks about Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs in Fire Service Leadership and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Fire Service Leadership

Individuals who want to learn the planning and management techniques necessary for organizing and leading fire departments, fire prevention units, fire inspectors, search and rescue squads, and EMTs would benefit from enrolling in master’s degree programs in fire service leadership. Schools offer these degrees in several different names, such as Master of Science (M.S.) in Safety, Security and Emergency Management or Master of Science (M.S.) in Fire and Emergency Management Administration. An area of specialization, such as finance or leadership may be available to students enrolled in some programs. Many schools offer programs online to facilitate working students. Students complete most programs within 1-2 years.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, preferably in fire or emergency management. Alternatively, students may be expected to have experience in the field, with an internship accepted as the equivalent of experience. The student is also required to meet a grade point average standard.


Program coursework covers management ethics, strategic analysis, and fire service management. Forging a strong organization and leadership principles augments courses in fire and emergency safety practices. Apart from fire science courses, the curriculum often covers topic areas such as disaster management, counter-terrorism, and policy matters. Core coursework may cover subject areas such as:

•Security management
•Disaster readiness
•Emergency management
•Public safety legal issues

Career Choices

Program graduates can leverage the fire and emergency leadership skills and the administrative ability learned to run an effective and efficient organization. Program graduates can seek career enhancement or better career opportunities.

Wage Outlook

In May 2012, a firefighter brought in an average annual wage of $45,250 while a fire fighting supervisor earned $68,210 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates who seek continuing education can enroll in Ph.D. programs in Fire and Emergency Management Administration. The coursework covers both theoretical and practical aspects of fire and emergency management. The United States Fire Administration/National Fire Academy offers an Executive Fire Officer Program that can be used by fire and emergency executives to enhance their knowledge base. This 4-year program exclusive to senior officers and leaders covers a research project in addition to four courses.

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