Online Associate in Fire Science Programs 2021

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Preventing and stopping fires requires more than firefighters. Fire inspectors examine structures to determine fire risk, and fire investigators determine fires’ causes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that fire inspectors earn a $60,230 median annual salary and projects the field to grow 8% in 2019-2029.

Other first responders who save lives during fires include EMTs and paramedics. The BLS projects strong job growth for these professions, as well. Professionals stand out to prospective employers by earning a fire science degree. These programs convey the in-demand skills workers need to save lives and protect property.

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FAQ


  • What is fire science?

    Online fire science degree coursework emphasizes rescuing techniques, emergency services, and fire prevention. These and other courses impart the knowledge and skills graduates need to succeed as an entry-level firefighter.


  • What kinds of jobs can you get with a fire science degree?

    In addition to firefighter, fire science degree jobs include fire marshal, fire service trainer, and insurance investigator. These and related positions may require additional education or training.


  • Is a fire science degree worth it?

    Fire science degrees convey in-demand knowledge and skills through classroom instruction and hands-on experiences, such as an internship. Internships help degree-seekers network with potential employers and demonstrate mastery of fire science fundamentals.


  • How much does a fire scientist make?

    U.S. firefighters earn a median $50,850 annual salary. The BLS reports that the highest-paid professionals live in California, New Jersey, and Washington state. Salary also varies by experience and education level.


Why Get a Degree in Fire Science?



Firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics save lives and make a positive impact in their community. A degree qualifies graduates for many entry-level positions, while experienced firefighters enter a program to learn new skills and increase their career potential. Online fire science degrees appeal to working firefighters, as they need not pause their career while in school.

Other benefits to learning online include exploring the nation’s best fire science degrees. Researching multiple options allows prospective students on a budget to find a program charging low tuition or one offering sufficient institutional financial aid.

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How Much Does a Fire Science Degree Cost?

Typical fire science associate degrees cost less than bachelor’s degrees, as they require approximately half the credits. Online public schools may charge out-of-state students more than in-state degree-seekers. That said, some public schools charge all online learners the same tuition rate. Prospective students should expect to pay more in tuition at a private school.

Some schools attract prospective online learners by offering a first-semester tuition discount. Other cost savings may include free textbooks, employer reimbursement, and lower tuition rates exclusive to active-duty service members and veterans. Colleges may also offer a tuition discount to first responders.

Learners save money on an online fire science degree by not paying for room and board, a meal plan, or a commute. Other potential financial benefits include not needing expensive childcare services. Degree-seekers should contact a school financial aid advisor to explore these and additional ways an online degree helps students avoid debt.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree



Some online fire science degrees may cost less than on-campus programs, but prospective students should determine their ability to pay before enrolling. An affordability calculator determines how much learners can pay out of pocket monthly without going into debt. Users input salary, cost of living, projected tuition and fees, and current financial aid.

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How Much Do Fire Science Majors Make?

BLS data indicate that firefighters earn a median annual salary of $25,550-$92,020. Salaries vary by geographic location, years of experience, and education level. Firefighters at state and federal government agencies earn more than their peers working in local fire stations and small towns.

Firefighters advance their careers with experience and certifications. Professionals with an EMT certification provide fire victims with lifesaving treatment. EMTs increase their employability by becoming a paramedic. Other options include completing an apprenticeship or a series of shorter training programs.

A fire science associate degree and professional experience may qualify workers for a position as a fire chief, shift commander, or battalion chief. According to March 2021 PayScale data, battalion chiefs’ average salaries exceed $82,000 annually. Fire departments and related agencies in large cities offer additional opportunities for professional advancement.

Courses in Fire Science



Online fire science degrees require major and general education courses. The latter imparts transferable communication, analysis, and critical thinking skills. Some programs allow students to customize their education by selecting one or more electives. In the final semester, degree-seekers complete a capstone course requiring original research and an extended essay.

Below, we highlight three typical courses within the major curriculum. While reviewing them, keep in mind that course names and requirements vary among schools. Program websites and college admission advisors may provide further details concerning their school’s online fire science degree.

An introductory course, fire behavior and combustion examines the science behind how fires start and spread. Students analyze matters’ different states, memorize key terms, and research the relationship between fire and multiple fuel sources. The course emphasizes typical fire-suppression methods, such as water and chemical agents.

Fire inspectors and fire protection engineers ensure that structures contain adequate protection systems, such as smoke detectors and fire-resistant doors. The fire protection systems class covers these fundamentals and the differences between private and public fire protection. Degree-seekers analyze how fire protection influences architectural decisions and hydraulic theory.

Students in fundamentals of fire prevention examine the field’s many facets. Participants study local and state governments’ responsibilities, laws and regulations affecting fire departments, and firefighting strategy. Learners leave the course able to explain how fire science professionals in different roles work together to advance the field’s greater mission.

Certifications and Licensure for Fire Science



Workers may need more than a fire science degree to achieve their professional goals. Certifications like those below demonstrate mastery of topics firefighters and other professionals need to save lives and prevent fires. Typical certification requirements include additional education and passing one or more examinations.

Certified Fire Protection Specialist


The National Fire Protection Association awards this certification to fire science associate degree-holders with four years of experience. Candidates must pass a three-hour, 100-question examination. The renewal process involves continuing education in professional practice and voluntary professional service. CFPSs may also satisfy renewal requirements by teaching courses or publishing fire safety materials.

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Emergency Medical Technicians


The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) regulates the EMT profession nationwide through its certification program. Candidates must take a state-approved EMT course and pass cognitive and psychomotor exams. NREMT charges a fee for both exams. EMTs renew their certification by completing 40 hours of continuing education courses every two years.

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National Registered Paramedics


Certified EMTs become a paramedic by completing a paramedic training program and passing two NREMT exams. Candidates create an NREMT account, submit to a background check, and provide a portfolio demonstrating mastery of paramedic skills. Paramedics complete 60 hours of continuing education courses every two years to maintain their certification.

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Scholarships for Fire Science



Fire science associate degrees may cost less than bachelor’s programs, but degree-seekers should still explore all financial aid opportunities, including scholarships. Scholarship recipients do not pay back the award so long as they maintain good grades and meet other requirements. Each of the following scholarships accepts applications in 2021.

  • Fire Suppression Systems Association Educational Foundation Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: FSSA accepts applications from two- and four-year college students majoring in fire science. Application materials include two recommendation letters and official transcripts.

    Amount: Varies

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  • International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Practicing firefighters may qualify for an IAFC Foundation Scholarship. Applicants’ supervisors must possess IAFC membership. Candidates submit two endorsement letters and a resume.

    Amount: Varies

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  • The Smart Service Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The annual Smart Service Scholarship awards funding to students preparing for a skilled trades career, including fire service. Applicants must possess a high school diploma and a minimum 2.5 GPA.

    Amount: $2,000

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Online Associate in Fire Science Programs 2021



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