The fire service career field is expanding due to an emphasis on fire safety and fire prevention, which has created a need for trained, skilled, and knowledgeable firefighters. The Fire Science program leads to an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Fire Science that gives the student the educational background needed for employment in a fire service career. It may also help achieve a promotion after gaining employment.
Students in the Fire Science program will benefit from faculty who bring up-to-date industry experience into the classroom. The curriculum has been validated by several subject matter experts throughout the country and is based on a national model developed by the National Fire Academy (NFA). The curriculum includes Fire Behavior and Combustion, Building Construction for Fire Protection, Fire Protection Hydraulics and Water Supply, Fire Protection Systems, Introduction to Fire Science, Wildland Firefighting, Fire Inspections, Fire Administration, Safety and Survival, Tactics and Strategy and Hazardous Materials.
The Fire Science program has three concentrations that provide graduates with a sense of community service and what it takes to be successful in the fire service. The wildland concentration provides students the opportunity to specialize in wildland firefighting. The structural concentration provides students the opportunity to specialize in structural firefighting. The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) concentration provides students the opportunity to specialize in advanced medical training that will be helpful in structural and wildland firefighting.
The Associate of Applied Science Degree in Fire Science will prepare the student for a variety of careers in firefighting (structural and wildland), fire inspections, hazardous materials, fire suppression and detection systems, and fire extinguisher maintenance. Upon completion of the Wildland Firefighting course students will be certified as Wildland Firefighters. This certification could lead to a seasonal Forestry Aid GS 3 position. Over the last twenty years, the complexity and intensity of wildfires has drastically increased. Wildfire agencies need ample resources (with the proper training and qualifications).
Currently, wildfire agencies are experiencing massive turnover in the form of retirements, transfer and resignations. The program has an agreement sponsored by the NFA, with seven accredited colleges and universities throughout the country that offer a bachelor’s degree with concentrations in fire administration and fire prevention technology. All instruction from these colleges or universities is delivered completely online and students pay in-state tuition. Different fire departments use various combinations for the selection process besides a degree. Some fire departments are now requiring an International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) Firefighter I Certificate that indicates the level of Technical and Manipulative training received. Other departments are looking for personnel with advanced medical training the EMS concentration provides the student with the expertise needed to work in a structural or Wildland environment.
Program Proficiencies and/or Prerequisites
Students may demonstrate proficiency in these areas either by Diploma/GPA, placement exam scores, or specific course work.