People who thrive in teams, perform well under pressure, and want to serve their communities make a good fit for fire science careers. This field studies the causes and prevention of fires and how to protect people from fire hazards. Fire science professionals work in various settings, including fire departments, fire sprinkler companies, municipal governments, and insurance companies.

Fire science professionals can expect an increased demand for their work. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 6% job growth for firefighters between 2019 and 2029.

Graduates with an associate degree in fire science can continue their education and qualify for advanced positions. For example, a firefighter with an associate degree might become a fire chief or captain or find work in emergency services. Associate degree-holders can earn a bachelor's or master's degree to pursue administrative and managerial positions.

Should I Get an Associate Degree in Fire Science?

Despite advancements in building codes and construction materials, the need for firefighters and other fire science professionals should persist.

Despite advancements in building codes and construction materials, the need for firefighters and other fire science professionals should persist. Forest and wildland fires continue to drive the demand for workers in this field. According to the BLS, professionals with postsecondary firefighter education, paramedic preparation, and the requisite physical ability typically experience the most demand.

An online associate degree in fire science takes up to two years to complete for full-time students. Working professionals might benefit from enrolling in online programs so that they can fit coursework around their schedules. Most credits can transfer to a four-year institution toward a bachelor's degree.

An associate degree in fire science can provide a springboard for educational development. Arson investigators and other specialists often need a more advanced degree. Prospective firefighters who want to expand their career opportunities can use their associate degree to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree in fire science.

Many fire science professionals need to pass regular physical fitness assessments to do their work, which often requires lifting people and heavy objects. These professionals typically need continuing education and on-the-job training. Paramedics, fire investigators, and firefighters in most states must maintain licensure or certifications.

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What Will I Learn in a Fire Science Associate Program?

An associate degree in fire science program typically offers courses, such as building construction and firefighting, fire behavior and combustion, fire investigation and analysis, and principles of fire and emergency services. Most students at this level must complete 60 credits to graduate.

Arson or fire inspectors need comprehensive fire code knowledge and investigative abilities. Firefighters must demonstrate physical strength and endurance to perform their job duties. Regardless of career path, most fire science students gain proficiency in the causes and characteristics of fires. They also acquire emergency and rescue training.

An associate of science (AS) program usually offers more academic and theoretical courses, allowing students to transfer their course credits toward a four-year degree. Individuals who want to enter the workforce immediately after graduation might prefer a terminal associate of applied science (AAS). However, transferring AAS credits to a four-year school can prove challenging.

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What Can I Do With an Associate Degree in Fire Science?

Graduates with an online associate degree in fire science gain access to jobs in various sectors, including firefighting, emergency management, public safety, local government, and private industry.

Jobs like emergency medical technician (EMT) and firefighter require physical, hands-on work in the field. An associate degree can also provide access to entry-level and mid-level fire inspection jobs. With additional education, certification, and work experience, professionals can pursue more advanced careers in engineering, emergency management, and fire engineering research.

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How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate Degree in Fire Science?

Fire science professionals might see their salaries grow by an average of $10,000 over 20 years in the field. According to the BLS, firefighters earn a median annual salary of $50,850. Professionals who pursue administrative positions or work in state government tend to make more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Fire Science Programs

What is fire science?

Fire science teaches people how to stay safe from fire, regardless of the cause. The field also covers fire behavior and combustion, prevention, safety and education, chemical properties, and firefighting. Subjects in this discipline also include emergency management, arson and fire investigation, and hazardous material handling.

How much does it cost to get an associate in fire science?

Tuition can vary greatly depending on the state and course delivery format. A private school might charge $30,000 per year, but the cost at most technical schools can range from $3,500-$6,000 each year. Online programs tend to be less expensive, with many out-of-state residents paying in-state tuition.

Is an associate degree in fire science worth it?

An associate degree in fire science can open the door to many rewarding careers. This degree provides fundamental knowledge about fire causes and prevention. Students also learn emergency management and response. People with a passion for public safety and helping others might find fire science a worthwhile field.

What can you do with an associate degree in fire science?

Aside from firefighting, graduates can work in emergency response with the appropriate certification. They can also pursue careers in insurance, sprinkler design, and private sector fire prevention and safety. An associate degree can serve as an initial step to a bachelor's or graduate degree in fire science.

What's the difference between an associate in fire science and an associate in applied science?

Community colleges and some four-year institutions offer two-year AS degrees. Students can enter the workforce after graduation or apply credits toward a bachelor's degree. Most programs offering AAS consider the degree terminal, preparing students for immediate entry into the workforce.