Degrees In Fire Science
A four year fire science degree program or even an associates degree in this field puts you in the running for high demand jobs in the field of firefighting.
As one director of a large international association of firefighters puts it, some people simply don’t want to grow up because they are unable to outgrow a childhood ambition to make a living battling the blaze. This is one of those exciting professions that hold tremendous appeal for children and it often spills over into adulthood. A degree is not necessarily a requirement to becoming a firefighter but it does give you an edge over the competition.
Firefighters have a very responsible position in the community to protect the lives of people, wildlife and buildings from the devastating effects of fire. With that responsibility goes a high level of risk. The recent tragedy of firemen perishing while trying fight back a blazing forest fire is not an isolated incident. Those in the profession have to be willing to put their lives on the line.
For both volunteer and career firefighters, the right training is mandatory to make firefighting a career. There are government and private education centers offering training for potential firefighters, as well as local fire departments. There are even online programs available though of course you'll still have to pass the rigourous physical fitness requirements typically demanded. The common thread running through all the major degree programs is the high level of training expected of candidates, followed by physical and medical tests and a written exam.
Fire Science Degree Programs
Candidates applying for acceptance into a fire science program should be 18 years or above with a high school diploma. There are certain advanced certification programs that require candidates to have an associate of science degree specifically in fire science. Minimum and maximum age limits vary between the different states, but a valid driving license, excellent sight and hearing and a clean record without criminal convictions are mandatory.
There is a high degree of specialization within the various programs. If one specializes in forensic fire science for example you may have to take classroom or online education courses in order to properly analyze forensic data from fire scenes to determine whether a fire was caused by arson or other causes. This is a rapidly evolving field due to the ever changing nature of modern technology and newly developed methods of forensics.
Fire departments typically look for those candidates that exhibit calmness under pressure, the ability to think quickly in life threatening situations, work well in a team and demonstrate a great degree of braveness – it will be required when there is a real live blaze raging. Candidates who have successfully completed an accredited fire science degree program will be much more competitive for firefighter job openings. Even more in demand are those who have a combined degree in fire science and emergency managment. EMT or emergency medical technician qualifications are preferred; all candidates will have to pass a firefighter exam and a physical agility test to demonstrate their ability to meet firefighter physical fitness requirements.
Firefighter Training Programs
Firefighter training programs range from 6 weeks to 4 months combining classroom instruction with practical training. Trainees will need to be fit to work 40 to 50 hours a week to complete the course and receive certification. Training to be a firefighter is one of the most intense trainings and students will learn how to fight fires, prevent fires, treat injury cases, handle hazardous materials, inspect smoke detectors, and use a range of firefighting equipment such as hoses, chain saws, fire extinguishers, ladders and axes. You may wish to take a look here if you're wondering how hard is it to become a firefighter.
Classroom instruction centers around fire science, local building codes, search and rescue procedures, reacting right to challenging situations and more. Advanced programs cover disaster preparedness, arson, educating the public on fire safety awareness.
Because emergency medical care is often required on the job, firefighters with an EMT qualification are a better choice and fit for the role. While some fire departments incorporate basic EMT training into the firefighting program, it is not uncommon for departments to allow 12 months for their recruits to earn the emergency management certification on their own.
In the metropolitan areas, the common trend is to include paramedic training with the certification. Several fire academy programs and publicly offered programs now also offer the EMT training as part of the course.
There are a number of firefighting training schools and fire science degree programs around the country in addition to universities offering four year degrees or associate degrees in fire science. Anyone interested in a firefighter career needs to do some research to find the best firefighting schools available in their state. Make sure to look for accredited schools that provide accredited certification of their programs that are recognized and accepted by fire departments.
Completing a four year fire science degree program isn't the path to riches but it may gain you entry into the competitive and challenging career of firefighting.