How to Get an Online Associate’s Degree in Fire Science
Have you always fancied the idea of becoming a firefighter and saving many lives and keeping buildings safe? If so, getting an associate’s degree in fire science may be the gateway for you to realize your dream.
Getting an associate’s degree in fire science means that you will be learning all about fires and fire safety. Some specific topics of study include international fire codes, fire prevention, wildfire management, fire service rescue, the different types of fires, and so much more. It is a very fascinating subject for the right person. If you are a hands-on person, this degree program will be very interesting. You will get to learn how to put out fires, for example. This is something that you won’t be doing in class or from a book. Let’s just say — you won’t be falling asleep in class!
Fire science is a very rewarding field to get into because you will be making positive impacts and saving lives on a daily basis once you’re out at work. Not everyone can say that they’re a hero everyday!
An associate’s degree generally takes around two years to complete. It can be obtained at most accredited community colleges, but if you are juggling other things in life and require a flexible schedule for school, a distance learning program from an accredited college is a great option to consider.
Online learning is a great alternative to traditional classroom learning because it can allow students to complete classes quicker, while taking advantage of many of the same resources as traditional classes, like tutoring or faculty assistance when needed. It does, however, requires potential students to be dedicated independent learners needing little to no hand-holding; after all, most (if not all) material will be taught entirely online. With that said, you would be expected to keep track of class schedule and complete assignments on your own time. The great benefit of online learning is that you can head to your virtual class in your pajamas, and essentially work anywhere and anytime that works best for you. Earning an online degree can be a productive way to balance school with other obligations, such as employment.
It’s important to keep in mind that the online degree in fire science often entails a hands-on component to it. After all, you won’t want to set a fire at your own home to complete this portion of the degree. Usually, students who earn their degree online will complete all the book learning from the comfort of their own home, and then meet at a designated campus or facility every so often to complete the hands-on classes required for graduation. Yes, this can be a drawback for some looking for an online degree program entirely… but again, this degree is very rewarding for those who want a hands-on career in fire science.
Common Associate’s in Fire Science Curriculum
Students enrolled in the associate’s degree program in fire science can expect to master fundamental principles in the causes of fire, organizational structure, emergency tactics, fire suppression, fire behavior, and the basics of urban, rural, and wildland firefighting. Specific coursework may look something like this:
- Fire combustion and behaviors
- Fire prevention basics
- Introduction to emergency services
- Building codes and construction
- Firefighting strategy and tactical procedures
- Protection and suppression systems
- Water and hydraulic principles
Depending on the school you choose to attend, the classes may differ slightly. However, the associate’s degree is designed to give students a pretty solid overview of fire science. After graduating with this degree, students should be able to become an entry-level firefighter, or pursue higher education in a specialized field if desired.
In addition to fire science-related courses, students will also have general education requirements and electives to complete, which will vary from college to college. These classes are usually not directly fire science related. They are designed to give students the opportunity to explore other fields while getting a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that will be useful in helping them understand real-life situations and succeed in whatever career they choose to be in. For example, students may have an introductory course in math, science, history, language, and fine arts, to name a few.
Associate’s in Fire Science Careers
With the drought becoming a bigger issue everyday and wildland fires occurring more often, the field of fire science is on a steady rise. As a result, competent fire science professionals are needed more than ever. So, if you have any interest in this field, now would be a great time to get into it!
Salaries will depend on a variety of factors like where you work, what position you are in, and education and experience levels, for example. However, the mean average is $18.50 an hour, including awesome benefits and retirement.
After graduating with your associate’s degree in fire science, you can jump right into the workforce and pick up an entry-level firefighter position and work your way up the ladder. While you technically don’t need a degree to become a firefighter, it certainly helps make you stand out among other candidates to employers.
If you decide this is the right career for you, you can also pursue a bachelor’s degree which may open up more career opportunities and advancement in the future. At the bachelor’s level, you can pick a specialty to study. For example, if you really loved learning about wildland fires specifically at the associate’s level, you can choose a specialty involving this and go from there. Having a bachelor’s degree will allow you to apply for management positions within the field. If you enjoy the idea of being a leader, then this may be a great direction to consider. Supervisory roles that come with increased responsibilities usually offer competitive salaries and can give you great prestige.
"...in the big picture, people with associate degrees make more than people with high school diplomas. "
"Many students enroll in a 2-year college with the intention of transferring to a 4-year college and obtaining a bachelor’s degree."
"...the more degreed-education you have, the less likely you are to be unemployed."