If you are considering earning your fire science degree online, then this guide can help you figure out what to expect from such a program and future careers available to graduates. This guide provides information on common kinds of courses in fire science programs, what kinds of skills and knowledge those courses impart, potential careers, and what kind of education students may need after graduation to secure a position. With this knowledge, you should have no trouble finding the best online fire science degree for you.

What Is Fire Science?

Fire science is the study of fire and the techniques and tools used in its prevention, control, and suppression. While it may seem like a narrow field, fire science has applications in a variety of industries, and creative students can apply these concepts to career paths seemingly unrelated to firefighting.

Why study fire science? Continuing change to the global climate is resulting in larger and more frequent fires along the west coast of the United States. As people continue to move into large cities, the increased demand on infrastructure necessitates an uptick in fire prevention specialists. Fire prevention is a huge part of modern architecture, urban planning, technology, and law. A wide variety of careers benefits from knowledge of fire sciences.

Pursuing an online fire science degree puts students on the path to exciting careers, but choosing a program can be difficult, as not only are there numerous personal considerations, but fire science programs come with a variety of titles. We've listed some examples of the kinds of program names you might see, but all of them focus on the same basic idea: preparing students for leadership roles within fire and emergency services.

  • Fire and Emergency Services Administration
  • Fire Safety Engineering Technology
  • Fire and Emergency Response Management
  • Emergency Services

What Can I Do with an Online Fire Science Bachelor’s Degree?

Over the course of a program, students may explore aspects of fire behavior, including causes and effects, as well as how professionals investigate fires and determine whether or not arson occurred. Every online fire science degree is going to be unique, but they all cover the same broad topics. This section provides a rough idea of what students learn over the course of an online fire science program, and how they can apply that knowledge and skill in the job market.

Skills and Knowledge Gained

Over the course of an online fire science program, students may learn about fire and building codes, as well as the laws and procedures applied to try and mitigate the damage and loss of life caused by rampant fire. Many programs focus on the administrative and managerial aspects of fire science. Courses on leadership and management of emergency services, technology used in fire prevention and suppression, and budgeting for emergency services are common.

Some programs may allow students to choose many of the courses that they take, preparing them for specific careers within the field of fire science.

While fire departments are the most obvious employers of fire science majors, other options are available. For example, architecture and construction companies make use of fire science to adhere to fire and building codes.

Careers and Salary Potential

Earning an online fire science degree can lead to a variety of careers, six of which we have described below. Having a degree will not guarantee a specific job or salary, but it can really help on the job hunt. In the case of fire science, many of these careers require a degree in order to even be considered for the position.

Firefighter

Annual Median Salary: $49,080

Firefighters respond to emergency situations where fire poses a threat to lives, property, or the environment. Firefighters spend their downtime at fire stations, but can face extremely dangerous situations when responding to a fire.

Fire Inspector/Investigator

Annual Median Salary: $56,670

Inspectors review buildings to ensure that they follow various fire codes, while investigators look for evidence to explain the origin and cause of fires.

Conservation Scientist or Forester

Annual Median Salary: $60,970

These professionals manage natural resources such as parks and rangelands, ensuring their health and minimal risk of destruction from fires and other natural disasters.

Fire Chief

Annual Median Salary: $74,840

Fire chiefs manage firefighters and create emergency plans with local governments. They oversee responses to fire emergencies and ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of any stations under their command.

Fire Loss Prevention Engineer

Annual Median Salary: $58,854

These professionals inspect buildings for adherence to fire codes, as well as inspect potential fire hazards and propose plans for resolving fire hazards in buildings. They may also design or install fire suppression systems.

Fire Protection Engineer

Annual Median Salary: $74,599

These professionals work with architectural firms and other organizations to ensure that new buildings or renovations meet fire codes and do not create new fire hazards.

Continuing Education for Fire Science Professionals

Continuing your education after completion of an online fire services degree can help advance a career and improve earning potential. Certification helps to show employers that you are dedicated to the field and willing to evolve with it. Licensing may be required in some states to pursue certain fire science related careers. In the case of firefighters, additional training is required in order to meet job qualifications. Professional organizations like the National Fire Protection Association or the Association for Fire Ecology provide opportunities to continue education and earn certifications.