Fire science is a field of study as well as a career. Fire science is a vast field that includes many areas regarding fire, including fire protection, firefighting techniques and the nature of fire. Individuals who choose fire science as a career put themselves in positions to find career opportunities in almost any community they choose as well as making themselves integral parts of their community. Here is an overview of fire science, including what it entails, how to become a fire science professional and career possibilities for graduates of fire science programs.
What is Fire Science?
Fire science is the study of everything having to do with fire, from fire behavior and fire protection to fire investigation. An individual who is interested in becoming a firefighter would pursue a fire science degree. Likewise, someone interested in investigating how a fire started would also pursue a fire science degree. The main areas of fire science include fire protection, firefighting, fire prevention, fire investigation, fire behavior, and even hazardous materials. Someone studying industrial fires, wildfires or the methods used to control fires would also be studying fire science.
How to Become a Fire Science Professional
Fire science if a field that offers so many career choices. Individuals interested in a career in fire science can typically choose from various degree level programs from certificate programs to graduate degree programs. Fire science programs may be offered at community colleges, technical schools, universities or firefighting academies.
A candidate who is interested in learning fire science but has no experience can earn a two-year associate degree program in fire science. Someone who knows where their interests lie may choose a four-year bachelor’s degree in fire and emergency management program. A student who already holds a bachelor’s degree may choose a graduate degree in emergency management, fire science or even disaster preparedness.
Students in a fire science program typically take courses in fire prevention and code enforcement, fire investigation, public safety technology, fire protection systems, management of emergency services, and fire hydraulics, among many others. Fire science programs typically also require the student to complete field work to obtain real-world experience.
Job Opportunities in Fire Science
The type of job opportunities available to fire science graduates varies by the degree and major earned. Graduates of fire science programs may find the following job opportunities.
- Fire inspector
- Prevention Specialist
- Forest Fire Inspector
Students interested in specific areas of fire science can specialize in those areas and obtain certification from the National Fire Protection Association. The NFPA offers the following types of certification.
- Certified Fire Inspector
- Certified Fire Inspector, II
- Certified Fire Protection Specialist
- Certified Building Inspector
- Certified Building Plan Examiner
- Certified Building Plans Examiner
Career Outlook for Fire Science Specialists
Fire inspectors and investigators are projected to see an employment growth of 10 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while firefighters should see a 7 percent increase in jobs. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists should see an employment growth of 27 percent during that same decade, as reported by the BLS. Wages for these fire science professionals can range from $37,000 to $59,000 or more.
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Fire science professionals are individuals who enjoy learning everything they can about fire and are not afraid to risk their lives to make their communities safe and free from fire dangers. Fire science offers many job opportunities and the chance at working in challenging and exciting careers.