Fire Science Degree
Completing a Fire Science Degree allows firefighters and firefighting volunteers to increase their expertise by understanding how a fire spreads, how to determine the source of a fire and how to effectively and efficiently extinguish a fire. It is a wonderful, educational opportunity for firefighters who want to rise up in the ranks to become Fire Chief or a Fire Investigator. Those who wish to pursue careers, such as that of a Fire Protection Engineer, Fire Safety Official for public or private agencies, Fire Code Enforcement Officer or Fire Safety Equipment Sales Rep, would also benefit from completing a Fire Science Degree.
What is Fire Science?
Fire science delves into several scientific disciplines. Fire science schools teach physics and chemistry courses so students can understand how heat is transferred, how combustion reactions occur and the fluid mechanics behind gases, smoke and water. Fire science courses may also include mathematical calculations and computer science so students can create models of fires. Biology is also a part of fire science; students learn about the physical and mental health effects that victims of a fire could potentially experience.
Forensics is also an important aspect of fire science. All in all, a deep study in the fire science discipline allows students to understand and develop fire codes, predict and manage potential risks, develop or improve fire detection and extinguishing equipment and to conclude how a fire started in the first place.
Fire science courses are offered at an Associate, Bachelor and Masters Degree level; some institutions offer Fire Science Certificates of Achievement as a form of professional development as well. You can complete a fire science degree online from the comfort of your own home at a pace that suits your lifestyle and schedule (although, some institutions require a brief residential period each semester that brings you to campus to practice hands-on skills). Fire Science programs cover an array of skills and knowledge including fire prevention, inspections and building codes, hazardous materials, emergency scenes, health and safety, fire investigation, building construction, physics and chemistry.
Fire Science FAQ's
Am I a good fit for a fire science degree?
If you are passionate about protecting citizens and people from potential fires; are interested in the physics, chemistry and mathematics behind a fire’s behavior; and wish to improve your firefighting expertise and career or commence another career related to fire safety and prevention, then you are a good fit for a fire science degree.
What’s the difference between fire science and arson investigation?
Arson investigation refers to the cause of how a fire was purposefully set. Fire or arson investigation is just one facet of fire science. Fire science also includes areas, such as the health effects on those who came in contact with the fire, efficient techniques to extinguish a fire, the development of fire safety equipment and construction/building codes.
How dangerous are fire science jobs?
It depends. Those who complete a fire science degree to become a firefighter have chosen a dangerous career. On the other hand, those who choose other positions, such as a fire protection engineer or fire code enforcement officer, are selecting less risky careers. However, any job description that involves simulating fires for experimental purposes poses some risks.
Are there apprenticeships available for those seeking fire science careers?
Fire science schools often offer a work experience option for students enrolled in either an Associate or Bachelor degree or Certificate program. You may also be able to talk to your local volunteer firefighting unit and ask if you can be mentored in areas of fire science.