If you’re interested in pursuing a fire science degree, you might be a little confused as to what to look for and how to choose the right program. Many schools now offer degrees in fire science, making it that much more overwhelming. But have no fear! We’ve put together a checklist of the five most important factors to consider when choosing a fire science program. Hopefully you’ll find the process a little less intimidating and a little more exciting.
- Accreditation is Top Priority: Before you even download an application, make sure each school of interest is accredited by a reputable agency. You can find reliable information on your institution’s accreditation status by visiting the Department of Education’s website.
- Online or Traditional: If you need to work full-time or have other commitments that require a flexible schedule, distance learning might be an option worth considering. Many fire science degree programs are now offered online, allowing you to complete your coursework at your convenience.
- Areas of Specialization: Not all schools offer areas of specialization that allow students to focus on one specific area of fire science, such as emergency management, protection administration, or fire leadership. If you know you want to go into fire leadership, for example, make sure the school offers the courses necessary to secure employment in your field after you graduate.
- Internship or Apprenticeship Opportunities: Again, not all schools offer an internship or apprenticeship program, and if you’re looking to gain experience while attending classes, you might want to narrow your list to only the schools that provide placement services.
- Certification Preparation: Depending on your career goals, you might need specific certifications, such as an EMT license or Firefight I or II certifications. Does your school(s) of interest prepare students for certification exams? If not, you might want to look into other options. Certification is often a general skill requirement in the fire science industry.
Remember, choosing the right school is key to your success. Don’t rush through your search, but rather, spend as much time as it takes to find a program that meets the above criteria. School is expensive, and you don’t want to waste money on a school that is not accredited or doesn’t prepare you for your future career. Fire science is a growing field with exciting opportunities, so take your search seriously and keep at it tenaciously!