Fire Science Career and Salary Information
Working in this field doesn’t mean you have to be a firefighter. In fact, fire science is a pretty diverse field with unique career opportunities that take many forms. There are multiple jobs that you can get with a fire science degree, so be sure to find the specialization you wish to pursue when going down this career path.
In case you’re unaware of the many job options available in your field, we’ve outlined some of the most popular career options available. It’s often assumed that the only viable career in this field is being a firefighter, but below we highlight some others, in addition to the most commonly regarded position:
Responsibilities as a firefighter include responding to emergency calls, putting out fires, and saving people from fires and other accidents. According to The 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics, a firefighter’s median salary is $45,250 per year or $21.76 per hour. It’s a job that contains a high amount of excitement, often correlating with a large amount of risk, but you can be sure that you’ll be serving the various needs of the community by taking on a position like this. It should be noted that since firefighting jobs rarely open up, attaining a position as one can prove very difficult depending on where you’re applying.
The BLS has some great information outlining the basic job duties of a firefighter. Below is a standard job description:
- Drive fire trucks and other emergency vehicles to emergencies
- Put out fires using hoses and pumps
- Find and rescue victims in burning buildings or in other emergency conditions
- Treat victims’ injuries with emergency medical services
- Prepare written reports on fire or emergency incidents
- Clean and maintain equipment
- Conduct drills and training in fire fighting techniques
- Provide public education on fire safety
Construction and Building Inspector
These professionals are in charge of examining structures to ensure that construction and repairs meet building codes and regulations, including fire safety. Inspecting indoor fire sprinklers, fire alarms, smoke detectors and fire exits, as well as access to fire protection equipment, hazardous contents and fire risks within the building are a few responsibilities. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 a building inspector could make $52,360 per year, or $25.18 an hour.
Forester and Forestry Technician
Foresters and forestry technicians typically manage and examine forested lands for a variety of economic and conservation needs. Examining wildlife habitats and offering ideas on fire prevention, fire safety and disaster, and fire-defense planning as it relates to forest protection, safety and conservation efforts are a few job duties. The median annual wage of forest and conservation workers was $23,900, or $11.49 per hour, in May 2010, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Arson investigators examine crimes involving intentional fires and aim to hold those accountable who intentionally start fires. This is a great career for those with an analytical mind, and a talent in problem-solving and paying attention to fine detail. Arson investigators report to the scene of a crime to look for clues and evidence to determine if the fire was intentional or not. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track salary information for arson investigators specifically, but does offer statistics for fire investigators at $56,160 annually, which can be used as a baseline salary. Keep this in mind when applying for the position, as it’s one of the more lucrative starting wages in the field.
Other Fire Science Careers
Don’t think that the jobs listed above are the only ways to get involved in a career with a degree in fire science, the field has many positions that extend far beyond these. This degree has wide-ranging applications in the real world, which is a great for maximizing potential opportunities. Here are other fire science careers that may interest you, including:
- Occupational Health and Safety Technician
- Fire Safety Director
- Fire Protection Engineer
- Fire Protection Technician
- Fire Public Education Specialist
- Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic
Top Online Fire Science Degrees
|BS: Fire ScienceAAS: Fire ScienceMPA: Fire and Emergency ServicesBS: Fire and Emg Management||
Kaplan University -- Kaplan University offers a wide array of programs in Fire Science, including an AAS and BS in Fire Science, a BS in Fire and Emergency Management, and an MPA in Fire and Emergency Services. Kaplan was founded in 1937, originally as the American Institute of Commerce and serves over 53,000 students today.
|MS: Emg MgmtMS: Emg Mgmt - Public Mgmt and LeadershipMS: Emg Mgmt - Terrorism and Emg MgmtMPA: Emg Mgmt||
Walden University -- Walden University has several graduate programs in Emergency Management like the Emergency Management general track or specializations in public management and leadership or terrorism and emergency management. Walden is one of the nation's first entirely online schools, founded in 1970 and based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
|MSL: Disaster Preparedness & Executive Fire Leadership||
Grand Canyon University -- Grand Canyon University offers an online program for the MS in Leadership with a specialization in Disaster Preparedness and Executive Fire Leadership which is designed for working professionals wanting to take their careers into the next level. GCU is one of the nation's largest Christian schools and was founded in 1949 out of Phoenix, Arizona.
|MS: Safety, Security, and Emergency Management - Fire & Emergency ServicesMS: Safety, Security, and Emergency Management||
Eastern Kentucky University -- Eastern Kentucky University has both undergraduate and graduate programs for Fire Science. These include the BS in Fire Protection Administration and the MS in Emergency Management of Fire and Emergency Services. The school was founded in 1903 in Richmond, Kentucky by the Kentucky General Assembly and now serves over 16,000 students.
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