Firefighting is a rigorous and tasking occupation, yet few jobs impart the level of pride that men and women who save lives and forests from perishing have. While it may seem like a job that requires limited training, firefighters need extensive education to be fully effective. Putting out flames is just part of what you would do if you chose this dynamic career path. In order to catch the attention of fire departments around the United States, a candidate should have a resume that demonstrates a comprehensive background in fire science. If you’re considering becoming a firefighter or are already one but aspire towards having a higher salary and greater responsibility, your education options vary.
Certificates show that you have a specialization in a particular area. Employers often look for candidates with the exact credentials and training that a fire science certificate can provide. Getting a fire science certificate doesn’t demand years of study, so receiving one may be the best route if you’re looking to broaden your fire fighting skillset in a short period of time. It’s important to note that there are a growing array of certificates relevant to fire sciences. Emergency medical care training is one invaluable fire science certificate. Even receiving a certificate that shows you’re fluent in another language can make you a more sought-after candidate than others.
Associate degrees are those that can be completed within two years. The only prerequisite for an associate’s is a high school diploma. While it’s definitely a college degree, it’s the most basic one offered. A fire science associate’s degree online can often be more affordable than its on-campus counterpart. A fire science associate’s degree online earned from a community college where tuition is comparably low for those residing in nearby communities can be another great cost-saving option. Some programs focus on fire prevention tactics. Others may be more technical and highlight skill sets such as suppression operations. Acquiring a fire science associate’s degree online doesn’t rule out attaining higher education degrees or certificates in the future.
A bachelor’s in fire science is an investment in time when compared to the associate’s degree level. Attaining one is also a larger financial commitment, however, the more knowledge about the profession that you’re immersed in once you enter a fire science BA program, the more desirable an applicant you become when seeking employment. For this reason, the fire science bachelor’s degree option may be the most reasonable one to consider. Furthermore, looking into an online fire science bachelor’s degree program is ideal for those currently working in the field an, have family commitments or other responsibilities requiring a more flexible advanced degree option.
The masters degree is the highest academic credential available within the fire science field. Obtaining one first requires completing the 4-year undergraduate degree. While such a long path towards competitive accreditation can sound demanding as well as expensive, a master’s can be acquired gradually or on a part-time schedule. It’s important to note that the top salaries and administrative roles within fire departments are increasingly only available to those with this level of education.
Firefighting may have once been a job that applicants acquired by taking an exam and patiently waiting for a local fire department to contact them regarding an available opening. The American job market has become more professionalized since those days, however. The same criteria used to hire job candidates in the corporate world now apply to firefighters. The choice of fire science bachelor degree colleges is growing. The good news is that firefighters who are already employed and have the ambition it takes to pursue higher education at fire science bachelor’s degree colleges, are more likely to be the beneficiaries of promotions and salary increases.
Statistics from the National Firefighter Protection Association show that the number of candidates vying for fire sciences positions has spiked between 1986 and 2009 by 41 percent. Careers in firefighting are continuing to grow in stature. To meet the evolving interest in entering this promising field, many fire science bachelor’s degrees are now offered through online colleges and these are enabling students to complete major parts of their coursework on digital platforms through distance learning. There’s really no reason to hesitate in entering such a service-conscious and financially rewarding career as Fire Science can provide.
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