If you are considering a career as a firefighter, the best thing you can do is talk with someone at your local firehouse first. A firefighter uses the skills he or she gained in the course of their degree – and often uses them daily. These skills are more important and imperative to a firefighter than they are in many other professions. The safety – often the very lives – of your coworkers, and the general public depend upon you doing your job and doing it well. Failure to apply what you’ve learned could get someone killed. So when it comes to searching for your education, you want the best, not the cheapest.
Spend some time talking to those who have spent time working as firefighters. Find out what the requirements are in your state, as some have specific requirements. Often there is an entrance exam and an academy that you would need to attend in addition to your schooling. Knowing these things will help you pick the degree that works best for you and your goals.
Generally, a fire science degree will provide extensive instruction on many topics. You’ll learn, of course, about fire suppression in different environments and circumstances. You’ll also learn other items, such as inspection, code enforcement, and fire investigation. In addition you’ll be expected to complete core education classes and classes on communication and leadership.
While many departments require only a High School Diploma to start work as a firefighter, more and more Departments and Fire Protection districts are requiring at least an associate degree in fire science. It is well worth your time to pursue a degree because it will increase your hireability and your chances for advancement in the career. Formal education, however, is only one part of starting and maintaining your career. Many will tell you that they started out as volunteers, and it would be worth your time to consider doing the same. Spending some time as a volunteer firefighter will help you gain and start applying the skills you will be learning in your degree. This career is very physically demanding, and so it is important to get in shape and stay in shape. Finally, firefighters don’t just fight fires, they are first responders to all different types of emergencies, and so in addition to a fire science degree you will be required to learn other first responder skills such as CPR and first aid. A career as a firefighter is exciting and rewarding, but it is hard work to gain and maintain the skills you need to do your job well.