An accelerated fire science degree is not for someone who loves to be bored.
Are you a thrill-seeker? You love the thought of sirens going off and jumping into action. When there is an emergency you want to be the one who responds and saves the day.
You want a job that you know is making a difference every day. You are saving lives! That’s a job worth going to.
If you are dreaming of a career in firefighting you do not need to get a degree. Most firefighter programs require only a high school diploma BUT if you want to stand out from the 100s of other applicants, you might want to get your fire science degree.
Seriously, in 2013 the Las Vegas Fire Department opened up 24 spots for fire trainees and received 500 applications in 24 minutes. You got to stand out to make it in!
A degree can also set you up for promotions. You can climb the firefighting career ladder to fire chief, fire inspector, fire safety officer, fire prevention and fire investigator.
If you want to start a firefighting career, a fire science degree can get you noticed and accepted to a training program. If you are already working as a firefighter, going for your fire science degree can help you go farther in your career.
Why not do it?
Oh yeah. There’s the fact that a bachelor’s degree takes 4 years and $66,000 in tuition alone. Who has time and money for that?
Not you. You want to be fighting actual fires and saving lives. Not sitting in a classroom for 4 years racking up debt.
Then don’t. Instead, use these tips to get your degree in half the time. And for half the money. The tips are completely legitimate, and they work. Because we don’t need you to be sitting in a classroom.
We need you to be doing what you want to be doing. Responding to emergencies, teaching on fire safety, training to handle those situations the rest of us are too scared to touch.
Accelerated Fire Science Degree Programs Overview
A fire science degree prepares you for a field that is becoming increasingly professional. It’s not just about fighting fires anymore. Fires are bigger than they have ever been and can be more complex. Your degree can teach you skills like:
- Facilitation and team organization
Your degree gets you ready for advancement and management roles. The classes you will take will give you the knowledge you need so you can handle these more complex situations.
- Fire Leadership and Ethics
- Regulatory Issues in Fire and Emergency Service
- Disaster Recovery and Mitigation
- Critical Incident Management
- Natural Disaster Phenomena for Emergency Services
- Analytical Approaches to Fire Protection
- Multi-Agency Incident Command
- Management of Fire Related Human Behavior
- Fire Prevention
- Fire Behavior and Combustion
- Fire Protection Systems
These classes are hot! There is more to fire fighting than spraying water with a hose and you know that. You’re ready to dig into the prevention, safety and management side of fire fighting. There are some great careers waiting for you.
Careers with an Accelerated Fire Science Degree
A frontline firefighter is not the only career you can jump into with a fire science degree. Most likely you will start here to gain experience BUT there are many other directions you can go. Consider you could be working in:
- Fire Department Management
- Emergency Medical Service Management
- Emergency Management
- Insurance Companies
- Federal Government programs with DHS, FEMA, HHS and DOT
- State Government programs
- Private industries such as oil companies, industry management and in business
With such a wide range of jobs available it is not surprising that there is a predicted job increase of 8% by 2024. Jobs in emergency management are becoming more necessary as situations become more complex.
The big questions is: how much does it pay?
|Emergency Management Directors||$70,500|
|Fire chiefs||$73,253 – $104,780|
|Deputy Chief||$69,166 – $88,571|
|Battalion||$66,851 – $81,710|
|Assistant Fire Chief||$65,691 – $83,748|
|Fire Captain||$60,605 – $72,716|
|Fire Engineer||$50,464 – $62,265|
|Fire Lieutenant||$50,464 – $60,772|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Do you see how that works? As a firefighter, you will be making around $44,000 a year but as you progress up the career ladder you are adding an extra $10,000-$60,000 a year to your salary. Starts to make the $31,000 you invest in your degree look like it would be worth it, right?
Accelerated Fire Science Degree Programs Offer Year-Round Admissions
Are you already working in the fire department? Then you know there are busier and quieter seasons. Shall we say campfires, barbecues and forest fires?
If you are still waiting to get into firefighting you know that you will have to take written, physical and psychological exams to be admitted to a firefighting training program. You need to get your degree sooner rather than later.
Don’t wait. You can start your classes at any time. Most universities offer new start dates each month. The sooner you start, the sooner you will be done and back in the field!
Accelerated Fire Science Degree Programs Online – Accelerated Classes vs. Self-Paced Classes
There are slow burns, fast burns and explosive burns. Traditional classes are a slow burn, I’m just saying. You sit in class for 16 weeks before you earn a measly 3 credits. Absolutely painful.
An accelerated online class offers you the option of completing your class twice as fast. There is still a set start date and a date for when you will have to finish each class but you are burning through credits twice as fast.
If you want even more explosive credit completing power consider self-paced classes. There are no due dates, class schedules or professors. You are in charge of completing as many classes as you can in a set time frame.
Option 1: Accelerated Online Fire Science Classes
A regular student will enroll in a class expecting to take the full 16 weeks to leisurely earn those 3 credits. But you are a bit of an adrenaline junkie and like a fast pace.
You could instead take an accelerated online class and be done in 6-8 weeks. Fast? Yes. But that’s what you want.
You aren’t the type to want to spend hours commuting to a class to sit in a desk chair for hours on end. An online class gives you the option to work on your classes when it works for you. Even if that means at the station during your downtime. Or at 1 am when you are still wide awake after an evening shift.
Option 2: Self-Paced Online Fire Science Classes
Do you want an even more explosive way to complete your classes? Consider self-paced online classes. You can go as fast as you want. No deadlines, limits or schedules.
You can register with a school like Capella University for a 12-week semester for $2300. Your bachelor’s degree will likely have 10-12 core classes you need for every degree. If you want to work hard, you could complete all those classes in one semester using a self-paced program and earn 30 credits in 12 weeks.
Types of Accelerated Fire Science Degree Programs
Fire science is just a general term for an advanced degree in fire fighting. The types of degrees will vary by each school as well as by the area that you want to pursue.
Which one jumps out at you?
- Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection Administration and Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Fire and Emergency Services
- Bachelor of Science in Fire Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Fire Science
Don’t settle for just a ho-hum job when you dream of excitement. You could have a job that is thrilling and heart pounding. With your degree, you also are ready for the next step on the career ladder.
3 Ways to Accelerate Your Fire Science Degree Even More
You already know that you like to move at a fast pace. Slow and steady equals boring and mind numbing for you. Usually getting a degree in fire science will feel slow. It takes 120 college credits (at least!) to get your degree and that takes most people 4 years.
So slow! These 3 powerful and yet simple techniques can burn years off your degree completion time.
1. Test out of college classes (up to 1 year)
Instead of taking classes just skip to the end and take the exam. This is a thing that almost all colleges will give you credit for.
If you already are familiar with the concepts of a class like Mathematics, why bother sitting through the intro class to earn the credit. The College Level Examination Program can set you up to earn up to 30 credits just by taking the exams.
Each exam costs $85, you can register online and get the study guide. Once you feel you have studied enough, you head in and take the exam. You have 90 minutes to complete 100 multiple-choice questions. If you get 50% right, you walk out with 3 credits.
Just like that. 90 minutes = 3 credits. It’s a no brainer!
2. Get college credit for your life and work experience
What did you do before you started your fire science degree? Don’t forget that your previous life and work experience could make you eligible for more credit without taking the class.
Military experience is a huge opportunity to earn college credit. The American Council of Education works together with the US military to provide recommendations for credit based on your military service.
If you don’t have military experience you can still apply for Credit for Prior Learning through your employment and past experiences. You fill out a portfolio listing your credentials and how you have already met the requirements of certain classes. Once approved you are granted credit for the classes you didn’t take. Nice, right?
3. Stay continuously enrolled with the max course load
The first two ideas are for credit without taking classes. But now you have to buckle down and take those remaining classes. But don’t be a sloth. You can take those classes like a firefighter. Fast and furious and not stopping until the job is done.
You might think it is normal to only take 5 classes, or 15 credits each semester. That means you earn 30 credits a year.
That is normal but it is not the only way. Most universities will let you take up to 6 classes or 18 credits each semester. Also, did you know that schools don’t shut down all summer? You have the option of taking online classes right through the summer semester earning you another 18 credits.
Now, look at that. 54 credits in 12 months instead of 30. That’s more your speed, right?
Transferring Your Existing College Credits
Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors have expiry dates and need to be replaced. College credit does not. If you have taken ANY previous college classes you can still use that credit you earned for your fire science degree.
3 rules to follow:
- You earned the credit from an accredited school
- You did okay in the class and got at least a C
- The class will fit in your new degree plan
Correction. You only need to follow the first 2 rules. Even if your old class doesn’t fit into your new degree you can still use it to fill an elective spot. That’s still one less class to take and pay for!
Lower Tuition Costs
Any firefighter will tell you the best way to save money spent on firefighting is to have fewer fires to fight. The same principle applies to save money on tuition.
If you want to save money on tuition, take fewer classes.
A university like California State University will cost you $66,600 for a 4 year bachelor’s degree. Even a degree program that is 100% online will cost you at least $46,800. That’s a lot of money to save up.
But the tips you discovered on how to save time in your degree will also save you money. Big money. If you use Credit by Exam to earn 30 credits, you are only paying $850 instead of $11,700. Submitting a portfolio for Credit for Prior Learning may cost you $1500 but you earn 15 credits. Taking those classes would have cost you $5,950.
Cost Of Fire Science Degree
|Ways To Earn Credit||Number Of Credits||Total Cost|
|Attend California State University||120||$66,600|
|Attend University of Florida (Online)||120||Non-Florida Resident $66,314|
|Attend Liberty University||120||$46,800|
|College Level Examination Program
Credit for Prior Learning
Remaining classes at Liberty University
Do you like these numbers? A degree in fire science could cost you only $31, 550 and you could be done in 18 months. The secret is not to just study hard but to study smart. Take advantage of the shortcuts!
Fire Science Degree Accreditation
The one shortcut you would never take is to get a degree from an unaccredited school. That is not a shortcut, that is just a bad idea. Reliable schools will be recognized by other universities and by future employers. That is important.
Accreditation can be either regional or national. Either one works but the big names in fire science accreditation are:
- S. Fire Administration and the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) program.
- The International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC)
Either one of those 2 names offers you the protection of knowing your degree is valid.
Fire fighting is a serious and risky business. But if you made it this far you aren’t scared off. You want to have a career that is exciting!
Firefighting is no longer just about fighting fires. It is more than that. It is public education, fire inspections, training and community outreach to teach fire prevention. It’s about knowing the causes of fires and how to make lasting changes to communities.
But it is not about sitting around waiting for the right opportunity to find you. You need to be the go-getter and get out there and start your career.
You don’t need to dawdle for 4 years and be trapped under $66,000 in student loans. You have the knowledge now to cut your degree time down to 18 months and only $33,000.
Why would you wait? You have the drive, you just need the degree. What’s holding you back?