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Fire Science/Law Enforcement Center
(567) 661-7621

Fire Science Program

Campus Offered: Toledo
Degree: Associate of Applied Science
Credits Required: 69

This program offers graduates the opportunity to find careers in many fire industries, including as fire protection specialists, as city, county, state or federal fire officers, as fire insurance inspectors and fire protection systems contractors.

Persons who have or acquire a felony conviction or a conviction regarding drugs, weapons, domestic violence or moral turpitude will find employment in the fire science field extremely unlikely.

About 90 percent of firefighters currently are employed by local governments and work in hazardous conditions with long, irregular hours. During duty hours, firefighters prepare to respond immediately and work as a team when called to a fire or other emergency situation.

Firefighters battle countless fires, but more likely they respond to other emergencies and may be the first responder on the scene and needed to treat accident victims or provide other vital functions.

Firefighters must be strong, possess physical stamina, have coordination and agility and will be required to pass a drug screening before they are hired.

Although an associate's degree is not required to work as a firefighter, it will provide an advantage for the paying jobs because strong competition is expected in the next decade. Firefighters will continue training and upgrading their certifications throughout their careers, which also will help with advancement within their fire division or municipality.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • About 70 percent of fire companies were staffed by volunteer firefighters in 2007. About 91 percent of firefighters were employed by local governments.
  • Employment is expected to grow by 19 percent by 2018, which is faster than the average for all jobs, but candidates will face competition for these positions as they will be highly attractive and sought-after.
  • Median earnings for firefighters were 44,260 in 2008, with the middle 50 percent earning between $31,180 and $58,440. Firefighters may earn more than their base pay because of overtime or because they work an additional shift to maintain minimum staffing levels or during an emergency.

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