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Top 25 Associate’s Fire Science Degree Programs for 2021

In many municipalities, as fire departments professionalize, a degree may be a prerequisite to become a firefighter or to advance. But since many firefighters are already working another job or working as a volunteer, going back to school may be too much. Getting your fire science associate’s degree online can definitely have some advantages over pursuing it in the traditional classroom.  Virtual learning provides the flexibility today’s busy students need to complete coursework on their terms. 

When weighing your options for fire science degree programs, accreditation and career services are two key elements to look for.  The best colleges for fire science have an official seal of approval from a reputable accrediting body. After all, a degree is only worth the career advancement you can get from it.

Ranking the Best Fire Science Associate’s Programs

Criminal Justice Degree Hub is dedicated to helping prospective students and public service professionals find programs that will actually help their careers. We feature only accredited institutions, ranked by their cost, potential salary, and student reviews.

1. Purdue University Global

The AAS in Fire Science program at Perdue University Global is designed to help students with understanding firefighter safety for themselves and co-workers, firefighting strategies and tactics, learn how to read and understand building codes, how to inspect structures for code violations and how to recognize arson. An internship is available and enables students to put their education to the test. Students are assessed at the end of each term to determine their ability to apply their newly-learned skills to real-life situations. The program is accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). 

Purdue University is a land-grant research school and is part of the public university system of Indiana. The school offers over 200 majors for undergraduate degrees, more than 70 masters and doctoral programs and professional degrees in veterinary and pharmaceutical studies. The athletic teams at Purdue are known as the Boiler Makers and 18 of the teams are in the 18 Division I/I-A NCAA sports conference. 

Degree: AAS in Fire Science

2. American Public University

The American Public University offers a AA in Fire Science degree through its School of Security and Global Studies. The online program teaches students the fundamentals of fire science and safety as well as how to lead and handle crisis situations.The program features an 8-week format that has monthly course starts so students can join anytime during the year and begin their education. The curriculum follows the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education Model Curriculum (FESHE) that’s outlined by the U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Academy. 

American Public University System (APUS) is a private, for profit online school that offers associates, bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. It also offers dual degrees, learning tracks and certificates. The school is not affiliated with the military even though it’s partnered with American Military University and over half of its student body is made up of active military. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council. 

Degree: AA in Fire Science

3. Casper College

The AA in Fire Science program at Casper College provides students with the skills and knowledge that’s needed for employment in the fire service field. Classes include rescue practices, fire investigation and prevention, apparatus and procedures, basic emergency care, and more. Students get a hands-on education at the school and are offered the opportunity to work a 24-hour shift at the Casper Fire Department. Upon successful completion of the program, a student can seek employment with the fire services or transfer their credits to a bachelor’s degree program in fire sciences at another school. 

Casper College is part of the public community college system in Wyoming and is one of the largest community colleges in the region. The school offers over 50 academic majors and 30 technical and career field programs. It features five different schools that include: Business and Industry, Fine Arts and Humanities, Health Science, Science and Social and Behavioral Science. The athletics teams participate in the National Junior College Athletic Association in four different sports categories.  

Degree: AA in Fire Science

4. Adelphi University

Adelphi University offers an AS in Emergency Services that focuses on teaching students the administrative and planning side of the fire services. The online program features classes such as course work in all-hazards planning, master planning for public emergency management, principles of management and emergency services, legal aspects of emergency services and more. Working professionals in the emergency services field can apply to have their real-life experiences translated into college credits and earn their AS in Emergency Services in less time. 

Adelphi University is a private university that was founded in 1896 and is the oldest higher educational institution in Long Island. The school enrolls over 8,000 students and offers certificates, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. It also has joint degree programs in six programs where students attend another university for part of their education. Adelphi University athletics teams are known as the Panthers and compete in the NCAA Division II level. 

Degree: AS in Emergency Services

5. University of Cincinnati

The AAS in Fire Service Technology program at University of Cincinnati is is an online program that provides courses from the Fire & Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) Program. It’s designed to be flexible and accommodate working professionals by offering courses taken online over a seven-week period, a handful of 14-week classes, and hybrid courses that require two-day residencies and completion of components online. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to handle administrative duties and apply the skills they’ve learned while working in the field. 

The University of Cincinnati (UC) is a public research university and is the oldest institution of its kind in Cincinnati. The school enrolls over 44,000 students annually and has four campuses across the city of Cincinnati to serve the student population. The UC Online program offers more than 80 certificate, undergraduate and graduate degree programs in an 100% online format. All educational programs offered online have the same accreditation as the on-campus programs. 

Degree: AAS in Fire Service Technology

6. Volunteer State Community College

The AAS in Fire Science at Volunteer State Community College is designed to teach students how to become a firefighter and help working firefighters improve their knowledge base. The program is certified by the FESHE and provides instruction on current topics in fire service, how to think critically and solve problems in stressful situations. Students who wish to attend the Fire Science program must follow the curriculum for the A.S. in Health Sciences and talk to an advisor about attending the Fire Science Program before starting classes. 

Volunteer State Community College (Vol State) is a public community college and part of the Tennessee Board of Regents. The school serves students from 11 counties in the northern central part of the state. The school features six major divisions that include: Health Sciences, Nursing, Business and Technology, Humanities, Education, Math and Science and Social Science. Vol State also has a television studio, recording studio and a radio station. 

Degree: AAS in Fire Science

7. Community College of Philadelphia

The AAS in Fire Science at Community College of Philadelphia teaches students leadership skills for the fire service. The program uses the latest in technology in order to teach students the responsibilities they face as a fire officer. Students learn how to improve their critical thinking and communication skills, how to act as a fire officer, and gain understanding of fire safety laws, how to perform building inspections and more. Students who complete the program can transfer the credits to either Bloomsburg University or Jefferson University and earn a BS in Fire Science. 

Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) is a public community college that offers over 70 academic and proficiency certificates and associate degree programs. The school also has transfer agreements with four-year schools for students who want to continue their education after earning an associate’s degree. CCP has an average enrollment of more than 26,000 students, but makes it a point to keep class sizes small to make sure students receive necessary support from educators. 

Degree: AAS in Fire Science

8. St Petersburg College

St. Petersburg College offers an AS in Fire Science Technology program that prepares students to understand and handle the science of fire, its hazards and how to control the scene of a fire or emergency. Students learn how to communicate with fellow firefighters during an emergency, understand fire codes and hazard prevention, determine the cause or origin of a fire, and the legal issues that come with being a firefighter. The program features four classes that, when taken and completed, award the student the Fire Officer Supervisor Certificate. 

St. Petersburg College (SPJC) is a public college and is part of the Florida College System. It’s considered a state college due to the amount of bachelor’s degrees it offers. Students can earn their certificate or degree on-campus, online or in a hybrid program. The school has 10 different Career and Academic communities that focus on different professions. The athletics teams are known as the Titans and are members of the National Junior College Athletic Association and compete in the Suncost Conference.

Degree: AS in Fire Science Technology

9. Houston Community College

The AS in Fire Science Safety degree program at Houston Community College enables students to take the state exam for firefighters and gain an advantage over students who earn a certification in fire sciences. The program includes instruction for Firefighter Certification levels I through VII and also prepares students in firefighter agility and fitness. An internship in emergency management is part of the program. Each certification meets the standards required by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection and meets the minimum educational requirements for employment in the fire services. 

Houston Community College (HCC) is a community college system that oversees the operation of multiple community colleges located in and around the Houston area. The college is known for its recruitment of foreign students and serves a student body of almost 70,000 students each academic year. HCC features seven athletic teams and operates its own educational access channels with the help of students. 

Degree: AS in Fire Science Safety

10. Columbia Southern University

The Columbia Southern University AS in Fire Science program is one of the most reputable fire services training programs in the country. The program teaches students how to become firefighters at the entry level and helps working firefighters expand their education and open up more potential career paths. Students who successfully complete the program will have the skills to analyze effective fire prevention methods, evaluate principles of fire chemistry, fire behavior and safety practices, and apply fire protection practices to different scenarios. 

Columbia Southern University (CSU) is a private and for-profit online-only school that offers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees across 26 educational programs. It enrolls over 21,000 students each academic year and is accredited by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission. 

Degree: AS in Fire Science

11. Southern Arkansas University Tech

Southern Arkansas University Tech offers an AAS in Fire and Emergency Response for students who wish to broaden their career options upon graduation. The program primarily teaches students how to become an effective firefighter, but also teaches necessary skills to work as an EMS first responder. Students are taught in subjects that include how to operate fire response vehicles, firefighter safety, fire prevention, and the legal aspects of working as a firefighter. Credits earned in the program are transferrable to various bachelor degree programs at five different schools. 

Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAUT) is a public university that offers 70 undergraduate degree options in four academic colleges that include Business, Liberal and Performing Arts, Science and Engineering, and Education. The athletics teams are known as the Muleriders and Lady Muleriders and participate in the NCAA Division II and is a member of the Great American Conference. 

Degree: AAS in Fire and Emergency Response or AS in Fire Science Management

12. Southwestern Illinois College

The AAS in Fire Science program at Southwestern Illinois College offers two options for students who are not an active member of a fire department and ones who are active in a fire department. Students who are not firefighters have to choose the Fire Protection Administration program. Active members can select this program or the Fire Rescue Specialist program. Both programs teach students the latest techniques and principles of firefighting as well as prevention, building construction for protection against fires, first responder for hazardous materials incident, and operation of fire service vehicles. 

Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) is a public community college that has three campuses and multiple off-campus sites in the areas of Belleville, Granite City and Red Bud. It offers over 150 certificate and degree programs in formats that include: on campus, online and accelerated. The school operates a radio station and offers seven different intercollegiate sports teams for men and women. Athletic teams compete in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and is affiliated with the National Junior College Athletic Association. 

Degree: AAS in Fire Science

13. Florida State College at Jacksonville

Florida State College at Jacksonville offers an AS in Fire Science Technology as a traditional 24-month program or an accelerated 18-month program. Students learn how to become a firefighter in courses that are designed to go in sequence and build upon previously learned knowledge. Upon successful completion of the program, students can go on to work in the fire service or a related fire-protection job. Students also have the option to earn the Fire Officer Supervisor certificate as they work on completing the degree. 

Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) is part of the Florida State College System and offers certificates, associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs. The school offers vocational training and continuing education programs with a strong focus on technical training in all areas of education on offer. FSCJ has five intercollegiate athletic teams in men’s and women’s sports. 

Degree: AS in Fire Science Technology

14. Montana State University Billings City College

The AS in Fire Science program at Montana State University Billings City College is a comprehensive program that trains students how to become effective firefighters. Students learn how to perform their duties according to accepted firefighting standards, create a personal firefighter portfolio, apply firefighter safety principles to an active fire scene, and understand how to firefight within structures. Students who graduate with their AS can opt to continue their education at MSU Billings and earn a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership – Fire Science. 

Montana State University Billings (MSU Billings) is a public university that features a space grant for the purposes of space exploration research. It’s the third largest university in the state and offers over 100 programs for certificates, associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. MSU Billings has five colleges that include Business, Allied Health Professions, City College, Education, and Arts and Sciences.

Degree: AS in Fire Science

15. San Antonio College

The AAS in Fire Science program at San Antonio College trains students to become firefighters and has an Emphasis in Homeland Security in addition to the core curriculum. Instructors in the program have spent years in the fire services and combine real-life training with practical classroom education. Some of the skills and education students learn include foundational skills in firefighter safety, fire prevention, code inspection, firefighting tactics and strategies and disaster preparedness. 

San Antonio College (SAC) is part of the Alamo Colleges District of Texas and is the oldest public two-year school in the state. It’s also the largest community college in Texas and enrolls an average of 22,000 students each semester. SAC offers educational programs that include general education, liberal arts and sciences, career education, developmental education and continuing education. Students can elect to take one of 68 certificate programs or choose from the 64 associate’s degree program on offer. 

Degree: AAS in Fire Science

16. Macomb Community College

Macomb Community College offers an AAS in Fire Science program that can be attended 100% online. Classes include education in the principles of emergency services, fire behavior and combustion, building construction, fire investigation and fire behavior and combustion. The credits earned in the AAS in Fire Science are transferrable to many colleges and universities in the state of Michigan and can be applied towards a bachelor’s degree. Upon successful completion of the program, students will be qualified to work as a firefighter, fire protection systems technician, or an emergency medical technician. 

Macomb Community College (MCC) is a public community college with an average enrollment of 38,000 students each academic year. It has almost 200 certificate and degree programs and offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. The school features the Michigan Technical Education Center, the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, the Lorenzo Cultural Center and the Public Service Institute. 

Degree: AAS in Fire Science

17. John Wood Community College

John Wood Community college offers AAS in Fire Science Technology gets students ready for entry-level employment in the fire services. Students who are working professionals can take online courses as well as engage in the required hands-on courses for fire and emergency medical services. The program trains students to use the correct reactions across a spectrum of emergency situations. Classes include learning about emergency medical technician skills, how to effectively communicate in verbal and written forms, firefighting tactics and handling hazardous materials. 

John Wood Community College is part of the Illinois public community college system and features an open-admission policy. Its main campus is located in Quincy, IL, but has multiple satellite campuses in the area. JWCC has a statewide transfer agreement that ensures educational credits can be transferred to one of over 100 colleges or universities in the state. The school has six varsity teams known as the Trail Blazers that participate in the Mid-West Athletic Conference at the NCJAA Division II level. 

Degree: AAS in Fire Science Technology

18. Mount Wachusett Community College

The AAS in Fire Science Technology program at Mount Wachusett Comunity College is intended for students seeking to get started in the fire and emergency services and for working professionals who want to further develop their knowledge and skills. The online program teaches students how to become a firefighter, handle emergency situations and maintain safety, and understand the science of fire, the different types of fire, and the appropriate methods for preventing or stopping fires. The coursework also prepares students for earning their Emergency Medical Technician certificate.

Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) is part of the public community college system of Massachusetts. It features an open admission policy for most of its educational programs. The school offers more than 70 certificates, associate of science and associates of arts degree programs. MWCC also has a dual enrollment program that allows high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit while completing their high school education.

Degree: AAS in Fire Science Technology

19. North Shore Community College

North Shore Community College offers an AS in Fire Protection and Safety Technology degree program that teaches students how to go beyond fighting fires. The program teaches students how to perform their duties in stressful situations, handle dangerous incidents, engage in teamwork in dangerous conditions, and have working knowledge of fire safety codes and how to enforce said codes. Students can opt to take courses that transfer to a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Science Administration at Salem State University.  

North Shore Community College is part of the public community college system in Massachusetts and offers more than 80 certificate and associate degree programs. The college has an average enrollment of 16,000 students across three separate campuses each academic year. Students can earn a certificate or associate’s degree in studies that include accounting, biotechnology, dietary management, funeral services and more. 

Degree: AS in Fire Protection and Safety Technology

20. Seminole State College of Florida

The AS in Fire Science Technology degree program at Seminole State College of Florida is designed to teach firefighters and other fire service professionals the scientific aspects of fire control in a variety of settings. Students learn about the latest in firefighting techniques as well as how to improve their administrative and operational effectiveness in the field and in the station. The program also teaches topics that help students advance their career in the fire services. The A.S. Fire Science Technology degree program is recognized by FEMA and has a FESHE recognition certificate that ensures students get a high-quality education. 

Seminole State College of Florida (SSCF) is a public community college that features four campuses and enrolls over 32,000 students every academic year. It also offers 36 certificates, degrees, and five baccalaureate degree programs online. The school is home to the Fine Arts Theater, a planetarium and the Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute. 

Degree: AS in Fire Science Technology

21. West LA College

The AS in Fire Technology program at West LA College is designed for students who wish to enter the fire services and need a degree in order to apply. The program also aids working professionals in their desire to earn more education and enhance their career prospects. The courses within the program meet the standards set by the California State Board of Fire Service and the National Higher Education Fire Service Committee. Students who take and complete the Hazardous Materials class may be eligible to earn a certification from the state of California.  

West LA College (WLAC), also known as West Los Angeles College, is a public community college and is part of the California Community Colleges System and the Los Angeles Community College District. It offers over 600 degrees and certificates in 39 areas of study and awards a bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene. The athletic teams are known as the Wildcats and participate in 12 varsity sports in the California Community College Athletic Association in the Western State Conference.

Degree: AS in Fire Technology

22. West Georgia Technical College

West Georgia Technical College offers an all-online AAS in Fire Science Technology program that prepares students how to handle medical emergency response with equipment, anti-arson techniques, disaster preparedness, handling hazardous materials and knowledge in administrative duties. Students will have skills and competencies that prepare them to work in the fire services at all levels. The program also teaches students how to work in partnership with other firefighters and how to eventually advance in their career. 

West Georgia Technical College (WGTC) is part of the Technical College System of Georgia and serves students from a seven-county area around the school. It has four campuses in the region to better serve students. Students can earn certificates and associate’s degrees in areas of study that include automotive technology, HVAC, cosmetology and esthetician, criminal justice, architecture and engineering, and more. WGTC also offers 100% online programs in multiple areas of study. 

Degree: AAS in Fire Science Technology

23. East Georgia State College

The AA in Fire and Emergency Services Administration program at East Georgia State College is an online 64 credit hour program that focuses on teaching firefighter safety, management, administration and fire prevention. The program aligns with the curriculum designed by the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) and prepares students to take on a leadership role in the fire services. Students who earn the degree can move forward in their education to earn a bachelor’s degree in the school’s Bachelor’s of Arts in Fire and Emergency Services Administration. 

East Georgia State College (EGSC) is part of Georgia’s public university system and serves students from 24 counties. The school enrolls about 3,200 students each school year and operates two satellite campuses in Statesboro and Augusta as well as online courses. EGSC offers admissions to students from a wide variety of financial and educational backgrounds and enables them to participate in certficiate, associate’s, and bachelor degree programs in the sciences and arts. 

Degree: AA in Fire and Emergency Services Administration

24. Albany Technical College

Albany Technical College offers an AAS in Fire Science Technology degree program that’s designed to prepare students to become effective firefighters, officers, and leaders. The program introduces, develops and reinforces the various concepts that are core to the work of a firefighter for students who are new to the field and working professionals who want to upgrade their knowledge base and retrain in firefighting techniques. Students are taught how to work as part of a team in a dangerous situation, the importance of performing their given role and how to handle emergency situations such as car accidents or medical emergencies. 

Albany Technical College, also known as Albany Tech or ATC, is a public community college and also part of the Technical College System of Georgia. It provides education to students in a seven-county area of southwest Georgia. ATC prides itself on offering programs that teach students to succeed in their chosen field by utilizing the latest in industry standards and technology. Classes are offered on-campus, online and through customized programs to meet a businesses need for employee training. 

Degree: AAS in Fire Science Technology

25. Pikes Peak Community College

The Fire Science Technology program at Pikes Peak Community College is an AAS in Fire Science Technology degree that is considered one of the best of its kind in the area. The program teaches students in all the necessary aspects of becoming a firefighter in disciplines that include Fire Science Wildland, Fire Service Management and Fire Service Technology. Some of the classes teach students how to handle hydraulics, occupational safety and health, fire protection systems, understand and enforce fire codes and ordinances, and investigation. Working fire service professionals can apply for college credits and accelerate earning their degree.

Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) is part of the public community college system in Colorado. It’s the largest school of its kind in the Pikes Peak area and offers over 150 programs in career technical education and liberal arts and sciences transfer programs. The school has a program that guarantees transfer of the PPCC Associate of Arts or Associates of Science to any public institution in Colorado that offers bachelor’s degrees. 

Degree: AAS in Fire Science Technology

Why Should I Get My Fire Science Associate’s Online?

Here are a few reasons to consider earning an associates degree in fire science online.

Enjoy a Flexible Schedule.  Completing an online associates degree in fire science means students aren’t confined to the typical school schedule.  If they have to work overtime or take care of family responsibilities in the evening, they don’t have to worry about missing class and falling behind.  Their coursework is accessible around the clock, so they can log in when it’s convenient.

Learn Anywhere.  Students enrolled in online associates degree in fire science courses can complete their work anywhere, as long as they have a reliable internet connection.  They can work on assignments and study for tests from the comfort of their couch.  If they have to travel frequently or have other responsibilities, they can keep up with their classes even when they’re on the go.  

Self-Paced Learning.  Some online fire science associate degree programs allow students to work mostly at their own pace, as long as they finish all the course requirements by the end of the semester.  This gives them the ability to dedicate more time to difficult material without compromising their performance in other classes.

The World Is Their Classroom.  One of the greatest bonuses of online learning is that it literally opens up the world to students.  Attending an on-site course limits people to schools close to home or requires them to take on lengthy commutes or relocate altogether.  With online schools, opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach are right at your fingertips.

How Do I Choose a Fire Science Degree Program?

Accreditation from a professional organization means that the school or program has met rigorous standards in terms of its curriculum, instructor qualifications, and management.  In the United States, the US Department of Education and the National Council on Higher Education Accreditation have approved six such organizations, all of which are recognized by the National Fire Academy.  The best fire science schools have been certified by one of these entities.  The best schools for fire science online are approved by the Distance Education and Training Council.  They may also have additional certifications from The International Fire Science Accreditation Congress and Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education.   

Another characteristic of the best colleges for fire science is that they can assist you with job-placement and connect you with professional associations in the field.  Check to see if a particular school or program is affiliated with a professional organization that can provide you with resources to advance your career.

How Much Can I Make with an Associate’s in Fire Science?

An associate degree in fire science can lead to a variety of occupations and careers.  An associate degree in fire science salary can range from about $35,000 to $80,000+.  Here are some possible employment opportunities, and how much job-seekers can expect to earn in each position.  

  • Fire alarm technician: $52,408
  • Wildland fire ecologist:  $81,655 (average)
  • Emergency medical services (EMS) provider: $35,400
  • Public Safety Telecommunicator (911 dispatcher): $44,310
  • Fire Protection Engineer: $85,000
  • Law enforcement officer:  $65,170

Landing an entry-level position can be a steppingstone to mid- and upper-level jobs and a higher associate degree in fire science salary.

Many people with this degree become firefighters.  According to Salary.com, a firefighter salary with associate degree ranges from $42,284-$48,857.  With experience and training, firefighters can move up the ranks into management positions.  The median salary for a deputy fire chief is $87,829.   For a fire captain, it’s $69,303.

What is Fire Science Technology?

Fire science technology covers all aspects of fire safety, from prevention to investigation.  This is a common certification among firefighters.  It’s also a good fit for those who work in fire prevention code enforcement and fire prevention system design.  Having an associate of applied science in fire science can put employees on track for promotions and raises.

While no two associate of applied science in fire science programs are exactly alike, they typically cover the same general topics, such as:

  • Fire behavior and combustion
  • Fire prevention
  • Hydraulics
  • Principles of emergency service
  • Fire chemistry
  • Private fire protection systems
  • Legal issues of fire service
  • Fire department management

Students can earn an associate of applied science in fire science degree at two-year and four-year colleges.  Some fire science schools offer remote learning opportunities for students who prefer to complete their degrees online.

Related Rankings:

Top 25 Bachelor’s Fire Science Degree Programs

10 Best Online Bachelor’s in Public Safety and Security

10 Best Online Associate’s in Public Safety and Security

Top 25 Best Security and Resilience Certificates

Find Your Degree
Criminaljusticedegreehub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.