Arson Investigation Degree Programs and Schools

Degree programs in fire science or fire investigation, which can prepare you for a career in arson investigation, are usually offered at the undergraduate level, though graduate certificate programs are also available. Read on to learn courses to expect, possible careers, and the job duties of an arson investigator. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Degree Programs Are Available to Become an Arson Investigator?

Educational programs in fire and arson investigation tend to be offered at universities and community colleges, usually at the associate's degree or bachelor's degree level. Relevant programs are often categorized as fire science or fire investigation majors. Certificates specifically related to fire investigation skills can typically be found at both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Often, certificate programs are designed for professionals who are already working as fire fighters or police officers.

Degree Levels Associate's and bachelor's degree, along with undergraduate and graduate certificate programs.
Common Courses Fire chemistry, fire protection, hazardous materials
Possible Careers Fire investigator, fire marshal, arson investigation detective
Job Duties Examine remains of a fire, interview witnesses, locate ignition source

What Will I Learn?

Fire and arson investigation programs should provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to examine the remains of a fire and determine its cause. You may take courses such as fire chemistry, fire protection and fire dynamics, or courses specific to a certain type of fire, such as electrical or motor vehicle fires. You might also study related subjects such as criminal investigation or hazardous materials. Courses are typically not offered online, and most programs have a hands-on aspect to them. Depending on the program, you may also need to take some general education courses.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

A degree or certificate in fire and arson investigation can prepare you for a job in the fire and safety industry. With training in the field, you could work as a fire investigator, a fire and arson investigation detective, a firefighter, a fire marshal, or a law enforcement investigator. If you are already a fire fighter or crime scene investigator, you may be able to add fire investigation into your regular duties. Requirements for fire investigators vary by state; please contact yours to find out what else may be needed to move into this field.

What Does an Arson Investigator Do?

Once firefighters have extinguished a blaze, arson investigators might be called in to examine the area and determine whether or not the fire was set on purpose. As a fire investigator, you will typically use fire science and investigative techniques to determine where and how a fire originated. You might examine the remains of a fire, secure the fire scene, interview witnesses, locate the ignition source, examine debris and collect evidence to determine the cause of the fire.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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