What Are the Best Schools with Firefighting Programs?

Read about three schools with strong programs related to fire protection and fire science, chosen based on their national rankings and program features. Review the degree programs you could pursue at each of these schools. Schools offering Fire Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Firefighting Program?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers seek to hire firefighters with at least a high school diploma (or its equivalent) and emergency medical technician (EMT) certification. Colleges accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) or working in conjunction with local fire service agencies may offer relevant associate's and bachelor's degree programs. If you're preparing for management or consulting, you may be interested in advanced degree programs, such as those for natural resources management.

What Are Three of the Best Schools with Firefighting Programs?

Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond

EKU is a public school ranked 76th among the best southern universities in 2019, according to U.S. News & World Report. The College of Justice and Safety offers bachelor's degree and graduate programs in corrections, criminal justice, emergency medical care and emergency management homeland security, as well as fire protection, safety engineering, administration and arson investigation. Its IFSAC-accredited bachelor's degree program in fire and safety engineering technology has been featured on the ABC News 20/20 program.

Three of four fire and safety bachelor's degree programs are available both on-campus and online. The fire, arson and explosion investigation program is on-campus only. Facilities include a burn building, pump and evidence inspection labs and sprinkler control and sprinkler flow valve rooms. The Fire and Safety Laboratory features fire protection and fire extinguisher labs and a test burn facility. The Richard H. Bogard Fire Protection System lab contains sprinkler risers, hydrants and water supply testing equipment. EKU also owns a pumper truck. Students can participate in the student chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers or the Association of Fire Science Technicians/Society of Fire Protection Engineers. Students can earn one of the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology
  • B.S. in Fire Protection Administration
  • B.S. in Fire, Arson and Explosion Investigation

University of Akron in OH

University of Akron (UA) offers undergraduate programs in fire protection technology. Students can join the Fire Protection Society and complete a 15-week internship with a fire protection agency. They can earn a 21-credit fire protection as well. An associate degree in emergency medical services technology is also offered, with or without a fire and medic option.

The emergency management program is partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder. UA hosts the Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy Research to support interdisciplinary research and outreach. These programs are available:

  • Fire Protection Technology Certificate
  • Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Fire Protection Technology
  • A.A.S. in Emergency Medical Services Technology: Fire/Medic Option

University of Idaho in Moscow

University of Idaho (UI) was ranked 165th in the 2019 ranking of national universities by U.S. News & World Report. UI's Fire Research and Management Exchange System (FRAMES) connects wildland fire professionals anywhere to facilitate information and technology exchange. The College of Natural Resources' 30-year old Wildland Fire Program developed the nation's first bachelor's program dedicated to wildland fire. Students study related ecological and social issues. Fieldwork involves writing prescribed burn plans and suppressing and controlling fire in areas like the Ponderosa State Park, the Harold Nokes Experimental Forest and the McCall Field Campus. Students also learn to control fire in areas where wildland and urban areas connect.

Students can earn a 15-credit certificate in fire ecology, management and technology or a master's and doctoral degrees in natural resources focused on fire ecology and management. The Master of Natural Resources program addresses systems views of natural resources, including disciplines related to policy and tools. These degrees are available:

  • Certificate in Fire Ecology, Management and Technology
  • B.S. in Fire Ecology and Management
  • Master of Natural Resources in Fire Ecology and Management

Ten More Schools with Firefighting Programs

College/University Institution Type Location In-State Tuition (2018-2019)
Lewis University Private, not-for-profit, 4-year Romeoville, IL $32,500
Albany State University Public, 4-year Albany, GA $6,000
Baker College Private, not-for-profit, 4-year Flint, MI $10,000
Ashland Community and Technical College Public, 2-year Ashland, KY $4,000
Bellevue College Public, 4-year Bellevue, WA $4,000
Columbia College Private, not-for-profit, 4-year Columbia, MO $22,500
Kilgore College Public, 2-year Kilgore, TX $2,000
Meridian Community College Public, 2- year Meridian, MS $3,000
Aims Community College Public, 2-year Greeley, CO $2,000
Savannah Technical College Public, 2-year Savannah, GA $2,500

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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