Fire Ecology Master's Degrees

Master's degrees in fire ecology are available throughout the United States and have highly specialized curriculum focusing on fire behavior and the environment. Read on for degree information and possible careers someone who studied fire ecology. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Degree Information For a Masters in Fire Ecology

If a student wants to study fire ecology specifically at the graduate level, there are many options including Master of Science in Forestry (MS), Master of Natural Resources (MNR), and Master of Forest Resources (MFR) degrees , which offer specializations in fire ecology. To apply, students generally need a bachelor's degree and a minimum undergraduate GPA. Here are some of the typical course offerings for those who wish to specialize in fire ecology.

Fire Ecology Courses

These courses study the effects of fires on a range of ecosystems, although some universities have specific geographic areas on which they focus. Courses look at the effects of fires on both plant and animal life in both wildland and managed areas. Fire suppression and management techniques are a focus of these courses.

Wildland Fire Courses

These courses focus on natural, unmanaged environments and how fires can behave and affect these areas. Courses delve into local and federal laws concerning wildfires in these environments as well as how to interact and coordinate with the necessary agencies in the event of a fire. Politics concerning wildfires and urban encroachment and endangerment due to fire behavior may also be examined in these courses.

Resource Management Courses

Classes in resource management focus on tools and how to manage and inventory resources for fire management. Students will be expected to use quantitative analysis in order to analyze case studies and example situations. Different fire management tools will be examined for effectiveness in different environments.

Fire Behavior Courses

Fire behavior courses examine various models for controlling wildfires, and students will learn how the fuels, environment, and terrain affect fire behavior. Current research and scholarly literature will inform these courses on how fire acts in various environments and what the most effective models are for predicting and controlling it. Students will study emissions, combustion, and environmental effects, both immediate and long term.

Research or Internship Courses

Graduate students are often expected to assist with university research and the topics vary based on faculty interests and funding. Many schools encourage field trips or internships as a means to gain practical experience in the field and offer credit for such. Lab or fieldwork time is often listed in many curriculums for fire ecology masters.

Possible Careers for Fire Ecologists

Below are a few careers someone with a master's in fire ecology might consider pursuing.

Conservation Scientist and Forester

Foresters manage natural resources and monitor the health of assigned environments. They may oversee logging operations and responsible harvesting of natural resources. They also work with government entities at all levels to maintain fire suppression and ensure that communities are safe while responsibly partaking in their natural resources.

Emergency Management Director

Emergency management directors lead teams to respond to natural disasters. They ensure their area of operations is ready to respond to a natural disaster occurrence. They practice often and lead simulations to ready their area of operations for different types of disasters, including train wrecks, hurricanes, earthquakes, and chemical hazards.

Safety Engineer

Someone who possesses a master's degree in fire ecology might opt to be a safety engineer and work specifically as a fire prevention and protection engineer. They will work with federal and local regulations to ensure spaces (both natural and manmade) are ready for fire suppression. They might work in parks and locals lands, or inspect buildings to ensure they are up to code, and if not, how to change them so that they are safe.

Fire Inspector

Fire inspectors search for hazards before the fact and analyze the source after the fact. Someone with a master's in fire ecology will most likely work in the field, overseeing areas at risk for forest or wildland fire. Fire inspectors are often expected to maintain municipal records and issue burn permits when necessary.

Forest and Conservation Workers

There are a number of job titles that would fall under this career field although the overarching term would be forest ranger. A forestry worker could work as a preserve manager, a burn crew manager, a prescribed fire specialist, or park manager. Someone with a master's degree in forest ecology would more than likely move up the ranks quickly and take on supervisory roles.

Environmental Specialists and Scientists

Environmental specialists and scientists examine the ecology of a biosphere and analyze data pertinent to research. They identify hazards and problems in the environment and work with local officials to remedy these problems. Someone with a master's in fire ecology might be interested in working as a climate change analyst and conducting environmental research for universities, the government, think tanks, and other private organizations.

Job Title Median Salary (2018-2019) Job Growth (2018-2028)
Conservation Scientist and Forester$61,340 3%
Emergency Management Director$74,420 5%
Safety engineer$89,1305%
Fire inspector $60,2008%
Forest and Conservation Worker$27,460-3%
Environmental Specialist and Scientist $71,130 8%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

A master's degree in fire ecology is a highly specialized degree, but with the interest in climate change growing and the abundance of research opportunities, a variety of degree programs offer specializations in this field. There are many different uses for a master's in fire ecology, and careers range from forest rangers to emergency management directors.

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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