A career in fire science can be a rewarding opportunity. About 4,080 firefighters are employed in Kansas to protect against and fight urban and wild fires. Additionally, the state also has about 100 fire investigators and inspectors to detect hazards and determine the origin or fires and explosions. Those interested in pursuing a fire science career in Kansas can take advantage of academic and training programs to meet the needs of the state’s more than 450 fire departments.
Fire service professionals in Kansas can earn competitive salaries for their bravery and skills. To illustrate, below are annual wages for three occupations in the field at the entry, median and advanced levels:
|Kansas Fire Service Careers
|Fire Inspectors and Investigators||$25,370||$49,990||$72,780|
|Fire Service Supervisors||$26,830||$43,900||$66,590|
Community colleges offer the bulk of fire science programs in Kansas. Most colleges offering fire science training in the state do so in the form of an associate degree or certificate. Potential students should be aware that some programs have prerequisites or require students to undergo a physical before starting classes.
Hands-on training is essential for students at most of these colleges. For instance, Dodge City Community College has a number of tools that actual emergency medical professionals use, such as the Jaws of Life, structure pumpers and rappelling equipment. Additionally, some, like Hutchinson Community College, help test candidates for local fire departments. The Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute is affiliated with the University of Kansas.
Prospective students of fire science or emergency medical services can find certificate and degree programs at Kansas institutions such as these:
|DEGREE LEVEL||STATE||SCHOOL NAME||PROGRAM NAME|
|Associate||Kansas||Barton County Community College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Associate||Kansas||Butler Community College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Associate||Kansas||Dodge City Community College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Associate||Kansas||Garden City Community College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Associate||Kansas||Hutchinson Community College||Fire Prevention and Safety Technology / Technician|
|Associate||Kansas||Johnson County Community College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Associate||Kansas||Kansas City Kansas Community College||Fire Protection, Other|
|Associate||Kansas||Kansas City Kansas Community College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Award (<1 year)||Kansas||Garden City Community College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Award (<2 years)||Kansas||Butler Community College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
Utilize the organizations around you to gain experience as you go through your education process. Allow firefighters who are already on line somewhere to influence you positively and convert some of the information you are learning into knowledge by applying it and gaining experience.
I recommended obtaining education in areas other than fire education. Fire education is important, but as your career path takes you higher in the structure, things like budgeting and finance, human resources, employment law, and other administrative level classes will be tremendously beneficial.
My organization is a Fire Protection District, as opposed to a city or county structured department. That allows for our staff-level officers to focus on operations and enhancements of service without having to compete with other city or county services for budget.
As the name suggests, the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute delivers firefighter training across the state.
Training Programs Offered: Numerous
Program Description: Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute, founded in 1949, is proud to educate about 55 percent of the Kansas fire service professionals trained each year. Operating with a Mobile Fire Academy approach, the institute offers training to accommodate local needs across the state. Many of the institute’s courses are designed to meet national certification, for example, for Firefighter Levels 1 and 2. The website has resources for those studying for the various certifications, including Airport Firefighter, Fire Officer and Structural Collapse Rescue Technician.
Subjects include basic firefighter training and skills, basic search and rescue techniques, safety, driver/operator or emergency vehicle driver training, exterior and interior firefighting, handling propane emergencies, hazardous materials awareness and water shuttle operations. Topics may also reflect state economics and the importance of agriculture, for example, training in grain engulfment rescue. As expected, every course is one that might be crucial to a firefighter one day: rope rescue, flood and water rescue and vehicle extraction. Many courses are taught at fire stations. Courses vary in length, from full-day to half-day and multi-day with just a few hours each day.
Learn more about the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute: http://kufire.ku.edu
Located in Overland Park, this community college has about 5,618 full-time and 12,219 part-time students. JCC graduates seven fire science students each year, on average.
Program Name: Fire Services Administration
Program Description: JCC offers a certificate and an associate degree in fire services administration. These programs aim to prepare firefighters specifically for the first five years of their career, as well as help with advancement in the field. Interested students must be employed in a fire-related occupation or be a firefighter with an International Fire Service Accreditation Congress certification before they can be admitted.
Students of fire services administration can expect to take some general education courses such as College Algebra and Composition 1. Additionally, fire science-specific courses include firefighting tactics, fire science law and leadership in fire science. Students should note that credits from other institutions may transfer to JCC for some technical electives.
JCC course work can help prepare students for Firefighter I and II certification examinations offered by the University of Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute.
More information about the JCC fire science program can be found at: http://www.jccc.edu/firescience/
Online courses almost seem designed with a busy firefighter in mind – there’s no trekking to campus after a long day of work. Even soon-to-be firefighters and medical responders have busy lives, so they can benefit, too. Distance learning in fire science may combine on-campus and online activities into a hybrid program. For example, the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute offers blended options with some classes online and some in person. Part One of the Fire Service Instructor 1 course is delivered completely online and can be completed at the student’s pace. Part Two of Fire Service Instructor 1, on the other hand, is delivered as a face-to-face seminar. Individual colleges run programs differently and decide which courses, such as general education, can be offered online, and which subjects require in-person attendance or hands-on training.