The state of Georgia offers aspiring fire science professionals a wide range of career opportunities. Georgia’s diverse landscape, for example, requires a large and well-trained collection of firefighters, wildland firefighters, fire investigators and paramedics. Currently, nearly 500 fire stations house these first responders, many of whom received formal education in the fire sciences before starting their careers in Georgia.
The following guide examines these higher educational options, looks at online schools and programs, and provides a glimpse into fire science careers in Georgia, starting with a look at annual salaries for entry, median and advanced levels in three core professions:
Georgia Fire Service Careers
|Fire Inspectors and Investigators||$33,220||$45,650||$67,810|
|Forest Fire Inspectors and Prevention Specialists||$31,110||$33,890||$41,630|
To enter the fire science profession in Georgia, applicants must successfully complete a series of educational, physical, psychological, and background assessments. A Great way to obtain the necessary training is to earn a fire science certificate or degree. Students may pursue an undergraduate certificate or an associate degree, or possibly even a B.S. degree or an M.S. degree, depending on your particular career aspirations. The field encompasses a variety of unique subjects, including:
Education and training are imperative for anyone in Georgia who wishes to enter one of the many fire science fields. After reviewing some of the important subjects, the next step is to think about which school to attend.
Georgia covers nearly 60,000 miles of land, but whether you reside along the southern coastline or the northwest plains, there are many schools scattered throughout the state which offer fire science programs. Just check out the comprehensive list of schools that offer degrees and certifications in fire-related fields:
Never stop your education. Education doesn't always mean formal degree programs; it can also include free webinars, local combined training, and area conferences. Quite often, you can find valuable articles in trade magazines as well.
I would suggest earning an associate degree in a fire service related program, a bachelor’s in a broader area (i.e. public safety) and then a master’s in leadership, emergency management or management.
We are a career department with 100% full-time cross training as firefighters, and 97% cross-trained EMS personnel. The Chief believes that all resources that are necessary should be used on calls, be it EMS or Fire. We often leave a pumper on the side of the road so that all needed personnel can attend to a patient (of course, we have someone to pickup our apparatus as soon as we are notified). We are very progressive in both fire and EMS tactics and procedures.
Georgia Perimeter College, a thriving multi-campus system with more than 23,000 students offers one of the state’s top fire management programs., The program below is offered beginning in both the fall and spring semesters.
Program Name: Fire Management
Program Description: The fire management program is a two-year series of courses, after which successful students are awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree. Twenty courses are required in total, which include thirteen general educational and professional core courses, along with seven fire technical courses.
Coursework includes key subjects like Emergency Rescue Operations, Fire Fighting Tactics and Strategy, Fire Causes Investigation, and Fire Fighting Hydraulics, along with traditional courses like English Composition, United States History, and College Algebra. The well-rounded curriculum is similar to what you would obtain with any university major.
West Georgia Technical College is another excellent choice for anyone looking to pursue an education in fire science. With five convenient campuses, West Georgia makes it easy and convenient to obtain an associate degree in fire science technology.
Program Name: Fire Science Technology
Program Description: The fire science associate degree program is divided into 18 courses, which are “designed to prepare fire service personnel at all levels to become better officers and leaders.” Students learn about hazardous materials operations, firefighting strategy, fire administration and much more. Graduates go on to become firefighters, leaders and officers, while also exploring other related rescue fields.
Much like the aforementioned Georgia Perimeter curriculum, this Fire Science Technology program combines traditional general education courses with all of the fire and rescue essentials. Students complete 62 credit hours and learn everything they need to build a solid foundation in the field.
Students intent on pursuing a career as a firefighters,arson investigators or paramedics, you can obtain certification online. Distance learning degree programs provide excellent flexibility, which can help students juggle school, family and other priorities. Hands-on training is essential to most fire science certifications, but that doesn’t mean you can’t complete the bulk of your studies online. Many of the state’s technical colleges offer hybrid programs, which enable students to complete hands-on training at a local campus while still learning from the comfort and convenience of a computer.
Many Georgia colleges, such as West Georgia Technical College, also collaborate with Ed2Go Online Learning, which allows students to earn a fire or rescue degree entirely online. Classes are taught by real instructors who provide the same quality of coursework available in a traditional classroom environment.
More than 11,000 firefighters and nearly 300 fire investigators worked in Georgia in 2012. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for a firefighter in Georgia is $35,040, with possible increases based on experience, education and performance. In the upper 25 percent of the salary range, firefighters earned an estimated $42,560 in 2012. Those in the upper 10 percent earned a reported $52,670 that year.
Fire inspectors and investigators took home a mean wage of $45,650 in 2012, slightly higher than firefighters in Georgia. The top 25 percent earned ~$56,900 that year, and the top ten percent close to $67,800.
While the pay is good and jobs are available, many people enter the field because fire careers are truly rewarding Firefighters work for their communities, protecting friends and neighbors from dangers that often go unseen. More firemen and women are always needed, and the first step is finding the right education.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Fire investigators and inspectors
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Firefighers