Firefighters and other first responders such as EMTs and paramedics are highly skilled professionals who respond to medical emergencies and accidents. Approximately 7,800 firefighters and 5,900 emergency medical technicians or paramedics are employed in the state of Indiana. Fire inspectors and investigators also play an important role, ensuring and promoting the safety of others by surveying buildings and finding the source of urban and wild fires.
With relevant training and experience, fire science professionals can advance in their careers as well as increase the salaries they earn for the services they provide in Indiana. Below are examples of annual wages for three core occupations:
|Indiana Fire Service Careers
|Fire Inspectors and Investigators||$27,270||$47,250||$67,330|
|Fire Service Supervisors||$22,610||$38,010||$65,690|
Medical responders and firefighters need thorough training, whether in the classroom or on the job. Associate degrees or certificates are the common credentials professionals in this state earn. In Indiana, there are multiple programs available for first responder professions, such as EMTs, but only one school offers a fire science-specific degree program. Ivy Tech Community College does have fire science electives within the public safety program.
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis has an associate degree in paramedic science focused on preparing students for the basic and paramedical care used in emergency situations. Indiana University – Bloomington offers a similar degree in its emergency medical technician program. Vincennes University has a number of related training programs, including fire science and safety technology, emergency management and emergency medical services. Vincennes also provides flexible study options to serve both would-be firefighters and professionals already serving in the field.
Those interested specifically in fire science should note that in Indiana this major is only offered at Vincennes University. Indiana University emphasizes emergency medical programs, while the main focus at Ivy Tech Community College is public safety.
|DEGREE LEVEL||STATE||SCHOOL NAME||PROGRAM NAME|
|Associate||Indiana||Vincennes University||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Award (<1 year)||Indiana||Ivy Tech Community College-Central Indiana||Fire / Arson Investigation and Prevention|
|Award (<1 year)||Indiana||Vincennes University||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
Watch, listen and learn: watch the current firefighters in your department; listen to what they, and other firefighters who have more years of experience, have to say. Finally, take as many fire classes that you can, ideally classes that pertain to your department and their protocols.
I recommend taking advantage of all state assets on training, such as state fire schools and possibly a fire science degree. A degree can be extremely helpful.
We are the only paid fire department in our county and have been for over a 100 years. We are a city fire department, but with the future possibilities from the state we could be given more coverage in years to come.
Indiana’s first university, Vincennes University was founded in 1801, but it has embraced modern technology in its distance education options for fire science and public safety classes.
Program Name: Fire Science and Safety Technology
Program Description: This program is designed with all students in mind, whether they’re currently employed in firefighting or just starting out in the field. In order to serve professionals working as firefighters, there is a degree completion program available via distance education. Some courses have prerequisites such as the American Heart Association (AHA) Healthcare Provider CPR certification or an American Red Cross (ARC) Professional Rescuer CPR certification. Additionally, a physical exam is necessary to enroll in some classes, and students must have a complete set of approved fire gear that will be inspected by a fire officer.
Students in the fire science and safety program take a number of courses, including building plans, fire codes and construction; firefighting strategies and techniques; fire cause and determination; and fire equipment and hydraulics. An EMT-Basic course is required. Successful students are eligible to take certification tests from the International Fire Science Accreditation Service (IFSAS) in specific areas. Credits from this two-year program can be transferred for the four-year homeland security and public safety degree if students are interested in pursuing further education. The homeland security and public safety degree program at Vincennes University offers many classes through distance education.
Learn more about Vincennes University’s fire science program: https://my.vinu.edu/fire-science-and-safety
Students interested in Ivy Tech Community College (ITCC) have a lot of choices when it comes to where they attend classes because the college system has more than two dozen campuses throughout Indiana, serving almost 200,000 students.
Program Name: Public Safety
Program Description: ITCC’s public safety program offers students the choice of a two-year associate degree or a number of certificates. Students can earn certificates for Driver/Operator, Fire Prevention and Investigation, Fire Service Administration or Hazardous Materials. These certificate programs comprise 18 or 19 credit hours, which is about six classes. The Technical Certificate in Public Safety entails 31 credits, generally two semesters. This certificate program requires verification of basic reading, writing and mathematical skills.
Students earning an associate degree have a few options to focus on: fire science, environmental health and safety, homeland security and emergency management, and public administration. Regardless of the choice of electives, students typically spend four semesters and earn 60 credits before they have their degree. About 30 percent of classes cover general education while the rest have a professional or technical emphasis. Elective courses within the specific areas of concentration include first responder, service management and fire technology.
Interested students should note that the public safety program is only available at these ITCC campuses: Bloomington, Central Indiana, Kokomo, North Central, Northeast, Northwest and Southwest.
Find out more: http://www.ivytech.edu/public-safety/
While fire science students may not have access to as many on-campus training choices in Indiana as they do in other states, there are online learning options available. Fire science is unique because it’s a program with some hands-on components. Colleges with fire science programs online usually offer blended programs with some in-person classes, or they may partner with local fire departments for training. For example, Vincennes University offers distance education classes as part of its two-year fire science and safety technology program and its four-year homeland security and public safety program. Fully online programs at independent colleges outside the state tend to emphasize the administrative and managerial aspects of fire science-related professions.