Fire Science Degree Programs in Kentucky

Kentucky’s 3,260 firefighters and 676 fire departments have a lot of land to protect, whether rural, densely populated cities or part of a nature preserve. The state’s more than 100 fire investigators and inspectors also play an important role in fire prevention and safety, and EMTs and paramedics are also among the first to respond to emergencies across the state.


Annual wages for those who work in fire service occupations in Kentucky depend on factors such as education, location and certification. Professionals with advanced training and education typically have a higher salary potential and may also be eligible for certain leadership positions. Take a look at earnings for those in the 10th, 50th and 90th percentile:


Kentucky Fire Service Careers
10th Percentile
50th Percentile
90th Percentile
Firefighters $20,130 $30,650 $46,010
Fire Inspectors and Investigators $34,370 $43,840 $63,850
Fire Service Supervisors $20,820 $38,370 $59,650

Kentucky’s Fire Science Training Programs

Kentucky has just a handful of schools that offer fire science programs. Fire/Rescue Science Technology degrees, diplomas and certificates are offered at Bluegrass Community & Technical College. The school also offers some classes at no cost to current firefighters or EMTs. A similar associate degree is offered at Hazard Community & Technical College, as well as Basic Firefighter, Advanced Firefighter and Fire Officer certificate courses.

Unlike the other two fire science schools in Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University has bachelor’s degrees that are fire science-related. Degrees offered on campus include fire, arson and explosion investigation, fire protection administration, fire protection & safety engineering technology and occupational safety. Those programs and a minor in fire and safety engineering technology may also be accessed as online or hybrid offerings.

Fire Science Studies in Kentucky

Kentucky’s three fire science colleges offer a variety of certificates, diplomas, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees.

SCHOOL
TYPE OF DEGREE
DEGREE LEVEL STATE SCHOOL NAME PROGRAM NAME
Associate Kentucky Ashland Community and Technical College Fire Science / Fire-fighting
Associate Kentucky Bluegrass Community and Technical College Fire Science / Fire-fighting
Associate Kentucky Bowling Green Technical College Fire Science / Fire-fighting
Associate Kentucky Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Fire Science / Fire-fighting
Associate Kentucky Gateway Community and Technical College Fire Science / Fire-fighting
Associate Kentucky Jefferson Community and Technical College Fire Science / Fire-fighting
Associate Kentucky Madisonville Community College Fire Science / Fire-fighting
Associate Kentucky Owensboro Community and Technical College Fire Science / Fire-fighting
Associate Kentucky Somerset Community College Fire Science / Fire-fighting
Associate Kentucky West Kentucky Community and Technical College Fire Science / Fire-fighting

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS

  • James W. Ball Fire Chief Danville, KY
    What's the best piece of advice you can give a future firefighter (or fire investigator, inspector, etc.) in your city or state?

    Get a college education and continue to further yourself by achieving a wide range of certifications, skills and experience.

    What educational path would you recommend for firefighters or other fire service professionals in your city or state who wish to advance their careers?

    Supervisor's path: bachelor's degree, followed by a master’s degree, NFA Executive Fire Officer Designation, and credentialing as a Chief Fire Officer. Technician path: associate or bachelor’s degree, followed by emersion in several disciplines.

    What makes firefighting and the fire services unique in your city or state? Please be as specific as you can.

    We are the only city in the area with a paid fire department. This puts us in the lead to show other departments how to get things done and how things should be done.

Spotlight: Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Bluegrass Community & Technical College offers a fire/rescue science technology degree as well as no-cost classes for volunteer and professional emergency and fire personnel.

Program Name: Fire/Rescue Science Technology

Program Description: Bluegrass Community & Technical College in Lexington is one of the largest community colleges in the state. Fire-science and emergency response programs include a fire/rescue science technology degree as well as courses for a Fire Chief Diploma, Basic Firefighter Certificate, Advanced Firefighter Certificate, EMT Certificate and Fire Officer Certificate. The degree program is designed to be completed in six semesters. In addition to several general education courses, students must successfully complete classes such as Firefighter Basic Skills, EMT First Responder and Fire Officer to earn their degree. Some of the certificate programs offer similar course materials over a shorter time period, but the end result is a certificate, not a two-year degree.

Fire science students must be at least 16 years old. Participants in degree programs take general education requirements in areas such as computer literacy, social interaction and heritage/humanities. Students who are already firefighters might not have to take every course to earn their degree. Bluegrass Community & Technical College may accept credit from students who have already taken some classes through their fire department.

More information about the Bluegrass program can be found at: http://www.bluegrass.kctcs.edu/en/Academics/Programs_of_Study/Fire_Rescue_Science_Technology.aspx

Spotlight: Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University has extensive fire science-related degrees available to students, accessible at multiple campuses or through online studies.

Program Name: Fire Protection Administration or Fire Protection & Safety Engineering Technology

Program Description: Eastern Kentucky University has campuses in Corbin, Danville, Hazard, Lancaster, Manchester and Somerset, as well as online course offerings. In addition to a minor in fire and safety engineering technology, EKU provides bachelor's degree programs in two disciplines related to fire science: Fire Protection & Safety Engineering Technology and Fire Protection Administration.

The Fire Protection & Safety Engineering Technology major examines contemporary challenges in fire protection and research on safer, more efficient solutions. Courses investigate the protective measures used to reduce fire damage and also analyze the design of fire protection systems for various structures.

The bachelor’s degree in Fire Protection Administration is designed to help future fire science professionals in a number of ways. Students in this program should become familiar with fire science, fire prevention and administrative knowledge of the field. Classes for this degree include disaster and community fire defense planning, fire and emergency scene operations, and fire behavior and combustion. Eastern Kentucky University’s website says the faculty for this program are well-known for their teaching and dedication. Many belong to organizations such as the National Association of Fire Investigators and the International Society of Fire Service Instructors.

For more information about Eastern Kentucky's fire science programs: http://fireandsafety.eku.edu

Fire Science Education: Distance Learning Options

Kentucky’s fire science training options -- even with Eastern Kentucky University’s many campuses -- can’t reach every potential student in the state. For many, especially working professionals, online classes are the answer. Eastern Kentucky University offers its fire science degrees online or in person. Some degrees aren’t fully online, due to necessary training, but it depends on the program. For example, students in the online Fire, Arson and Explosion Investigation program complete about two courses every eight weeks and end with two weeks of hands-on training at the university’s lab in Richmond. The actual length of the online courses depends on how quickly each individual student wants to complete them. EKU has also created a related master's degree program in safety, security and emergency management, offered completely online.