Graduates of fire science programs can find a variety of opportunities in Maine. With 338 fire departments and close to 2,300 firefighters employed in the state, there is demand for qualified fire service professionals. Firefighters may find employment at the local, state or federal level, and some may even work in industries such as manufacturing. Others may choose a related career, such as emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic. In Maine, nearly 3,220 of these first responders work for local fire departments as well as state, federal or private industry employers.
Another potential career is fire inspector or investigator. Inspectors verify the compliance and enforcement of building codes, while investigators assess the cause of fires and explosions. Maine employed 80 fire inspectors and investigators in May 2013.
Starting salaries for firefighters in Maine may reflect the state’s relatively low cost of living. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, however, that postsecondary education and certification can help broaden the career opportunities of firefighters, and college degrees are increasingly required for higher paying careers such as fire inspectors and investigators. Here’s a look at salaries for common fire service occupations at the 10th, 50th and 90th percentile:
Maine Fire Service Careers
|Fire Inspectors and Investigators||$32,970||$42,220||$51,190|
|Forest Fire Inspectors and Prevention Specialists||$36,270||$44,650||$52,070|
When it comes to fire science education in Maine, there are opportunities reflecting potential careers in structural or wildland firefighting, hazardous materials management and emergency medical services (EMS). Students looking to enter these fields can seek fire science education at different degree and certificate levels. The Department of Public Safety offers EMS training, licensing exams and continuing education.
One choice for fire science in Maine is Southern Maine Community College. It offers a certificate option as well as an associate degree combining general education subjects and hands-on course instruction in fire science. After completing this program, graduates can look for positions analyzing and proactively implementing fire prevention and safety measures in the field for local fire departments or public and private agencies.
In Maine, institutions available for fire science training include national online colleges with local campuses, such as Kaplan University. Below are a few options for fire science or relevant public administration studies in Maine:
Never stop learning. The true fire service professional commits to life-long learning and strives to communicate and share that knowledge.
The fire and emergency service is becoming more and more diverse. As such, fire professionals should diversify their educational pursuits. Educational pursuits should focus on such things as administration, leadership, and management.
The City of Portland is the hub of a "metro" area and an economic, cultural, and tourism center. The Portland Fire Department protects a working waterfront, an international jetport, passenger/freight rail centers, a downtown commercial district, and diverse residential neighborhoods.
Southern Maine Community College provides a fire science associate degree and a certificate program.
Program Name: Fire Science
Program Description: The Fire Science program at Southern Maine Community College, based in South Portland, is for both pre-service and in-service students seeking fire science careers in fire stations or community-based organizations. Potential areas of interest range from fire departments to insurance companies to government agencies. The associate degree in fire science would typically take a full-time student two years to complete, and Southern Maine Community College also offers a one-year certificate option. The program curriculum follows the National Fire Academy’s Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) standards.
For details on fire science studies at SMCC, visit the program page: http://www.smccme.edu/academics-a-registration/departments-a-programs/academic-departments/fire-science.html#currentStudent
University of Maine at Augusta offers an online bachelor's degree program in public administration that is built on an associate degree in fire science.
Program Name: Public Administration
Program Description: The bachelor's degree program at the University of Maine at Augusta combines knowledge of fire science with administrative skills and more. This program is structured for those working in the field who want to advance their public service or fire service careers. After students graduate, they could seek positions such as risk management officer or fire investigator.
The bachelor's degree builds on the transfer of an associate degree in fields such as health care, criminal justice, social services or fire science. Courses for an associate degree transfer as a group and serve as the foundation for this baccalaureate program. Students can finish the bachelor's degree by earning approximately 60 additional credit hours. UMA offers the state's only undergraduate public administration program. For expanded flexibility in scheduling, students can choose to attend classes on-campus or access courses online.
For more information about UMA, refer to the program page: http://www.uma.edu/academics/programs/
Maine has educational institutions in different parts of the state, and those living outside a school's locale could benefit from distance learning or hybrid-based instruction for fire science degrees. Remote learning for fire science is different depending on the school and the focus of the program. Many who seek online instruction look for more generalized classes for academic fire science courses, since classes to build firefighting and physical skill sets often require face-to-face instruction. Online fire science programs may also focus on careers beyond firefighting, such as degrees for fire and emergency services management or the online bachelor's degree in public administration available from the University of Maine at Augusta.