In addition to protecting homes, possessions and acreage, fire science professionals educate the public on how to protect themselves against fire-related injury and death. Fire science and EMT or paramedic professionals in Missouri respond to emergency situations and help control fires, inspect and qualify new buildings, and provide first-response health services.
Professionals in the field have many opportunities in Missouri, but compensation often depends on place of employment, education and certification. Whether through a certification program or a college degree, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that postsecondary education can help boost employment chances and salary potential for fire service professionals.
Missouri Fire Service Careers
|Fire Inspectors and Investigators||$17,900||$44,620||$76,070|
|Fire Service Supervisors||$24,020||$45,710||$69,660|
A career in the field of fire science is fraught with emergency situations and general danger. In order to enter the field as a firefighter or a fire investigator, potential students undergo intense training, both in the classroom and in the field. In Missouri, a number of colleges, private and public, offer degrees and certificates in fire science. The programs require students to learn the necessary knowledge and skills of fire science, while preparing them to practice these in a field internship.
An associate degree and a professional certificate in fire science may require many of the same coursework hours. For example, most associate degrees require approximately 60 hours of fire training and education along with core classes in English and mathematics, while most fire science certificates require only 35 fire-specific hours. Potential fire science professionals learn the fundamentals to equip them to fight fires and promote fire safety. Survey courses in fire prevention and emergency medical basics offer fire science students a foundational education, while major-specific courses on hazardous materials and legal issues of fire services delve more deeply in the discipline. Certificate and degree programs generally require students to take on a field internship, so they can experience the real life of a fire science professional.
Potential fire science students have several options when it comes to a college education in Missouri. Here are some institutions that offer degrees and certificates in fire science:
In order to make yourself more marketable, you need to have the minimum qualifications, i.e., EMT license and state certified Firefighter I & II. EMT-P license and an associate degree in fire science or other related field would be helpful.
Since firefighting has become more technical, I would recommend getting certified in several different areas and also earning a minimum of an associate degree. To be considered for promotion into upper management, a bachelor's degree will be needed. Higher education is much more desirable now than it was 20 years ago.
I can't say that firefighting and the fire service in my city or state is unique, but we have the advantage of being part of what is called an “urban circle”. We are a suburban department located just outside of an urban area, St. Louis City. As part of a mutual aid agreement, we get a chance to respond to more structure fires and other incidents within an urban area; therefore, we are able to gain more valuable experience than most of the other suburban departments.
Program Name: Fire Science Technology
Program Description: Ozarks Technical Community College presents both certificate and associate degree levels in the field of fire science. The program receives its accreditation through the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). Courses cover anything from fire suppression strategy and tactics to hydraulics to fire prevention. As an alternative to the degree program, students may also choose to travel the certificate route, without the general education requirements, in fundamental firefighting or fire officer certificate programs.
The Fire Science Technology Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program is built to prepare graduates to pass Missouri State and IFSAC certification exams for Firefighter levels I and II. The coursework is also focused on teaching students about the storing, transport and handling of hazardous chemicals. The program is structured around helping students gain state or national basic-level certification as an emergency medical technician.
For more information, refer to: http://www.otc.edu/firescience-catalog.php
Program Name: Fire Science
Program Description: The Crowder College Fire Science degree program is a two-year, associate degree program with a full course load related to fire science and technology. The curriculum for both the Associate of Applied Science and the Associate of Arts degrees includes an internship to gain practical experience. In the first year, students explore the areas of building construction as it relates to fire science, legal aspects of emergency services and fire protection systems. During the second year of the program, students take courses related to firefighting tactics and strategies, fire safety instruction and how to be a part of a firefighting company. There is a heavy focus on preparing for the state and national certification exams, Firefighter I and II, in the fourth and final semester. A passing score on the Firefighter I and II exams can be applied for credit hours toward graduation.
Visit for more information: http://www.crowder.edu/academics/departments/emergency-services/fire-science/
For students in Missouri who seek to juggle college, work and family responsibilities, online fire science education may be the answer -- especially for professionals in the field with variable shifts. Online learning platforms bridge the distance between students and education through web-based technology. Students often watch lectures, submit assignments electronically and video conference with classmates and professors. Programs may be hybrid, requiring on-campus attendance, or fully online, as in the case of bachelor's or master's degrees focused on administration and fire services management. Due to the nature of the fire science degree many programs require students to gain practical experience, taking the theory of the classroom into the flames of the field.